Deadly hatemongering

By: Ma. Ceres P. Doyo - @inquirerdotnet - Columnist/Philippine Daily Inquirer | July 29,2022 - 08:00 AM

Hate begets hate, and hatemongering further fuels one’s own hate until it becomes deadly and is consummated in a bloody carnage. Hatemongering is defined as stirring up feelings of hatred by inflammatory speech or writing. These feelings could give rise to hateful thoughts and actions against certain targets.

Alas, there are those with blank minds who become hateful (“basta,” “respect my opinion”), who have been smitten by hatemongers whose paid job is to stoke hate for certain human targets who they want out of the way. That is, for them to clear the way for, say, certain candidates lusting for power, or in order for illegal acts to be carried out. Or to simply get even.

The brief but cinematic police chase on July 24 as shown on CCTV footage made us heave a sigh of relief when we saw that the gunman was promptly arrested not far from the crime scene. But on second thought, we are not really relieved.

Not long after the fatal shooting of three and wounding of two people by a determined gunman identified as Dr. Chao Tiao Yumol at the Ateneo de Manila University’s Areté complex, where a law graduation was to take place in the afternoon of July 24, social media was abuzz with speculations. But by now, people’s most basic questions—the when, where, what, why, and how—have been partly answered by police authorities. The university has issued a statement on the postponement of the graduation exercises, security issues, and expressed words of comfort for the bereaved, the wounded, and the graduates whose long awaited day was marred by violence. But many questions still remain unanswered.

If I was on the verge of tears when I learned about the tragedy, it was not only for the victims and the would-be lawyers and their families and teachers. It was also because the Jesuit-run Ateneo is my alma mater. Its threshold was disrespected, bloodied, and defiled by an armed gatecrasher. One who stood guard to protect those who came to relish the significance of the day, security guard Jeneven Bandiala, died with his boots on, felled by the assassin’s bullets. The target, former mayor of Lamitan City, Rose Furigay, and her aide, Victor Capistrano, also succumbed to gunfire. Furigay’s daughter Hannah Rose, who was to graduate that day, and a bystander were wounded.

Much has been said about the assassin’s motives and background, his being a self-styled antidrug crusader, his issues against the former mayor, the 26 cyberlibel cases dogging him, etc., etc. Whatever it was that finally drove him to carry out what looked like a well-planned intention to kill, we will probably know at the court hearing if not from his affidavit. Will Yumol plead guilty or declare innocence? The hearings will be straight out of TV’s “Law & Order” Philippine-style.

While there is no video footage of the actual shooting (or is there?), images were running in my mind, images not so unlike those one sees on crime TV nights, the horror and disbelief they stoke and, finally, the satisfying denouement that leaves one wanting for more of the same. What happened in the Ateneo was a movie in an assassin’s mind that turned real.

Even while people were still trying to get over their shock, while the suspect (a police term) was undergoing inquest, one could already read on social media sickening posts that cheered his act, even wishing boldly that the suspect should have also spent some bullets on a much-awarded but much-persecuted media personality, a Nobel Peace Prize winner at that. How did it come to that?

That the assassin was a supporter of former president Rodrigo Duterte, and therefore a hater of former vice president Leni Robredo (as gleaned from his Facebook posts), does not give trolls a go-signal to turn on their hate hoses, misdirected as they are.

One can easily detect how a one-liner, a meme, or an image posted on social media is intended to trigger a chorus of hateful comments from dedicated trolls, emerging as if from a darkened amphitheater in a Greek tragedy or opera. What orgiastic delight the poster must derive from wallowing in that toxic muck of his/her own making.

Pray tell, compañeros y compañeras, what law might apply to hatemongers who urge troubled characters to act on their behalf and carry out their common murderous fantasies in real life? If cyberlibel does not apply, what will? Inciting to murder? Is hatemongering here to stay?

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TAGS: alma mater, Ateneo, Ateneo de Manila University, bloody carnage, Cebu Daily News, cebu news, Dr. Chao Tiao Yumol, hatemongering

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