A recipe for combatting hate

844b02dc47fe1035d49de63f75270e1c51019_mediumA couple of Aprils ago, a group of Nazis came to Chattanooga. They were part of a group called the National Socialist Movement (NSM), and a few days before they arrived, I penned an open letter to the organization, asking them to reconsider. (You can read that letter here.)

I had no illusions that my letter would change their minds. And it didn’t.

(In all fairness, I never actually sent them a copy. I figured the surprisingly tech-savvy separatists probably had a Google Alert set up that would let them know about pieces like mine, but I have no idea if they actually read my letter or not. If they did read it, they disregarded it, much like they disregard the dignity of anyone not exactly like them. But I digress…)

A few days after my letter was published, roughly two dozen members of the group gathered in front of the Hamilton County Courthouse, struggled to be heard over a bigger and louder crowd of protesters, and then left town. And that was that.

As the Nazis’ visit faded from the headlines, I couldn’t shake one of the half-serious questions I had asked the group in my letter: Did their hatred of other cultures also apply to other cultures’ food?

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Making Sense of “Making a Murderer”

cbb182423d1fe183a6e52ddfc43a79e067914_largeWarning: This article contains spoilers. If you are planning to watch the Netflix series “Making a Murderer,” you might not want to read this article.

Remember this time last year when millions of people were talking about “Serial”? Well, many still are, as the second season of the true crime documentary podcast series—this time focusing on the case of soldier-turned-Taliban prisoner, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl—premiered on Dec. 10. As popular as the “Serial” series is, however, buzz regarding the 10-part Netflix crime documentary series “Making a Murderer” appears to have eclipsed it.

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Finding our soul in the wake of a soulless act: Where does Chattanooga go from here?

879720925d315dd1bee002fccd596b5963021_largeIn the coming days and weeks, counterterrorism investigators, the FBI and other federal law enforcement officials will attempt to figure out what Chattanoogans and millions of others across the globe want to know: Why did Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez go on a shooting rampage that killed five U.S. service members?

Was he a Muslim extremist or simply a troubled young man? Was he battling depression or engaged in a holy war? What happened, exactly, during his time in Jordan last year? Did he go there, as his parents claim, to get clean and get away from some questionable friends, or was there a more nefarious reason for his trip? Was his attack inevitable, or was there anything we could have done to prevent it?

These are important questions all deserving of answers, answers that will come slowly.

Regardless of the answers, however, what ultimately matters is how this unfathomable tragedy will shape our city going forward. What matters now is what we do in response.

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