people aren’t born hating gays; they have to get it from someone, somewhere. whether it’s parents, peers, the education system, religion, whatever: these influences are accessories to the crimes of hate, torture, and murder.i think back to the vicious treatment by peers and teachers of anyone different in junior high and high school, decades ago, in an upscale, ‘respectable’ town and school system. you didn’t even have to be gay to be persecuted, ridiculed, and excluded. even back then, suicidal tendencies were not so unusual. when i remember the cruelty and damage done to many of us back then, and then flash forward to now, i see that this trend has only proliferated and become more intense and targeted. you can’t even stereotype or single out a demographic segment of society committing these current atrocities. it ranges from gang members to elite college students, and everything in between. it’s pervasive throughout our society and system. it’s almost like somewhere in the collective psyche, another level of self-restraint has been torn down and a lower bar is tolerated. it’s even encouraged by the indifference and prejudice of those who are in role model positions. parents hand down their own bigoted views by attitude and behavior. peers reinforce infantile intolerance through pressure to conform and bullying. schools drill compliance and docility and groupthink into masses of kids. churches model hatred and violence in the name of love and peace. politicians issue contradictory, hypocritical messages to win votes. and online forums inadvertently send out harmful memetic messages in ripples. the kids who commit hate crimes are just the final stage of the process that our system propagates. i don’t care if you’re not gay, religiously anti-gay, or indifferent: nothing justifies or condones spewing hatred or encouraging brutality in the name of g-d or personal preference. you are an accessory to injustice if you influence others to commit hate crimes or human rights abuses. don’t imagine that history can’t or won’t repeat itself. as moral and progressive as some of us like to think we are, recent events reveal the potential for regressing to savage behavior. i don’t claim to be an idealist. i’m under no illusions about human nature. but some things are just wrong, by any standard. if we say nothing, it’s like accepting this as the new normal. if enough people see the red flags, perhaps a future tragic beating or death can be averted.