"Because they're opportunists," he said.
It got me thinking about the whys of violence, of such rampant and reckless destruction without any real gain. Who are these vigilantes who have decided to commit such heedless acts of thuggery?
It's easy to dismiss them as "losers" who "don't have jobs" and "illiterate, sewer-trekking scum." But there's something else driving their black, soulless, misdirected anger.
After watching an episode of Glee, I realized what that something was. In one of my favorite rip-him-a-new-one moments, Kurt's dad says:
"You live a few years you start seeing the hate in people’s hearts, even the best people."
These people are infected with hate. They have a disease of the heart and mind that causes them to lash out in terrible ways and justify their actions with some flimsy excuse. They only come out at these moments when everyone can see them because they don't really believe in their cause enough to put in the energy or effort into fighting for what they believe in. If they did, they would do so clandestinely, with long-term plans and goals. They'd have systems and structure and funds and means, and they'd have the fervent belief that what they are doing is for the greater good. In other words, they'd be terrorists.
But all these window-smashing, car-burning lunks are are misguided thugs.
They're out there with their masks and their bats and their anger because they are crying out for help. They want to be seen. They want people to see how angry they are, and they want people to stop them, or else look at them and notice they are there. Their pain is invisible to us, so they do anything they can to grab our attention. It's the equivalent of screaming, "Mom! Look at me, Mom! Moooom! You're not looking! MOOOOOMMM!!!"
These people deserve our pity, not our scorn; they need treatment and rehabilitation, not jails.
In other words, thugs need hugs.
Who knows what drove them to this point in their life? Bad upbringing? Abuse? Hard times? Hate is easy, and is easily fed. It consumes one utterly, and spreads like a disease.
So, if ever you are faced with confronting a thug, fight them the way a Care Bear would. Show them love and understanding, use words, and give them a hug. It's likely they haven't ever had one.
Below is a helpful demonstration of how to face off against a thug threatening your car or local business.*
*My many rewatchings of this movie as a child have finally taught me something valuable!