It goes without saying that what occurred last week was a tragedy. Two men died and another was injured acting honorably in the defense of two innocent women against a malicious individual who sought to project his hatred and prejudice into the world around him. It is shocking events like this that remind us that we still have so much work to do if we want to unify and create a better future.
There is a very real problem happening in the world right now. Too many people look to splinter off in to separate groups, to point the finger and claim “they are the enemy”, and to ignore the world around them as they assure themselves that they are right. This splintering within society has led to rising tensions within various communities. It is human nature when faced with fear and adversity to cling to what is known and what is safe.
All too often this leads to separation from our fellow humans. It leads strong individuals to follow weak leaders in pursuit of safety in numbers as they embed themselves further and further in to their own specific world view. Some will often innocently overlook the contempt members of their group, or tribe, hold for others just because they are different. If it doesn’t turn against them they are content to not concern themselves with it. It is this apathy that we cannot afford any longer.
In the whirlwind of media attention surrounding the stabbings there was a slew of rumors, accusations, and white noise. Some individuals were quick to point the finger and politicize the event. Let us be very clear that this was not somehow the fault of any one group or political party. This tragedy was the culmination of one deranged individual acting out in spite against fellow human beings. With that being said we would like to address the information that surfaced about this man.
The perpetrator was a known white supremacist. Pictures and videos show him at a “Free Speech Rally” giving the Nazi salute and screaming “Hail Vinland”. Accusations quickly surfaced that he was a member of the Heathen community. Additional evidence was eventually uncovered over the course of the week that have made this appear to be true.
The Asatru Community (TAC) has always stood firmly against discrimination based on race, sex, gender, or sexual orientation. We reject the idea within the Heathen community that Asatru is only for straight white people. But no matter our own personal stance we recognize that an unfortunate number of Asatruar/Odinists/Heathens do not see things as we do.
We will not fall in to the fallacy of claiming that these people are not Heathens. Their beliefs in the gods are just as valid or invalid as our own. But their hatred, bigotry, and racism are wrong. We cannot and will not let them represent Heathenry as a whole. The events that transpired last Friday were saddening but instead of focusing on the senseless act of brutality we would like everyone to remember the brave men who stood up for what was right.
Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche. Ricky John Best. Micah Fletcher. These three men stood up for what believed in. Two of them died for it. You may have noticed that we have neglected to mention the name of the man responsible for carrying out the attack. It is because THESE are the names we should remember. Not the name of the individual who murdered them.
Let us honor the memory of the fallen and the survivor. Let us be inspired by their courage and selflessness. Let us see their example and remember to have faith in humanity and not despair. There is hatred and evil in the world. But we can not let it defeat us and we certainly can not let is define us. We are more and our gods are bigger than our differences.