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Words Can Hurt Us: Stop the Toxic Rage

The 15th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing on April 19 brings memories of a terrible time in American history, one we would hope to never be repeated. But in 2010 the threat of another murderous event seems all too possible.

As Kathleen Parker of the Washington Post asks, "Is the political environment becoming so toxic that we could see another Timothy McVeigh emerge?" (What Americans can do to discourage future McVeighs, April 18, 2010)

This may seem very distant from Upper Arlington, Ohio. But recently, an angry man at our local BMV office told others in line, "This is why people fly planes into IRS buildings." He was upset because he had to pay an extra $4.40 to register his car.

The man probably did not mean he would take murderous action against government employees and anyone else who was nearby, even children. But the next disgruntled citizen may. As Parker says, "... it takes only one."

What can we do? Can we stay silent? Maybe moderate language is enough. Or do we follow Parker's advice?

"The only palatable answer is what conservatives say they love best: self-control and personal responsibility. When someone spews obscenities, shout them down. When politicians and pundits use inflammatory language, condemn them."

Before we decide, let's remember April 19, 1995.

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