Detesting oneself makes it almost impossible to honor respect or love others.

Violence is a major concern of most Americans today. The phenomenal increase in homicides is of chief concern—and justifiably so. In Los Angeles, which is typical of the nation’s large urban centers, there was a 59 percent increase in homicides during the three-year period 1977–9, and a 27 percent increase during 1980. Most alarming was the shift to so-called senseless murders: killing without provocation.

Historically, there has been a relationship between the murderer and his victim—a jealous husband, a disgruntled employee, an angry business partner. Now, however, we are witnessing more murders that occur for the sheer thrill of the kill itself, or as a flippant means to settle an argument. A wanton disregard for the value of life would appear to be on the increase. In more homicide cases today the victim and the perpetrator are strangers, completely unrelated to one another. In many of these cases, there appears to be little the victim could have done to prevent the crime.

In other words, each of us is more likely to face a murderous assault regardless of our lifestyle or preventive measures taken.

I am sure the causes of this increase in violence are complex and manifold, but as a law enforcement officer, it appears obvious to me that the phenomenon of self-hatred is a chief contributor. It is typical for those who do not value the lives of others to have low self-esteem. I have seen it in their body language; I have noticed that they do not make eye contact; and I have even heard them make overt statements describing their poor self-image.

Jesus said, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” but detesting one’s self makes it almost impossible to honor, ...

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