On December 7, 1993, Colin Ferguson loaded his 9-millimeter pistol, put 160 rounds of additional ammunition in his pockets, and took a train crowded with homebound commuters to Hicksville, Long Island. There he deliberately commenced firing on the packed passengers, killing six people and wounding 17 others. As he paused to reload, two brave men overpowered him. Early in the morning of February 25, 1994, Dr. Baruch Goldstein loaded his automatic rifle and went to a mosque in Hebron on the West Bank of the Jordan River, where the patriarch Abraham is said to be buried. Firing into the crowd kneeling at prayer, he emptied the magazine, killing 30 or more and wounding many others.
Ferguson, a Jamaican, deliberately set out to kill white people. Goldstein, a Jew who thought of himself as an Israeli, had gone to kill Palestinian Muslims. Why? Is the fact that each had spent a significant part of his life in Brooklyn all they had in common?
As a child, Ferguson led a sheltered life in an affluent family in Jamaica. He attended one of the island’s best schools. Its principal said he was a pleasant, punctual, well-behaved student who played cricket, was the star goalkeeper on the soccer team, and graduated in the top third of his class. After graduation, his father got him a job but died when Ferguson was 20. Looking to improve his prospects, Ferguson emigrated to the United States when he was 24. After a marriage that gave him citizenship and a temporary companion, and problems with jobs and college, he moved to Brooklyn in 1991. A fall at one job gained him worker’s compensation of $26,250 m September 1992.
By all accounts, Goldstein was a model student at the Yeshiva of Flatbush in Brooklyn, at Yeshiva University, and at Einstein Medical School. He is said to have been a paradigm of self-sacrifice and devotion to others. “It is hard to believe that such a person could become a mass murderer solely as a result of the pressure of recent events,” noted liberal Rabbi Shlomo Sternberg in a March 1994 New York Times article.
We have become accustomed to the concept of the “power of positive thinking,” thanks in part to the pioneering precept of the late Norman Vincent Peale. And the power of negative thinking? Well, the positive proponents warn against it, some saying it can set you up for cancer or shorten your life in some other way—through stress, depression, etc. In a major clinical study at Duke University, made public at a meeting of the Society of Behavioral Medicine on April 15, researchers reported that negative emotions, including hostility, significantly reduced chances of survival from the effects of heart disease.
Many people voice or write of their concern about the effect on the young of words and acts, of sounds and sights of violence on radio and TV. According to the National Coalition on Television Violence there are more than 700 studies and reports on TV violence. They are overwhelming in their conclusion that a direct and major causal connection to real-life violence exists. Dr. Hollenbach of the National Institute of Mental Health said that this may be the best proven fact in the whole field of psychology. Gould this be the factor society is missing in trying to understand the aberrant behavior in Hicksville and Hebron?
What are the major messages about violence related by the media to people of African or Jewish descent? For the former, there is a constant stream of fiction and drama about oppression and discrimination suffered by “minorities.” For Jews, the major impact must be from the repeated forms of presenting “the Holocaust.” That these are powerful instruments producing emotional reactions in white people and in non-Jews is evident. There have been countless street demonstrations in major cities of Western Europe by Europeans protesting “racism” and by non-Jews protesting “anti-Semitism” when a synagogue or Jewish graveyard has been desecrated. In the United States, we have had riots and street demonstrations relating to the experiences of these two groups. If strong emotions of empathy and anger are evoked in both whites and non-Jews by the stimuli of these presentations of violence, how must “minorities” and Jews feel?
According to his landlord, Ferguson blamed racism for all his misfortunes and shattered expectations. Some Jews could only feel revulsion “when they heard some neighbors of the settler. Dr. Baruch Goldstein, gloat over what a gift he had handed them for the Jewish holiday of Purim,” reported the New York Times last February. Goldstein, one may speculate, killed and died under the burden of the holocaust, of Schindler’s List and of all that had gone before it.
More Jews are becoming aware of how psychologically damaging the repetition of the “holocaust” story is to their people. As the Rabbi Eli Hecht wrote last January in a Los Angeles Times article entitled “When Will Jews Let It Rest?”:
I am sick and tired of this generation identifying Judaism with suffering. Why is it imperative for our children and young people to visit Holocaust museums? Why do they need to hear lectures about skinheads and neo-Nazis and growing anti-Semitism? Why should they see every film about the Holocaust, always portraying Jews as victims running for their lives?
Speaking of Israeli psychological resistance to moving forward in peace talks with the Palestinians, Communications Minister Shulamit Aloni told a radio interviewer on March 24, “We have got to get it into our heads once and for all that in our relations with the Palestinians we are not the victims. We are the rulers; we are the occupiers.” There is an African-American tradition of pride in self-help rather than self-pity, of looking forward, from Booker T. Washington and Marcus Garvey to some leaders today.
What did Ferguson and Goldstein have in common? Forget Brooklyn! It was probably rage. Rage so great that they could not contain it. They felt compelled to take it out on others. The constant repetition of violence in audiovisual and written materials about Afro-American slavery and the holocaust, a Niagara of negativism, must have an effect upon the psyches of its recipients. It may be experienced as violation—as violence. It is a form of torture of the psyche, which may produce distortions of perception and judgment, a tendency to delusions of persecution or grandiosity, focused or generalized anxiety or fear or depression.
Could those who have written and produced so many dramas on the horrors of slavery and its aftermath have had a part in the mindset of Colin Ferguson as he set out for Hicksville on his mission of death? Were Stephen Spielberg’s images from Schindler’s List the last straw for Baruch Goldstein?
Many African-Americans and Israelis are sorely in need of liberation from their constant, toxic diet of mental violence, victimology, and negative thinking. We need to liberate ourselves from the pervasive psychological flagellation, oppression, violence, and negativism of slavery and the holocaust.