By Tom Ehrich

It's one eruption of hatred, anger and injustice after another. Each eruption signals larger contexts of which many were unaware.

Grand jury decisions in Ferguson and Staten Island are placed within a much larger context of police brutality toward black and brown citizens. We now know that hundreds of black men have been killed by police without criminal consequences.

A pastor's rant about killing homosexuals as a way to save America goes viral, appalling some, reinforcing others. Although his views are extreme, the reality of hatred toward homosexuals seems both inescapable and more likely to be expressed publicly.

We hear wild accusations and reprisals aimed at President Obama, as if a thin veneer of civility has been pierced and displaying rage and loathing is okay.

On the one hand, thank goodness for a free society where any opinions can be expressed. The same Constitution that protects the racist ranter protects me.

On the other hand, I see the eruptions and wonder just how many hate-filled, angry and injustice-prone people are around me. Maybe social media give a large microphone to a small subset. But it doesn't feel that way. It feels as if a lid has been removed, restraints have been eased, and suddenly a broad and ugly dark side is visible.

I also notice that the more that hatred and anger shouts, the more decency gets voiced, as well. The voices of civility, tolerance and justice are getting louder, too.

I don't know that a shouting match leads anywhere. But repressed rage certainly leads nowhere. So getting it out probably will be good for us.

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