New Bedford area residents are being asked to gather tonight in solidarity against hatred.  In light of recent events in Virginia and elsewhere it sounds like a good idea. But, any rally against hate must address hate from across the full spectrum and not be politicized or else it will not be honest or successful.

As I blogged yesterday, there is no shortage of hate out there. I also believe it is being driven by political ideologues and is being used by agitators and the media for purposes of profit and power.

32 year old Heather Heyer was the latest victim of all of this on Saturday when she was killed during violent confrontations between armed members of extremist groups from across the political spectrum.  By all accounts Heather Heyer was a "normal," admired and well respected, hardworking woman who was employed by a law firm in Charlottesville.   She was in the wrong place at the wrong time as hate came to meet hate.

There is no indication that Ms. Heyer was in anyway affiliated with the Antifa radicals that went to Charlottesville on Saturday to counter a rally by various white supremacist groups that were upset with the planned removal of a Confederate-related statue in a city park.  She was a staunch supporter of civil rights and wanted to be there.

Ms. Heyer learned of the rally from the media and went downtown to show her displeasure with what was scheduled to happen. She lost her life to hate.

Hate is evil. It comes in all shapes, sizes and colors. Hate is a tool used by many in search of power and profit. It is all consuming.

Anyone attending this evening's vigil in New Bedford should be mindful that hate met hate on Saturday in Charlottesville. People filled with hate from across the political spectrum chose to engage in violence rather than to seek peace.

Anyone who participated in violence in Charlottesville on Saturday has blood on their hands. Heather Heyer's blood.

I can't help but wonder how much money the media has made promoting all of this hate and whether they share the responsibility for a life cut short.

Editor's Note: Barry Richard is the afternoon host on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from Noon-3pm. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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