You posted: “I’m not convinced that the cause and effect relation between hate speech and violence has been established”.
My question was a real question and a rhetorical one at the same time. You did answer the rhetorical engagement but not the question.
Again, what kind of evidence will be for you an acceptable proof of the relation between speech and behaviour?
Speech not only organize behaviour, it organize our thinking, the way that we make inferences and establish meanings. I see danger in dismissing this fundamental relationship. I believe it is important from now on to acknowledge the subtleties in the language we use when we create and express our thoughts.
In my view, New Zealand has been shattered not only in his flesh but also in his symbolic realm. We have to ponder what we said, what we listen and what we do. If the "unnamed" was able to understand that we must “utter true words”.
What kind of evidence will be for you an acceptable proof of the relation between speech and behaviour?
Because science long ago determined that speech is a symptom and a cause in human behaviour. It is a fundamental element in the regulation of behaviour. Speech helps to forge motives and goals. It is a tool that set objectives, plans and help to anticipate consequences and regulate the execution of actions.
Language could be deceptive and prone to perversion. Consider the usage of the poem by Dylan Thomas (Do not go gentle into that good night) as it was used by the murderer to give symbolic power to his actions. He wanted to load his message with an epic and poetic connotation but perverting the words of the poet for his purposes.
Certainly the killer was able to see and use the power of words. Words convey ideas that can kill.
If we lost innocence (as has already been said) we have to build on clear and transparent knowledge to heal. We will have to acknowledge the darkness and sick heart of our nation to face the horror. No one can do this for us, we can not hide anymore from this brutal truth. For such task we will need our best creative intelligence embodied in unambiguous words.
Speech matters, is the flesh of our souls and understanding.