Stranger At the Gate: One Marine’s Journey from Hate to Healing

He was thisclose to becoming a mass murderer, but one encounter changed the entire course of one marine’s life. Watch Stranger At The Gate.

Stranger At The Gate is a stunning documentary short that, in my opinion, should be essential viewing. In such a divided society, we must be reminded that there is kindness and commonality among all of us. The film tells the story of a former marine who plotted to bomb an Islam center in his hometown of Muncie, Indiana. However, an unanticipated meeting with a handful of the center’s members changed his perspective. How did Mac McKinney shift from being a potential mass killer to becoming a leader in the local Islamic community?

Richard (Mac) McKinney returned home from war believing Muslims were the enemy. Soldiers were frequently taught to regard their targets as objects rather than people. This made it easier for them to obey commands and ‘do what they had to do’ throughout the conflict. But when Mac returned home, he found himself surrounded by the very individuals he’d been taught to despise. His PTSD went untreated, and his hatred led him to devise a plan to bomb the local mosque.

Mac visited the mosque in an effort to feel better about his decision. When he entered, he saw the people inside as potential targets, just as he had in the war. He believed that bombing the place and killing as many people as possible was the right thing to do, not just for himself and his family but also for his country.

During that very first visit, members of the mosque welcomed him with open arms, as is customary. They exhibited such generosity to Mac that he began to have doubts about his plan. He continued to visit the center day after day and week after week, unsure of how to proceed. According to the documentary, it took him eight weeks to completely change his mind. Watch the incredibly powerful Oscar-nominated 2022 documentary Stranger At The Gate: