He did not see these people for who they were. He did not see their innocence. He saw something in them which was not there and which they were not doing. But he was convinced they were his enemy. He perceived them as an enemy and was certain the only sane course of action was to destroy them before they destroyed him.
Obviously this is insanity, but this is how the ego functions in all of us. When we are in the ego we go into a PRIVATE WORLD in which we hallucinate and project our OWN sin onto other people. We perceive it there, as though it is not our own stuff and as though it is real. We don't even see the person for who they are, and instead interact with that hallucinated projected enemy self, as if it's really out there.
In a sense, when we do this, we are no better than murdering other people. It may seem to be to less of a degree, but it's the same mechanism. And yet, it is not really other people that we're attacking, because as soon as you choose ego you go into a private world. You are then actually attacking a portion of the inside of your own mind, where you see a hallucinated version of your own sin and guilt. You attack your own ego. All of this has nothing to do with other people.
We need to learn to let go of identifying ourselves as ego, i.e. sinful and guilty, so that we can gain a clarity that is very important. We need to become able to truly SEE people as who they really are (Christ, innocent). But we're not going to be ABLE to see that in them if it is not also our own identity. Anything less than love will project a private world of self attack, in which we are at war with ourselves and THINK that it's a war with other people.
Anyone with enough awareness to KNOW that they are Christ, that they are innocent, CANNOT fall for the impression that someone else's insanity has anything to do with them. Someone else's self attack, someone else's private world, someone else's hallucination, or someone else's attempt to project their illusions onto you, has NOTHING to do with who and what you are. It doesn't even touch on who you are, is not targeted at who you are, and doesn't even acknowledge your identity. It's like the person is sending out packages with address labels that are for... not you, even though they're throwing them at you. They just do not register with you. They don't land with your identity.
You then have enough awareness to SEE clearly that the person is actually experiencing insanity. What they are accusing you of they are accusing themselves of. What they think is true of you is true of them, to themselves. Their belief that their enemy is evil is really their own belief that they are evil. They are having a mental illness. They are inside a private hallucinatory world, interact with make-believe selves, and it's literally got NOTHING to do with you at all.
IF you can get to that awareness, which requires that your own awareness be full and know yourself as innocence, you will have the clarity you need to NOT fall for the delusion that someone else's madness is about you. You will see, instead, that their entire experience is a CALL FOR LOVE. THEY need help. It's got nothing to do with you personally. This also will reveal to you that you are completely invulnerable, completely inaccessible to their ego attacks, because YOU do not believe that you are made of the things that they are accusing you of.
Therefore, this gives you access to a freedom, an awareness that nobody CAN attack what you ARE, because what you ARE has shown you that everyone else is trapped in private worlds. Their attacks are on THEMSELVES, and therefore, actually, NOBODY IS REALLY ATTACKING YOU. That then will give you natural confidence and fearlessness, and compassion. And you will be able to come from love.
Nobody has ever really attacked you. You are innocent and immortal and invulnerable. Nobody's harsh words have ever really been toward you. Nobody's abuse was ever an abuse of what you are. You are not abusable. You cannot be defiled in your innocence. You are naturally OUTSIDE of the ego entirely, outside of people's private reality bubbles. You are outside of other people's private worlds, you are outside of their hallucinated attacks, and you are outside of their delusion that their rage has anything to do with you. What a peaceful, safe place to be!
You only are "affected", which really means, are attacking yourself, when YOU believe that you are less than innocence and lovable. That means you believe you are ego, and you are now having your own private world of hallucinations. And other people's hallucinations will start to resonate with your false truth, and you will believe they join together and that therefore other people ARE now capable of attacking you. And when they express their hallucinations toward what you are, you will believe they really are about you, and you will really generate "hurt" in yourself (really done by your own mind), believing that they put it there. That's the mode you have to get OUT of, by reclaiming the Atonement.
Atonement is the awareness of your innocence, your invulnerability, and your immortality. And in this view of clarity, you'll laugh when you see that NOBODY is actually even attacking what you are AT ALL! They're all too busy attacking themselves, and are all lost and unconscious in their own little worlds. How freeing! Nothing real can be threatened, because nothing real is BEING threatened.