What’s going on in America?
We love speak about our country as a land which champions human rights and the virtues of peace and freedom fervently.
Perhaps we need to start practicing what we preach.
I struggled to come up with words on Sunday when I first heard about the massacre at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wis. When Wade Michael Page opened fire inside the temple, killing six and wounding three, it changed the course of history for a group of people who are amongst the nicest and most pleasant in this country.
Sikhism is very similar to many other religions that we know well and to which we subscribe. Sikhs preach universally accepted ideals of humility, honesty and compassion.
Sheer ignorance and hate lead to this shooting, and while it may be spoken about as the musings of a madman, we must call this what it is: terrorism in its darkest form. Calculated killings, premeditated and ghastly in nature.
A vigil for the recent Wisconsin Sikh temple shooting in Union Square in New York City on Wednesday, Aug. 8.
It all leads back to this culture of hate that is brewing in America’s underworld. While it only reaches a boiling point on occasion, these atrocities start months and years before, on message boards online and in meetings across the country. And eventually after years and years of hate-riddled thoughts being etched into one’s psyche, it becomes an almost insurmountable task to teach them differently.
This is something many of us thought changed.
Yet here in 2012, the level of hate and ignorance in this country is astounding. We were perhaps naive in thinking the election of President Obama would serve to finally breakdown the deep-rooted racial barriers. Unfortunately, reality has showed that we have a lot of work to do.
I recently saw an article that stated that no motive had yet been found for the shooting, and I was baffled. No motive? Is hate not motive? It’s this “sweep it under the rug” mentality and that keeps real issues from being resolved. Treat this like the sole act of one man and we will continue to live in ignorance. As much as it pains me to say it, there are other Wade Pages out there.
Many pundits have argued that gun control is the solution. Quite frankly, it is only a band-aid to the situation. While I am a firm believer that in the wake of this and the recent Aurora, Colo., shootings there needs to be a revamping of the laws, I am not naive. The current lax gun-control laws do not help, but even if you could ban guns completely it still will not do away with hate.
The only real hope is education. As humans we must stop focusing on what divides us and instead focus on what brings us together. There needs to be a nationwide message of connectivity and understanding and, most importantly, this needs to happen before these atrocities occur. At the a vigil for the Sikh shooting victims in New York City’s Union Square this past Thursday, over 2,000 people attended, including many non-Sikhs as well.
As many donned their “We are all Sikhs” T-shirts, it showed that despite the reception many Sikhs have been subjected to in this country, they still feel a part of it all. At Union Square, they banded together, held hands and spoke about their message of peace and love.
They did not protest, exhibit anger or act defiantly. Even in the wake of the most heinous crime they been victims of in America, they still cling to their moral ideals.
The rest of the country could learn a thing or two.
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