published Tuesday, August 7th, 2012

Guns, hatred and violence

  • photo
    A man wipes away tears outside the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, Wis., where a police say a gunman killed six people before he was fatally shot by a law officer.

Sunday's mass shooting at a Sikh temple near Milwaukee that left six people dead and three wounded understandably horrifies Americans of all backgrounds. It comes just a fortnight after a ghastly movie-theater shooting spree in Colorado which left 12 dead and 58 wounded. Unfortunately, such incidents are not an aberration in the United States. The place, the toll and the impetus for the attacks might change, but there is a constant: Guns play a central role in the violence.

Sunday's incident was no different than others. The alleged gunman was armed, officials say, with a 9 mm handgun and multiple magazines of ammunition. He has been identified as 40-year-old U.S. Army veteran who once led a white supremacist heavy metal band. On Monday, he was called a "frustrated neo-Nazi" by a spokesman for the Southern Poverty Law Center, the nonprofit civil rights organization that tracks hate groups. The combustible combination of an easily obtained gun and racial hatred undoubtedly contributed directly to Sunday's tragedy.

Not much can be done directly about the way an individual thinks about ethnic and religious groups unless that person publicly acts on those beliefs. Something can be done, however, about the ready availability of guns and ammunition that makes many irrational acts based on those beliefs so deadly. That would require passage of sensible gun control laws, but that is unlikely at present. The political courage required to do so is lacking.

Fair and equitable control of gun sales is possible. The U.S. Supreme Court has said so in a ruling that upholds Second Amendment rights, but says that states have a right to regulate gun sales and related purchases. Few states, however, have gone down that path. Legislators are afraid to challenge the National Rifle Association propaganda that regulation of gun sales is an attack on the personal right to own guns.

The result is predictable. Gun-related deaths here and across the country continue to grow, especially when hatemongers with easy access to weapons act on their views. That seems to be the case in Wisconsin, even if it is possible that the event is a horrible case of mistaken identity.

Sikhism is a monotheistic faith that promotes equality for all. Observant Sikhs do not cut their hair and men often cover their heads with turbans, which are considered sacred. As a result, Sikhs frequently are mistaken for Muslims or Arabs and have inadvertently become targets of anti-Muslim hatred in this country since 9-11.

Days after the terror attacks, for example, a Sikh man was killed in Arizona. The man convicted of the killing had told his wife that "all Arabs should be shot."

Such talk is irrational, of course, but nevertheless can lead to deadly consequences. Indeed, given the lack of evidence that white supremacists like Sunday's alleged gunman hated Sikhs, some officials now believe that the shooter mistook Sikhs for Muslims.

Legislation can't fully protect us from such hatred and gunplay, but it would reduce the toll tied to easy access to weapons, large capacity magazines, assault rifles and unchecked accumulation of guns and ammunition. Until political leaders find the wisdom and courage to enact strict gun controls, tragedies such as Sunday's will remain the shame of the nation.

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joneses said...

Why does the author of this article refer to the Colorado incident and the incident against the Sikhs a "mass shooting" versus a "man made disaster"? Is "man made disaster"only reserved for radical Muslim Terrorist when they kill innocent men, women and children with their homicide bombers and other forms of mass murder and retaliation against people of other faiths? They are all the same as murder is murder and these murderous actions by all extremist are despicable. The stupid liberal media trying to be politically correct by using the term "man made disaster" when one group commits these atrocities and using "mass murder" for another group is stupid.

August 7, 2012 at 5:02 a.m.
shen said...

keep rambling on joneses. The stuff of a guilty conscience, no doubt.

"Muslim" terrorists VS "Christian" terrorists is there really a difference? Might it be that extemists and terrorists can co-exist within all? Regardless of religious affiliation?

August 7, 2012 at 5:20 a.m.
joneses said...

shen,

That is ypical stupid absurd liberal response. All you did was respond to something not even said in my post but an assumption from your weak little liberal mind. I have no guilt. Guilt is something one did and I have done nothing to acquire this guilt you lie about. Read my post again stupid. A terrorist is a terrorist. I was pointing out why one is referred to different than the other moron. You are proven stuff of an idiot no doubt. Now you could very well be suffering from shame as being ashamed of yourself is shame of who you are. You might want to check in with that.

August 7, 2012 at 5:39 a.m.
Easy123 said...

Joneses,

A word of advice: Learn how to type a coherent sentence. Both of your posts appear to be written by a sputtering drunk.

August 7, 2012 at 10:50 a.m.

The only references I can find to the term "man-made disaster" involve Fukushima, not terrorism.

I think joneses is spewing yet another thing made up in the fantasies of a twisted mind.

August 7, 2012 at 11:12 a.m.
Leaf said...

It's not hard to keep up with this Joneses. All you need is a third grade education and a six pack.

August 7, 2012 at 2:27 p.m.
Rickaroo said...

"Why does the author of this article refer to the Colorado incident and the incident against the Sikhs a "mass shooting" versus a "man made disaster"? - joneses

Of all the things that could be said about the recent mass shootings that have taken place, joneses chooses to focus instead on what we should properly call them. Leave it to the scattered and schizoid mind of the conservative to detract from the real seriousness of the matter and focus instead on a mere matter of semantics. Conservatives have no problem referring to a legal abortion as murder, but how dare this editor or the media refer to mass shootings as, well, mass shootings! Rather we should be toning down the rhetoric and calling them mere "man-made disasters" instead, right? And so the conservative spin goes on and on and on and on and on.....

August 7, 2012 at 5:34 p.m.
jazzman said...

Right-wingers love promoting 'muslim' hysteria, just ask Michelle Bachmann and the rest of the idiots who peddle the birther/muslim nonsense about the Pres.

August 8, 2012 at 1:52 a.m.
joneses said...

Excuse me I misspoke. the new liberal term is "Man Caused Disaster". Again happywithbeingafool you only did research to back up one side of a discussion. You doing this makes you look more like the fool you are. Thanks for proving my point.

Obama-Speak: Homeland Security Secretary Replaces 'Terrorism' With the Term 'Man-Caused Disaster' By Tim Graham | March 19, 2009

Even as President Obama compares bankers to suicide bombers, his Homeland Security Secretary is suggesting the T-word, terrorism, is too inflammatory and representative of old-fashioned "politics of fear." She's announced a new term: "man-caused disaster." From an interview with the German magazine Der Spiegel:

SPIEGEL: Madame Secretary, in your first testimony to the US Congress as Homeland Security Secretary you never mentioned the word "terrorism." Does Islamist terrorism suddenly no longer pose a threat to your country? NAPOLITANO: Of course it does. I presume there is always a threat from terrorism. In my speech, although I did not use the word "terrorism," I referred to "man-caused" disasters. That is perhaps only a nuance, but it demonstrates that we want to move away from the politics of fear toward a policy of being prepared for all risks that can occur. But what if the suicide bomber is a female? Isn't it sexist to use "man-caused disaster"?

August 8, 2012 at 4:27 a.m.
joneses said...

Left wingers love to turn their backs on America thinking it better serves the country to appease the Islamic terrorist and bow to their every demand as the left wingers would rather be slaves to these murderers than free.

August 8, 2012 at 6:29 a.m.
UjokinRIGHTQ said...

joneses, you seem so filled with hatred and anger. Just like those types mentioned in these tragic stories who go beserk enmass. Seek truth and GET HELP!

August 8, 2012 at 9:34 a.m.
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