Sikh, Muslim, Jew, Christian, Baha’i, Hindu, Buddhist, Confucian, Pagan, Atheist…Black, White, Asian, Latino, African, Australian…resident of Tucson, Aurora, Milwaukee. All have been targets. If you’re angry, fearful, frustrated or even hateful, visit a gym and pound a punching bag, take a five mile run or a cold shower, or, better yet, volunteer at a homeless shelter or senior center, write a letter to a Peace Corps member abroad, take a group of kids to a museum or a basketball court, take a deep breath, drink a glass of water. Throw the hand gun or semi-automatic assault rifle in the lake or turn it into the police. Read a book to a blind person. Tell a joke and make someone laugh. Find a park or field and lie down in the grass, look up and try to figure out where the air around your face turns into the sky around the world.
Random Mass Shooting has become a regular news headline. What are we doing wrong? Is it gun control? Is it economic duress? Are there deep flaws in our social fabric? Over and over again.
I’m sure people in Aurora, Colorado or Milwaukee thought of a mass shooting as something that happens elsewhere. Doesn’t happen to us. Many years ago–in 1966–I was hitchhiking with a friend (sorry Mom) to Mexico from NYC. In Oklahoma, we caught a ride with a man driving a pick up truck (complete with gun rack along the back of the cab). Somewhere south of Dallas, the driver was chatting on his CB and said to us, “They’re shooting hitchhikers in Austin today.” Or, to our NYC ears, that’s what it sounded like he was saying with his southwestern accent. He offered to take us around to the south end of the city before he dropped us off. A day or two later, we heard about the Austin Bell Tower shooting–the first “modern” mass shooting in the U.S. Not a “hate” crime exactly, like the attack on the Sikh congregation, but perpetrated by an angry, hateful and very sick man. That was 1966. This sort of thing has been going on for decades.
Horrified by the attack on the Sikh congregation in Wisconsin? The Sikh Coalition is helping people organize vigils across the country on Wednesday, August 8.
What do we need to do differently?