When tolerance loses, on the shooting of Sikhs

Anoth­er shoot­ing already? Yesterday’s attack at a Sikh tem­ple in Wis­con­sin is simul­ta­ne­ous less and more scary that the “Jok­er attack” in the Col­orado movie the­ater. The tem­ple is a less uni­ver­sal venue, one where few of us have fre­quent­ed. But the impli­ca­tion of a U.S. Army-trained, known white suprema­cist attack­ing a dis­tinct eth­nic group is less an act of ran­dom crazi­ness than it is a polit­i­cal act. Whether the shoot­er turns out to be deranged or not, he’s a long-term mem­ber of what we might call the right-wing hate com­mu­ni­ty and his actions will be seen in that relationship.

A few links to try to make sense of this. The first is the Sikhism page on my wife’s course web­site. She’s paid to teach world reli­gions at the coun­ty com­mu­ni­ty col­lege, but in real­i­ty she teach­es respect, under­stand­ing, and tol­er­ance. She called up the Sikh coali­tion this morn­ing to offer an apol­o­gy. I’m proud of her work. Don’t miss the first embed­ded video, a humor­ous set of inter­views with Sikhs about their tur​bans​.My sym­pa­thies go out to all the Sikhs, both the imme­di­ate vic­tims of yesterday’s vio­lence and all those who will now wor­ry when a white male wirh tat­toos and a shaved head approaches.

The sec­ond is a dusted-off link to a 1997 essay that askswhy the U.S seems to train all of the ter­ror­ists?” While not every jihadist or home­grown mass-murdering nutjob has a U.S. mil­i­tary con­nec­tion, it’s a lot more com­mon than a ran­dom dis­tri­b­u­tion would predict.

Final­ly, one could argue that mod­ern America’s recipe of mil­i­tarism and mass mur­der start­ed sixty-seven years ago today. The world’s first (and so far only) nuclear war began when the U.S. dropped a sin­gle atom­ic bomb on a city, incin­er­at­ing and lethal­ly poi­son­ing over 100,000 cit­i­zens. Many activists have argued (con­vinc­ing­ly in my opin­ion) that the deaths were unnec­ces­sary and that the Tru­man admin­is­tra­tion knew the Japan­ese were near sur­ren­der. What­ev­er the stat­ed or secret motives, the U.S. for­ev­er changed the cal­cu­lus of it’s self image as sim­ple, right­eous nation (unearned after cen­turies of slav­ery and the geno­cide of America’s first inhab­i­tants, but that’s anoth­er tale). Friends Jour­nal has assem­bled recent archives on Hiroshi­ma and Nagasa­ki. May we nev­er forget.

Bonus: anoth­er Sikh video:

  • Aug. 8: 67 years after the old killings, 1 day after the new killings.

    Why do we Chris­tians say we put our trust in God yet cling to guns and oth­er weapons? I’m prac­tic­ing brazen faith in our divine Par­ent and stub­born com­mit­ment to the words of Jesus.