We've made progress, but we have not come far enough
August 5, 2015 4:23 PM   Subscribe

Three years ago, Paramjit Kaur Saini, Satwant Singh Kaleka, Suveg Singh Khattra, Prakash Singh, Ranjit Singh and Sita Singh were murdered by Wade Michael Page at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin. Deepya Iyer looks at where things stand in 2015 and what can be done better to prevent similar hate violence in the future.
In the years since the Sikh temple massacre much has changed in the city of Oak Creek, a suburb outside Milwaukee where working-class immigrants including Sikhs have settled. Many of the young immigrant children—whose entry to America was marked by the loss of a parent to bigotry—are now making their way through high school and college. Young Sikh-Americans like Kamal, Mandeep Kaur and Rahul Dubay have become visible participants in interfaith and multiracial citywide events to promote diversity and inclusion. Oak Creek Mayor Steve Scaffidi regularly speaks about the need for American cities to be prepared for hate violence. And at the federal level, the FBI is beginning to track hate crimes committed against Arabs, Hindus and Sikhs as a result of advocacy led by the Sikh community.

Yet, around the nation, hate violence against people in their places of worship continues. Just in the past six months, a Jewish synagogue outside Washington, D.C., was defaced with swastikas and KKK signs; more than 200 protesters, including many with guns, held a “Free Speech” protest against Islam outside of a Phoenix mosque; and a sign at the site for a Hindu temple near Winston-Salem, North Carolina, was found riddled with more than 60 bullet holes. The summer began with the devastating act of hate violence at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, when 21-year-old Dylann Roof shot and killed nine people. This tragedy was followed by reports of arsons at black churches.
Previously.
posted by Ouverture (17 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
State lawmakers can pass legislation denouncing hate violence and setting aside funds for rapid-response tools. Educators can design and implement mandatory curricula that teach children to respect and understand the racial and religious diversity in their communities.

Well, yeah. But obviously the number one most effective thing to help prevent this would be strong gun control laws. Even stronger regulation laws would be better. Leave all the gun access there, just regulate them better! I know we're so far past this that it's insane at this point, but it still actually boggles my mind that we continue to refuse to look at the most obvious solution. It's like when Thelma and Louise want to get to Mexico from Oklahoma - but without going through Texas.
posted by triggerfinger at 4:35 PM on August 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


Timely. I am afraid that today's shooting was hate-based, too, although I hope that I am wrong.
posted by Countess Elena at 4:42 PM on August 5, 2015


At this rate, it's always going to be "too soon" to talk about gun control.
posted by monospace at 4:46 PM on August 5, 2015


Freedom of religion, my ass.
posted by hal_c_on at 4:53 PM on August 5, 2015


At this rate, it's always going to be "too soon" to talk about gun control.

The thing is that, like Andres Brevik, there is no gun control measure that would have stopped this guy. He passed the background checks, had no mental health or criminal history aside from a DUI. We only know he was dangerous ex post facto - he was a generic loser skinhead nobody until he did this.

The deeper issue to me is how this generic loser skinhead nobody failed to be on anybodies radar. There is at least one mass shooting by losers like this every year, and it seems like FBI agents are too busy checking the text messages of their ex-wives to stop these idiots. Plus, there is that quiet social acceptance of these virulent racist dickbags - he had a number of prominent white supremacist tattoos that apparently his roommates and employers felt were A-OK.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 5:11 PM on August 5, 2015 [6 favorites]


The thing is that, like Andres Brevik, there is no gun control measure that would have stopped this guy.

Columbine was 16 years ago. The Brady Bill was in 1993. If we had started doing something about guns a few decades ago - that might have made a difference in the mass killings we're seeing today. That might have stopped them. I agree there are a lot of factors at play here apart from gun control laws. But by sticking our heads in the sand when we first knew this was a problem has for sure had an effect on the number of guns in circulation today. There's no way it hasn't. I want gun control laws not because I think it will make any difference tomorrow, but because I know it will make a big difference a couple decades from now. And all these other side measures are a comparative drop in the ocean. I'm really not convinced that they'll make any kind of meaningful difference at all until we address the incredible proliferation and easy availability of guns in this country.
posted by triggerfinger at 5:27 PM on August 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


there is no gun control measure that would have stopped this guy

I take issue with that.

First: we have never even tried.
Second: it stands to reason that if we treated guns like cars (i.e. require a competency test, license and insurance) a lot fewer people would be able to get their hands on a gun in the first place. Including this guy.

I for one am sick and tired of this argument. Nobody could have predicted this? Fuck that. With guns as available as they are, it's not even a prediction, it's a fucking certainty people are gonna get killed again and again.
posted by monospace at 5:46 PM on August 5, 2015 [7 favorites]


If I were President, I would make a public address every day and read the names of every American killed by a gun in the previous 24 hours. No commentary or explanation. Just the names, in alphabetical order. Every single day.
posted by Faint of Butt at 6:55 PM on August 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


The gun control thing might be a bit of a derail, but, yeah, we have tried.

Competency test, license, insurance... I find it unlikely these things would fix the hatred and bigotry that drives the crimes here.

Somehow eliminating guns would do the trick, I think. If you have a plan to somehow eliminate guns, please share with us how this plan works.
posted by 2N2222 at 7:27 PM on August 5, 2015


The Sphinx can cut guns in half with his mind.
posted by Faint of Butt at 7:28 PM on August 5, 2015


We could do what Australia did and take the guns. But never mind, nothing to be done in the only country in the world where this happens every fucking day.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 7:34 PM on August 5, 2015


We could do what Australia did and take the guns.

That would require a constitutional amendment.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 7:39 PM on August 5, 2015


The gun control thing might be a bit of a derail, but, yeah, we have tried.

No, you haven't.

That would require a constitutional amendment.

No, it would require people paying some goddamn attention to the first half of the sentence.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 7:41 PM on August 5, 2015


We could do what Australia did and take the guns.

um, good luck with that
posted by atoxyl at 8:41 PM on August 5, 2015


Second: it stands to reason that if we treated guns like cars (i.e. require a competency test, license and insurance) a lot fewer people would be able to get their hands on a gun in the first place. Including this guy.


This is a good idea.
posted by hal_c_on at 11:18 PM on August 5, 2015


... there is no gun control measure that would have stopped this guy.

No, that's not right. He had access to semi-automatic assault rifles. If he had a "normal" rifle then there would have been loss of life, but not so many. He would have had to carry loose ammunition, he would have had to stop and reload often, there is a possibility that he could have been stopped.

Once you start saying things like "there is no gun control measure that would have stopped this guy" then there is no use in talking about effective gun control.

Gun control is possible and it does work.
posted by mattoxic at 5:16 AM on August 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


He had access to semi-automatic assault rifles. If he had a "normal" rifle then there would have been loss of life, but not so many. He would have had to carry loose ammunition, he would have had to stop and reload often, there is a possibility that he could have been stopped.

He used a Springfield 9mm pistol. It is semi-auto, but almost all pistols are. It is also clip fed, but again almost all are. There couldn't be a more "normal" handgun.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 7:33 AM on August 6, 2015


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