During the course of the last fortnight alone, the international press has reported at least 4 instances of unarmed civilians being gunned down by a heavily armed gunman. This kind of killing is on the increase and though I do not have the statistics to prove it, i venture to suggest that economic uncertainty is causing a good deal of turbulence in American society. The killing of 12 people who had gathered to watch the Dark Knight Rises at Aurora, Arizona, and more recently the shooting of 6 worshipers who had gathered at a Gurudwara in Oak Creek, Wisconsin are both horrific instances of what mindless access to guns can do. I have written a good deal about the need for strict gun control especially after Rep Gifford was shot and I will not traverse that territory in this blog.
The Press here has reported the following facts about the gunman who killed 6 Sikhs at Oak Creek. First,the shooter Wade Michael Page was a veteran of the US ARmy. Second, he was dishonorably discharged from the US Military. Third, this particular individual has had a violent history and was associated with a number of White Supremacy groups. I have no individual source of information except what I read and if these facts are correct then I am inclined to ask a few questions.
Wisconsin is one of 17 US states that permits people carry "concealed weapons", however, with a licence. Mr Page has had a few run ins with the Police and was a known activist on the White Supremacy fringe. How was he able to acquire the weapons and the ammunition straight off the shelf, so to speak, without being flagged. I can understand such things in my part of the world. A corrupt Government and a corrupt police force hand in glove with criminals. USA, however, is different. We expect a better standard of governance in US and hence my question.
Soon it will be 11 years sicne the attack on the Twin Towers and hate crimes against non white people is increasing. The victims of Page's rampage in Wisconsin were Indians, Sikhs, who wear turbans as a matter of religious faith. Sikh men wear beards and turbans as a matter of faith. They are not Muslims and the American press seems to suggest that Sikhs are somehow mistaken as Muslims. There have been a series of attacks on men of Sikh faith and people need to be educated on this. In fact a Muslim terrorist in all probability not draw attention to himself and sport a clean cut all American look. I think racial profiling as practiced by the Homeland Security needs to be more sensitive to ground realities.
We are living in an "Age of Extremes" and so violence is part and parcel of our existential condition. I think it is time to draw down the rhetoric on Jehadi Terrorism as it only encourages a backlash against innocent people and the shooting at Oak Creek is proof of that.
In the part of the world I come from all places of worship are provided security along with a door frame metal detector. After the spate of recent shootings, I think the time has come for metal detectors and the whole range of security related measures to be put in place.
I think the theory floated by the Obama Administration that it was an act of "domestic terrorism" is wrong and this was floated in order to retain the Indian vote for the Democratic party. From all that I have read, the killing is a hate crime and needs to be investigated further though Mr Wade was apparently shot dead on the scene of the crime.