This blog explores the contemporary political and cultural trends from a distinct perspective

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.

 




  


Comments
on Aug 07, 2012

Wisconsin  is one of 17 US states that permits people carry "concealed weapons", however, with a licence.

Not particularly relevant.  There's no evidence that Right-to-Carry laws correlate positively with gun crimes, even when you narrow it down to states which allow concealed carry.  What evidence exists, including the FBI's crime statistics, indicates just the opposite, that violent crime in general is lower in states with RTC laws.  Even allowing for 'worst case' interpretation of the data for CC states only, violent crime rates are no higher in RTC states.  Also, states which passed RTC laws over the past decade or two have reported a significant decrease in violent crimes overall after passage and certainly no increase in crimes committed with guns.  Chicago has some of the most restrictive gun regulations in the nation and has the highest murder rate by far.

You can't argue that highly restrictive gun control reduces violent crime - the data do not support such an argument.

Soon it will be 11 years sicne [sic] the attack on the Twin Towers and hate crimes against non white people is [sic] increasing.

I'd like to see what evidence you have to support this claim.  Violent crime of all kinds has been declining fairly dramatically since ~1991 (again, FBI data).  The rate of decline has slowed a bit since 2000 and there has been a leveling off of some specific crime rates since then, but there's been no increase in crimes against non-whites.  The rate of crimes against black victims, who make up the vast majority of non-white victims in the US, has been higher than that against whites for as long as rates have been reliably measured, but the rates of crime against both groups have been declining since ~1991 and the difference in rates has been narrowing.  Whether you choose to call a certain subset of violent crimes 'hate crimes' is highly subjective and largely meaningless in the context of violent crime, despite increasing efforts to ascribe hate as a motive.  In 2009 the per capita overall crime rate was the same as it was in 1968, which to me suggests either we have no more 'hate' now than we did then, or we had just as much 'hate' then as we do now.

Depending on how you define 'hate crime', there was a reported increase in 'hate crimes' against American Arab, Muslim and Sikh victims after 2000, at least by certain organizations.  From a 2009 report from The Leadership Conference (which almost sounds like where you got the idea):

Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the number of hate crimes directed against Arab Americans, Muslims, and Sikhs escalated dramatically. In 2001, Arab Americans, Muslims, and Sikhs were victimized in nearly five percent of the total number of hate crimes reported that year (481 out of 9,730), a seventeen-fold increase over the prior year. While the number of reported hate crimes against Arab Americans, Muslims, and Sikhs has declined from the peak of 2001, it remains substantially above pre-2001 levels. In 2007, for example, 115 hate crimes were reported — more than four times as many as were reported in 2000.

The multipliers sound impressive and alarming at first blush, don't they?  But the absolute numbers are quite small (as are the rates - see below) and the likelihood of a crime being considered 'hate-related' was probably much lower prior to our collective politically-correct sensitivity being raised by 9/11.  The convenience store robbery in which a Sikh owner was killed was not likely to have been considered a 'hate crime' in 2000; maybe so in 2003.  Furthermore, the increase was for all of 2001 compared to 2000; hard to imagine that all of the increase was attributable to the ~15 weeks following 9/11, but admittedly it's at least theoretically possible.

The 2000 census reported ~1.5 million Americans of Arab descent.  Estimates of the Muslim population of the US around that time vary greatly, ranging from 1.5 million to 6 or 7 million.  The Sikh population is estimated to have been around 500,000.  For purposes of discussion, ignoring the overlap of Arab and Muslim populations (~30% or so), using low numbers to give a more or less 'worst case' scenario, let's assume the combined population of these groups in 2001 was roughly 3.25 million (though it could have been much higher).  Using The Leadership Conference's number of 481 'hate crimes' in 2001 (the peak year, BTW) yields a rate of 14.8 such crimes per 100,000 individuals.  Compare that to the reported violent crime rate for the entire population of the US in 2001 of 504 per 100,000.  And compare it to the homicide rate alone against blacks of 20 per 100,000 in 2001.

The Leadership Conference data also show a steady decline in 'hate crimes' against Arabs, Muslims and Sikhs since that peak year of 2001, flatly contradicting your claim, though the number is still higher than in 2000 (which could be explained by growth in the Arab, Muslim and Sikh populations and, at least in part, by changes in the way crimes have been classified post-9/11).  This has occurred in the face of a dramatic increase in the US Muslim population over the past decade as evidenced by the construction of some 1200 new mosques during that time frame.  The 2007 'hate crime' number of 115 that The Leadership Conference reported was also a raw number, unadjusted for subject population growth, but compared by them to the 2000 number ('more than four times as many') anyway.

Bottom line, your contention that hate crimes against non-whites have been increasing since 9/11 is false.

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.

Garbage.  There is simply no evidence to support this claim, on any level, let alone 'proof'.  Please share it if you think you have it.

Lastly, I'm aware of the mass murder at a Sikh temple west of Phoenix in 1994 and this mass murder of Sikhs in Oak Creek.  I'd be pleased to learn of the others in the 'series of attacks on men of Sikh faith' you mention, though anecdotes won't change statistical reality.

P.S.  For what it's worth, our American legacy media (and government) have decided to call the Oak Creek shootings an episode of 'Domestic Terrorism' rather than a 'hate crime'.  This despite the government having labeled the mass murder committed by Nidal Hassan at Fort Hood an episode of 'workplace violence'.  Don't know about you (well, I have a suspicion) but I think the government is a bit confused.

 

on Aug 08, 2012

Not particularly relevant.  There's no evidence that Right-to-Carry laws correlate positively with gun crimes, even when you narrow it down to states which allow concealed carry.  What evidence exists, including the FBI's crime statistics, indicates just the opposite, that violent crime in general is lower in states with RTC laws.  Even allowing for 'worst case' interpretation of the data for CC states only, violent crime rates are no higher in RTC states.  Also, states which passed RTC laws over the past decade or two have reported a significant decrease in violent crimes overall after passage and certainly no increase in crimes committed with guns.  Chicago has some of the most restrictive gun regulations in the nation and has the highest murder rate by far.

The correlation as far as I can tell and I am not an expert in crime and social issues, is between violent crime and social inequality and that is the reason for the high crime rate in Chicago. Moreover, the criminal who wants a guns will get one no matter and what we are asking is background checks on potential killers on the loose. The neo Nazi, Page could have been prevented from acquiring giuns as the Police and the FBI were aware of his white aryan nation associations.

No one is suggesting and it will be an unnecessary side issue, the suspension of the right to bear arms. What we are suggesting is reasonable safeguard against sophisticate weapons falling in the wrong hands. In all the 3 cases reported internationally, the shooter bought the weapons just a week or so before the crime and so reasonable restraint is all that is required. 

on Aug 08, 2012

What is the basis for your claim that 'social inequality' is greater in Chicago?  What is the basis for your claim that 'social inequality' is 'the reason' for higher crime rates there? 

on Aug 16, 2012

Looking forward to your article on the shooting at the FRC.

3... 2... 1...

on Aug 16, 2012

Hate Crime or Domestic Terrorism:[/quote]

[quote who="Daiwa" reply="4" id="3207361"]Looking forward to your article on the shooting at the FRC.

3... 2... 1...

me too! 

 

on Aug 18, 2012

Chirp...  Chirp...  Chirp...

on Aug 21, 2012

Chirp...  Chirp...  Chirp...

on Aug 21, 2012

Page's was a brutal senseless crime. He's a criminal. No need to call him anything other than a violent murderer. 

 

on Aug 21, 2012

I vote neither...

There is no real free will... so a certain "indoctrination" education to society (and expectations of society) is required to 1) Detect people who have a general physiological problem with their brains and 2) prevent the ostracization of individuals

This will go a long way towards eliminating these kinds of problems... and that means you have to vote Democrat.

on Aug 22, 2012

LORD-ORION
and that means you have to vote Democrat

Oh.  Glad you cleared that up.

on Aug 22, 2012


Quoting LORD-ORION, reply 9and that means you have to vote Democrat

Oh.  Glad you cleared that up.

Republicans and Libertarians are not big on social programs

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