7 Dead in Sikh Temple Shooting: Where Next?

America’s latest wanton murder spree raises questions of character.

A woman prays near a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, following a mass shooting inside and outside the temple. (Photo: Allen Fredrickson/Reuters)

Aug 6, 2012
Allan MacDonell is TakePart’s News + Opinion editor, with a focus on social justice.

Sunday’s shooting massacre of six people, with four wounded, at a Sikh temple in suburban Oak Creek, Wisconsin, is the first major slaughter by a heavily armed gunman on U.S. soil since the Dark Knight Rises murders in an Aurora, Colorado, movie theater killed 12 people and wounded dozens more on July 20, 2012.

Wade Michael Page, the suspected Oak Creek shooter, was a 40-year-old U.S. Army veteran. Police killed Page at the scene, bringing the death toll at America’s latest mass gun violence slaying to seven.

On the day of July’s Aurora killing, TakePart posted “Good Morning, Shooters—Now Wake Up to Gun Violence.” With a few names, locales and statistics cut and pasted, TakePart’s response to 24-year-old presumed gunman James Holmes’s wanton killings remains a perfect fit to yesterday’s murders in a Milwaukee suburb.

MORE: Batman Shooting: When Will These Horrifying Shooting Sprees Stop?

In the light of the fresh killings, it may be instructional to review some of the reader COMMENTS from “Wake Up to Gun Violence.”

From Curtis B.: The bottom line is this. This was a deranged individual who happened to be criminally sophisticated, cold, and calculating and he acted irrationally and hurt many people. My condolences go out to the victims and their families. However we could not have stopped this anymore than they could have stopped McVeigh in OKC or Breivik in Norway because these guys were lone wolf domestic terrorists that struck suddenly with no previous criminal records. The Anti Gun lobby wants to punish ALL of us for the crimes of a few nut jobs.

From Bret H.: Stricter gun laws won't help a thing. Don’t people get it? Criminals don’t obey laws; that is why the are called criminals. They are going to get a gun regardless of what laws you pass. The only thing yet another knee-jerk reaction law is going to do is disarm the good people and allow the bad people to flourish.

From Casey B.: More people die in car accidents than gun related incidents. It may be more effective to ban vehicles than guns if you want to keep people alive. While you’re at it, cure cancer and solve obesity.

From Scott M.: The number of firearms in private hands has increased by one-third since the mid-’80s and the number of privately-owned handguns has doubled. Since 2004, high-capacity magazines have been legal again (except for a few cities and states which—by the way—are all high-crime areas). Again, except for rare, mental-illness-driven incidents like the one under discussion, where is the bloodbath?

Let’s agree that Americans have an honest divergence of belief in the role that U.S. gun policy plays in our annual wholesale slaughter of law-abiding, peaceful human beings. Can we at least accept as fact that something is very, very wrong in the way people relate to one another here in the United States?

It’s a jump in logic to look for a direct causal connection between the Oak Creek and Aurora shootings and the acrimony of the American political divide, and the punitive stress of our incarceration industry, and the harsh discrepancies of our income disparity, and our expanding rate of child hunger, and a seeming rise in callous and brutal abuses of police power, and our military invasions and occupations, and the U.S. selling the world the bulk of its weaponry, and the fact that the number of privately owned handguns in the United States has reportedly doubled since the mid-1980s. Nobody can connect those dots to the temple shootings with any scientific assurance.

But “Where is the bloodbath?” is a question that we readily answer here in America on a regular basis.

What we don’t know is: Where will the next bloodbaths be? And is there something we can do to have less of them?

Say what you think in COMMENTS.

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