Sometimes being overseas, I feel so distant from the realities and atrocities that happen back home. The Aurora shooting was that way for me. It was hard to believe and feel and morn. It was distant.
The shooting in a Sikh temple in Oak Creek; however, didn’t feel distant. It felt 13 miles away. 13 miles from where my parent’s live. 13 miles from where I grew up. 13 miles from where I spent much of the summer.
The other difference (for me), is that the Aurora shooting happened while I was in transition and had less access to US media. Having access to US media this time, however, just made me more angry.
Clarifying the difference between Sikhs and Muslims, while enlightening for many viewers, sends a silent message that killing Muslims would have been less wrong. It is not. It is not less wrong to kill one over the other. Killing is wrong.
The lack of Sikh voices in the media was also disturbing. Yes, I realize that it is a relatively small community in the US— but how hard could it really be to find someone in the community to speak for the community.
Next, the amount of coverage angered me. Again, silently, the lack of media coverage, especially in comparison to the coverage in Aurora two weeks early, says that the lives of minorities matter less. And, while silent, the message is loud and clear. And it is wrong. There should be the same outrage at this killing. There should be the same out pouring of support. There should be the same reaction time for flags going to half staff. It infuriates me that there isn’t. The community deserves the same level of respect regardless of color, beliefs, practices, or life styles.
Finally, the lack of conversation in our nation about the connection between being a white male and going on a murderous rampage, more than angers me (which it does), fills me with fear. How do we address a problem if we can’t/ don’t/ won’t talk about it? How do we look for and address the root causes? Yes, gun laws need to be stricter. Yes, mental health services need to be wider. But also we need to find a way to teach people that it is not okay to kill others. We need a way for men to be able to express their rage in an appropriate manner. We need to address the white privilege that fuels racism and hate and, yes, mass murders. We need to name the problem and address it. And we need to do it now.