Monday, August 13, 2012

Air gun attack on mosque may be worse than Wisconsin’s Sikh temple attack

I’m sure that some people are going to read this commentary, then send me a rant claiming that the two incidents that have caught my attention have nothing in common.

One of the incidents is the one that captured national attention – a white supremacist man who walked into a Sikh temple fully armed, then began shooting at people. He managed to inflict casualties, before avoiding arrest by shooting himself to death.

BUT I AM actually more offended by an incident this weekend in the Chicago suburbs – Morton Grove to be precise.

For police there have arrested a 51-yar-old man who lives just a few blocks near an Islamic mosque. Facing charges of aggravated discharge of a firearm and criminal damage to property, the man will make his first court appearance on Monday.

In this particular instance, a security guard at the Muslim Education Center in Morton Grove said he heard something hit the outside wall of the building while services for Ramadan were taking place.

After going outside to check, he heard “bangs” that sounded like gunfire.

POLICE FOUND A high-powered air rifle in the possession of the man. They believe he was shooting at the building to express his opposition to having a mosque so close to his home.

Which makes me wonder if someone will try to claim he was merely expressing his beliefs (freedom of speech?), and that nobody was actually hurt.

But like I stated earlier, this incident actually bothers me more than the recent incident at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin in the Milwaukee suburb of Oak Creek – even though six people were killed in that incident and many others suffered severe injuries from their wounds.

Police have said they believe the 40-year-old who committed that attack was a white supremacist who was expressing his beliefs against Islam.

THE FACT THAT he was in a Sikh temple rather than a mosque can be used by some of us to dismiss him as some sort of idiot who can’t tell the difference.

Yet I’m sure there are many others who don’t want to distinguish between Sikhs and Muslims, or who think that they’re both alike in that they’re not the religious faith that the particular crackpot wants to think of as the lone legitimate one.

What bothers me is that it was just a week after the Wisconsin incident that this incident in the northwest suburbs is committed. Somebody apparently didn’t learn any kind of lesson from what happened at the Sikh temple.

Or perhaps they think they’re going to “finish off” the job that one man tried to start last week.

FOR ALL I know, they’re probably offended at the news reports being disseminated this weekend about the first service at that particular Sikh temple – what with people trying to get on with their lives to the degree that some of those who organized a memorial service for the six dead people wanted to include a seventh empty coffin to remember the fact that Page also died in the temple.

It was a gesture of forgiveness, although more because these people don’t want to have these ideological crackpots dictating the tone of their lives forevermore.

That’s a very mature attitude for them to take.

Yet we probably do have some people who privately rant and rage about how too much attention is being paid to what happened in Wisconsin.

AND A FEW others who feel the need to take some sort of follow-up action.

Because that’s how I view what happened in Morton Grove. It’s evidence that some people are determined not to learn any kind of lesson from what happened in Wisconsin.

And that, ultimately, is the flaw in our society – not the existence of differing religious faiths in our ranks.


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