Over the weekend a crazed gunman shot up a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, killing six people before himself getting gunned down by the police. Obviously this is tragic news--adding Sikhs to the long list of religious groups that sought refuge for free religious worship in America only to learn that we can produce hateful crazies just like any other part of the world. Unless some new evidence turns up--which is possible, considering the investigation is ongoing--it'll be hard to be certain what exactly motivated the killer. This also raises a few other questions:
1) Why did the killer target Sikhs? Was he even aware they were Sikhs, or was he just looking for any large group of dark-skinned people to shoot?
2) Was this killer actually mentally ill--clearly the attack itself was senseless, but was this guy actually suffering serious psychosis that might have been spotted and prevented earlier on?
3) How long before some conservative politician makes a dumb speech about how if all those Sikhs had concealed carry permits they might have been able to gun down the killer before he could do much damage? Rather than, say, speaking out against those who use inflammatory language about Muslims (who the killer might have mistakenly taken the Sikhs for) and foreign-borns?
4) How long before some liberal politician makes a tenuous connection between this killer and a local Tea Party movement? Because of course the Tea Parties have membership rolls and must carefully screen who joins their esteemed organization, so any crazy bigot in their ranks must be welcome.
5) How long before the government decides to expand TSA authority to set up security checkpoints for every public place where more than a dozen people gather? It seems crazy now, but there was a time when you could get on a plane without any sort of screening.
Hopefully something like this can bring out the best in Americans, and not the worst.