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I'm going to be writing this one up off and on between work throughout the morning. Sorry if it comes off a bit disjointed because of that.

First, I wanted to share information if you would like to donate to a memorial fund.


Postal address:
Victims Memorial Fund
Sikh Temple of Wisconsin
7512 South Howell Ave
Milwaukee WI 53154

Most of the news coverage in the past day, as one would expect, was about the people involved. I'm going to start with the victims, where the focus should be. I'll end with the shooter. I think it's an educational experience to learn about the perpetrators of these crimes but I understand those who say they don't want to memorialize the shooter so I'll put links about him at the end. If you want to skip, I'll give you a heads up on when to stop reading. Fair warning, though. The articles have a lot of crossover. The shooter is at least mentioned in nearly all the articles.

Hundreds gather at Brookfield temple to honor shooting victims

A mourning Sikh community Monday evening opened the doors of a Brookfield temple to embrace hundreds of people who came to offer support and prayer in the aftermath of a shooting Sunday at another Sikh temple in Oak Creek.

"I told my son a bad man shot some people and we needed to come down to support their families," said a tearful Hope Bailey of Muskego, who brought her 9-year-old son Brandon to the service.

"I want to show my son everyone is equal and it's important to love everybody," Bailey told a reporter.

As Bailey and attendees of other faiths tentatively approached the entrance to the temple, unsure of how to proceed into a faith different from their own, they were warmly welcomed by temple members and given brightly-colored scarves to cover their heads.

Victims are regarded for faith, humility and dedication
On Monday, people gathered to tell their stories.

They told stories of selfless heroism, of hanging on to the American dream, of striving for acceptance while still clinging to a unique heritage. They told stories of community, of a quiet but enduring commitment to faith, family and friends.

Slain temple president's family organizing community service

This article also includes a couple graphics. An informative overview of the Sikh religion and a timeline of the shooter's life.

Family members of slain Sikh Temple of Wisconsin President Satwant Kaleka are organizing what they hope will be a communitywide service Friday for all the victims of Sunday's deadly rampage in Oak Creek.

The Kalekas are inviting the other families to participate in a joint visitation of the dead, in which all the victims would be laid out together, and Sikhs and non-Sikhs alike could pay their respects.

Officer's heroics no surprise to former boss
Oak Creek Police Lt. Brian Murphy, 51, was shot eight to nine times but then waved off help from fellow officers Sunday during the carnage at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin.

"He told them to go into the temple," Oak Creek Police Chief John Edwards said Monday.

American Sikhs a small, misunderstood community
Ever since they arrived in the U.S. as farmers and lumber mill workers in the late 19th century, Sikhs have struggled with how little Americans knew about the faith.

In 1907, a mob in Bellingham, Wash., who called Sikhs "the Hindus," ran them out of town. (Bellingham officials apologized formally 100 years later.)

Over time, they established themselves in the United States with major temples from Boston to California. Still, they remained a small, often misunderstood community, readily identifiable by their turbans. During the 1970s Iranian hostage crisis, Americans often mistook Sikhs for Iranians. Vandals attacked some temples after the Oklahoma City bombing, committed by white U.S. Army veteran Timothy McVeigh.

So when the Sept. 11 attacks occurred, the Sikh community immediately began organizing, working closely with U.S. Arabs and Muslims on domestic anti-terror policies that respect civil rights.

This article mentions the shooter but focuses more on these "mistakes". Thanks to lineatus for sharing the link.

The Man with the 9/11 Tattoo

Instead, eleven years later, the authorities in Oak Creek, despite the assurances that Page was the only shooter, are looking for a second man, a “person of interest” who was in the crowd around the temple. He seemed to be filming people; he also had a 9/11 tattoo. There is also the troubling talk of how attacking Sikhs was a “mistake”—as if attacking Muslims would be less absurd or wrong.
It was very likely a mistake - mistaken identity. That doesn't make attacking Muslims less absurd or wrong. It just shows the deep ignorance of the individual. He knows nothing of who he is targeting. He doesn't bother to learn that Sikhism has no more connection to Islam than Christianity does. To him, they are dark skinned people who wear turbans, have long beards and are not native English speakers. They must be the bad guy. Again, this doesn't make attacking Muslims less wrong. It just makes it more clear how ignorant this guy was.

Following a link from that article: Terror in Oak Creek

That is clear, and right. What else are we blind about, though? Whatever the motives of the shooter turn out to be, a conversation about threats against Sikhs—and Muslims—was overdue yesterday, and is urgent today.

We also, finally, need to talk about guns. Or are we supposed to be quiet until the next shooting?

Page legally bought gun
It is a Springfield 9MM X-D handgun.

"The handgun was purchased legally," said Oak Creek Police Chief John Edwards. "The individual purchased it without any problem. He wasn't banned from owning that handgun."

OK, now about the shooter...

I'm a little nervous about posting the next link because some of the information doesn't seem to be correct. He was not dishonorably discharged. He was not honorably discharged. The difference is more than semantics. However, it offers a good viewpoint of what his responsibilities in the PsyOps division were. I think this may have been misunderstood initially. Basically, it seems he was a propagandist.

The Sikh Shooter’s Army Past — And a U.S. Army Sikh’s Reaction

The Army says someone in his slot today would:

– Research and analyze methods of influencing foreign population from a variety of information sources
– Operate and maintain equipment such as ground tactical vehicles and shelter systems, loudspeaker systems, state of the art computers, analog and digital recording and playback devices and communication systems
– Travel to overseas locations in peace, crisis and conflict to assist U.S. and foreign governments, militaries and civilian populations

Through band, Wade says he wanted to get results 'in our sick society'
Page said he started the band in 2005 "to figure out what it would take to actually accomplish positive results in society and what is holding us back."

"A lot of what I realized at the time was that if we could figure out how to end people's apathetic ways it would be the start towards moving forward," Page is quoted as saying. "Of course after that it requires discipline, strict discipline, to stay the course in our sick society.

"But I didn't want to just point the finger at what other people should do, but also I was willing to point out some of my faults on how I was holding myself back."

Originally posted to RHinWI on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 08:01 AM PDT.

Also republished by Badger State Progressive.

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