Is that the sound of the other shoe?

More people are crying today. A madman went into a Sikh temple in Wisconsin and killed six people before being killed by police.

I’m sure more facts will come out later as once again we struggle to understand how someone could even conceive of doing something like this. The fact that this happened in a Sikh temple hints that this may have more horrifying motivation behind it than the seeming randomness of a movie theater filled with unrelated people. And indeed, it turns out that the shooter was affiliated with white supremacist groups, and may even have had a 9/11-related tattoo.

When something horrible like the Aurora shooting happens, there’s a part of us that waits for the other shoe to drop, because violence like this feels like it happens in clusters, one madman signaling another.

There are so many conversations that we seem to avoid having around incidents like this. The racist element here is pretty apparent. Are we going to have a discussion about right-wing hate groups now? Are we allowed to that? Can we finally talk about guns, and the related violence in America, or do we have to wait for another metaphorical shoe, an avalanche of shoes? Will any attempt at addressing the heavily-armed elephant in the room will be bellowed down as politicization?

Ezra Klein, standing in for Rachel Maddow on July 23, made the point that silencing discussion with shaming about “politicization” is already a political act. I tend to agree.

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Eddie Izzard says it very pointedly in one of his comedy routines – “Guns don’t kill people. But I think the gun helps.”

Mass shootings already feel like they’ve become an accepted thing that happens in America. I don’t want them to be. I don’t want to have to worry that some day it’ll be my niece or my best friend or one of my coworkers caught in a shopping center while someone who has legally purchased weapons that are best used to kill large numbers of people stalks the aisles. Maybe I’m in the minority (and that’s a scary thought in itself) but it’s something that should at least be discussed.

My heart goes out to the people who have been so hurt in Wisconsin. I hope that no one else feels their same pain any time soon. But as with Aurora, a fear I hope in vain.

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