Shocked but Not Surprised—Yet Another U.S. Massacre
Prevention Institute extends our deepest sympathy and sorrow to the victims of the shooting at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wis., and to everyone in America who has been traumatized by this harrowing event. In a nation founded on life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, it is an appalling that so many, particularly people of color, are denied that first, fundamental right--to enjoy a full life. As the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF) stated, “This attack was motivated by hate, xenophobia, and racism. It violated the civil rights, safety, and security of innocent and ordinary people and was an attack against all Americans.” Prevention Institute stands united with the Sikh American community and all of us who oppose all forms of hatred, violence and intolerance.
This hate crime has occurred when so many are still reeling from the shooting in Aurora, Colo. Nearly 20 people killed in mass incidents over the span of 16 days, in addition to the less-publicized killings that have occurred—in the United States, there are an average of nearly 300 murders each week. We must consider the toll on our national psyche, the collective trauma that occurs when we witness violence on our streets, in our homes and on the news. While many are shocked and seek answers for how this could have happened, we can no longer ignore how predictable mass murder has become in America. As a society, we have once again stood by and allowed this to happen—but we know how to prevent violence. Just last week, in our Huffington Post written in response to the Aurora shooting, Larry Cohen stated that “violence will not abate on its own. Now is a time for action, as well as mourning. Part of that healing process must be to make our communities safer.” As community members, public health leaders and supporters of health equity, we must develop and implement strategies that will reduce the likelihood of future tragic events from ever occurring. Unless we take action, this latest tragedy will surely not be the last. As a nation, we must not only renounce the deplorable hate crime in Oak Creek, but move toward a society which keeps people safe, in the first place. We must call on our leaders to reevaluate our national priorities and commit to keeping everyone—in all communities—safe from preventable harm.