‘The tentacles of baseless hate continue to entwine’

Tom Lynn AP A child is held Aug.7, 2012 in Oak Creek, Wis., at a candlelight vigil for the victims … Continued

Tom Lynn


A child is held Aug.7, 2012 in Oak Creek, Wis., at a candlelight vigil for the victims of a mass shooting at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin on Sunday. The vigil was held during the national night out event at the Oak Creek Civic Center.

A shooting Sunday at a Sikh gurdwara in Wisconsin leaves seven people dead including the gunman. As investigators try to determine shooter Wade Michael Page’s motive, Sikhs and supporters grieve. Police say the shooter killed four people inside the temple near Milwaukee and two more outside, before exchanging gunfire with an officer. Authorities said the military veteran, who lived nearby, was identified as someone who harbored extreme racial views.

Rabbi David Wolpe of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles penned the following poem about the tragedy.

View Photo Gallery: First off, Sikhs are not Muslims. This monotheistic religion, founded in 15th-centory Punjab (now North India and Pakistan), preaches equality of all mankind and peace. The faith, the world’s fifth-largest organized religion, does not have clergy. Spiritual guides are known as gurus. There are more than 25 million Sikhs worldwide, including roughly 700,000 in the United States, according to the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund.

Writes Wolpe:

Why do you suppose a man
Would kill some Sikhs at prayer?
Could he have suspected that
Just Muslims worshiped there?

Imagine how he’d be distressed
To know his aim was true
Yet nonetheless failed to hit
One Muslim, black or Jew.

The tentacles of baseless hate
Continue to entwine
And will not cease until their prey
Are not “them” or “theirs” but “mine.”

View Photo Gallery: After a shooting at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin leaves six dead, a community mourns and the nation learns more about the gunman’s ties to the white supremacy movement.

Rabbi of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles, David Wolpe is the author of seven books including “Making Loss Matter: Creating Meaning in Difficult Times” and his latest, “Why Faith Matters.” Follow him on Facebook.

David Wolpe
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