Bigotrys essential ingredient
Bigotry requires chronic stupidity. Only the perpetually oblivious can sustain the preposterous notion that certain ethnic or religious groups hold monopolies on good — or bad.
But assorted experts say Sunday’s bigotry-based shooting spree in suburban Milwaukee didn’t just manifest the evil idiocy of targeting a specific religious sect for mass murder.
They strongly suspect that this horrendous crime also stemmed from the killer’s ignorance in misidentifying the place of worship that he chose to attack.
Wade Page, a 40-year-old white supremacist Army veteran who played guitar in a skinhead rock band, might well have believed he was gunning for Muslims when he entered that Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, Wis., with murderous intent.
According to the authorities, Page killed six Sikhs and wounded three more before wounding a policeman while trying to leave. The FBI announced Wednesday that Page shot himself to death after being wounded by that officer.
How could Page have gone awry in his vile and deadly aim?
Most male Sikhs wear turbans. Some male Muslims wear turbans. For some folks blinded by hate, that’s evidently close enough.
Asked on Wednesday if Page thought he was shooting Muslims, FBI special agent in charge Steven Conley replied: “Historically, there has been confusion between Sikhs and Muslims.”
Yet there should be no confusion about the most powerful —and poisonous — fuel that drives religious and racial intolerance: