On Sunday morning, August 5, a lone gunman attacked people at the Sikh Temple of Oak Creek, Wisconsin. Two children ran inside to warn others of the attack as it began. Abhay Singh and his sister Amanat then hid with others in a pantry.
Satwant Kaleka, the temple president, attempted to stop the shooter and was shot twice. He died of his wounds. One of the first responders¸ Oak Creek Police Lt. Brian Murphy, a 21-year veteran, was shot nine times at close range as he attended to the first wounded person he found in the parking lot outside the Temple.
Perhaps we were not ready to receive the news of another horrible event so soon after the shootings in a movie theater in Colorado.
Naunihal Singh, assistant professor of political science at the University of Notre Dame, points out (in a New Yorker online essay) the differences in our response to these two events. After one, the entire nations stopped. The response to the second was muted. But this was not a Sikh tragedy, it was an American tragedy. This was a house of worship and, again as in Colorado, there were heroes we should know.
Abhay, Amanat, Satwant Kaleka, and Lt. Brian Murphy are heroes who acted in the face of hate. There are also 2,500 people from around the community of Oak Creek who showed up for the funeral of those who were killed. 2,500 people, most of whom did not know anyone involved, who took to time to say, “This matters.” And it does.
Grace and Peace.