Editorial Comment

Editorial Board

What tragedy teaches us about society

 

On Saturday, Oct. 27, gunfire shredded through worshippers gathered at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.

The gunman, armed with an assault rifle and three handguns, engaged in a shootout with police until eventually surrendering, but not until after he already killed 11 of the congregants. All of the victims were between the ages 54-97, according to CBS News.

As the nation grieves in the wake of what the Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish non-governmental association, says is the deadliest attack against Jews in US history, we must question two things.

First, how did this happen?

How did a known anti-Semitic, alt-right, frequent social networking poster get access to weapons capable of such mass destruction? How is it possible that the congregants were left so defenseless?

Second, why did this happen?

What constructs and institutions in our society allow for this type of hate to perpetuate? Why weren’t previous warning signs paid attention to? Why haven’t we eradicated this kind of behavior from our nation?

There are no simple solutions to any of these questions; anyone who would attempt to paint a simple solution could not do so without glossing over countless convolutions and adverse consequences.

What we do know is that something must be done. We cannot allow ourselves to become desensitized to senseless violence and prevalent evil.

Though these are times that we feel the most helpless, we cannot loose sight of the fact that there are tangible actions that we as citizens can take to address evil in our society.

At the Falcon, we deeply mourn the loss of innocent lives, as well as the threat to freedom of religion and personal safety. Actions that jeopardize the rights of others to live peacefully have no place in our community.

With hate crimes increasing 12 percent last year, according to a report released in May by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University at San Bernardino, this issue cannot get enough attention.

As students at SPU, there are things we can do to contribute to raising awareness.

From paying attention to the words we use, the content of the media we consume, and the kinds of organizations we give our money and time to, we have direct influence on shaping the kind of society we want to be a part of.

Our actions matter, and they have ripple effects. We have to take advantage of the opportunity the consequences of our actions provide.

There is something in our nation going unnoticed that is allowing these crimes to occur with increasing frequency. Discerning and addressing what this is ought to be an issue at the forefront of all minds. The lives and liberties of others depend on it.