This past few days marked the second shooting in as many weeks of members of the Sikh community here in the U.S. One incident was in Kansas City, the other in Seattle. Both are being investigated by the FBI as hate crimes.
But why the Sikh community? They have no association with any of our country's known enemies and their religion is separate and apart, a tradition completely their own. Sikhism originated in the Indian subcontinent during the 15th century, making it one of the world's youngest major religions.
So, in bearing no national grievances with the Sikh community, why were the comments, "Get out of our country, go back to your own country" used by the assailants in both incidents? Has the constant focus on Middle Eastern terrorism gotten under some Americans' skin? Has our global war on terrorism created an "us vs them" mentality against anyone who does not appear to be of our culture?
This comes down to one thing, an extreme intolerance of differences.
If our great country is one thing, it's a melting pot. If someone's here in the United States in a legal status, either visiting or as a resident, that means our country has recognized them and welcomed them to partake of our way of life. In all my international travels, I have become very aware that we, as Americans, are known around the world as a welcoming people.
What does all this have to do with safety and security? World history has shown that dangerous ideas can travel across a country faster than any criminal activity can. If we do not continue to embrace others who love this country, yet bring a unique cultural difference, then our forefathers vision of a great land will rapidly decline and crime statistics such as we have recently seen in Kansas City and Seattle will continue to increase.
The majority of our national population are not isolationists. We are active members of our neighborhood, our workplace, our community, our religious centers. We despise those who wish ill upon our nation. We embrace those who come here to be contributing members of our society. If we do not become proactive in our community support of all our neighbors, then intolerance of differences will continue to divide and create a danger within our society.