The unspeakable tragedy in Chapel Hill this week appears to be causing some important community soul searching about hate crimes and whether the victims were targeted because of their faith. Let’s hope and pray that, in the end, this leads to productive dialogue that further breaks down the walls between people of different religions, races and ethnic backgrounds.
And here’s another thing to hope and pray arises in the aftermath: More thoughtful discussion and dialogue about how our society can take steps to keep troubled souls like Craig Stephen Hicks from accessing and using killing machines.
Surely there’s more that can be done to prevent such future tragedies than simply shaking our heads and arguing that the victims should have been packing weapons for self defense. (Indeed, just imagine the commotion it would cause in many communities if a woman in traditional Muslim attire were seen walking down the street openly carrying a firearm.)
As an editorial in Raleigh’s News & Observer noted this morning:
“As always with such a crime, police and other investigators have to look at firearms involved and whether their ownership was legal. But legal or not, there can be little doubt that the presence of a gun before or during an argument increases the likelihood that tragedy will occur.”
If nothing else, lets hope that this latest college town tragedy spurs a new group of American young people to commit themselves to building a society in which guns and other killing machines become as socially ostracized (and thereby increasingly obsolete) as two other formerly-prevalent tools of death: cigarette smoking and drunk driving.