The Muslim and Jewish communities of greater Toledo recently sponsored a discussion on how fear and hate nurture extremism and violence.

While the event was successful, something was left out. The focus was on victims and not the killers.

Let’s remember:

On Aug. 1, 1966 Charles Whitman, a former Marine, took rifles and other weapons to the observation deck atop the tower at the University of Texas and killed 16 persons.

On April 20, 1999, 18-year-old students Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed 13 people and wounded 24 in Colorado at Columbine High School.

April 16, 2013, Randy Linn, 52, a retired marine and a truck driver, attempted to burn down the Islamic Center of Greater Toledo. For him, Muslims are terrorists.

June 12, 2016, 29-year-old Omar Mateen killed 49 people and wounded 53 more in a mass shooting inside Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando FL.

Oct. 1, 2017, Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock fired more than a thousand shots and killed sixty persons, leaving 851 wounded.

Oct. 27, 2018 at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, 11 worshippers killed; shooter Robert Bowers publicly posted anti-Semitic diatribes and attacked incoming immigrants.

March 16, 2021, Robert Long, a single man with deep religious beliefs and a sexual addiction, attacked three Atlanta spas and killed eight women, six of whom were Asian.

March 22, 2021, Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa killed 10 at a King supermarket in Boulder.

The shooters were all men, easily obtained guns, were often shooter copy-cats, had broken families, little education, and the urge to transfer their failures to outside groups.

“These mass killers had in common a profound alienation from the world that seemed indifferent to their pain and humiliation. For damaged souls in whom empathy has died, inflicting misery can be its own reward.” Wilham Falk (The Week)

Prevention? Gun safety, red flag laws, search for scapegoats, broken homes, toxic males, blaming the other.

Thomas Klein

Bowling Green

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