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Published: Tuesday, 8/7/2012

Now, Wisconsin


Another day in America. Another needless multideath tragedy that involved firearms.

This time, the shooter was a 40-year-old Army veteran known as a white supremacist. His victims were six people who were shot to death at Sunday services at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wis. Three others, including a police officer, were critically wounded.

Some questions remain to be answered about Wade Michael Page, who was shot dead by a second officer. What was his motivation -- beyond a chronic prejudice against people who did not conform to his notions of what Americans should look like?

Did he confuse Sikhs with Muslims? Since 9/11, the Sikh Coalition in Washington has reported 700 incidents in the United States, which advocates attribute to anti-Islamic feelings.

Although Sikh men wear beards and turbans, they are not Muslims and belong to a very different faith tradition. But bigots who commit hate crimes do not bother with details.

The question for the nation, once again: How do people who are walking time bombs get the firearms and ammunition they need to attack innocents?

As with the recent fatal shootings in Aurora, Colo., Americans are left to ponder the consequences of a fatal equation: Hatred and craziness plus guns equal inevitable tragedy.

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