Kansas City area must reflect on the hatred that spawned Sunday’s anti-Semitic killings

04/15/2014 6:44 PM

04/15/2014 6:44 PM

The fatal shootings of three people Sunday in Overland Park by an anti-Semitic gunman should send this community into a deep state of reflection to find the root of the hate that would lead to such killings.

Police will have to determine whether the accused shooter, Frazier Glenn Cross, also known as F. Glenn Miller of Aurora, Mo., was acting on his own or if he had help. Authorities also will have to shake down area and regional hate groups to see whether they were involved or in some way provoked the tragedy.

Their unmolested existence, though carefully monitored, ended when two people were killed at the Jewish Community Center and one at the Jewish assisted living facility. The situation could have been far worse.

The temptation now in this community will be to demonize the suspect as an extremist. But the killings should prompt people to ask how such brewing hatred could have been tolerated, whether there is a core group behind it, or worse, whether such terrible feelings are diffused, though rarely spoken, throughout the population.

Community diversity dialogues in the 1990s used to expose such problems so they could be addressed. Corporate, government and civic budget cuts ended such efforts to root out hatred, pull people out of isolation, help people learn from each other, heal, and then knit this community with common threads of understanding.

The slayings on Sunday should force people together again so that such violence doesn’t recur. After that’s done, maybe then people can work on tougher gun control laws.

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