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Religious bigotry flourishes easily

When a man who is obviously disturbed walks into a Jewish community center or a Baptist church and showers the day care center or sanctuary with bullets, it is easy to view his actions as simply "just another crazy.

Friday, September 17, 1999

When a man who is obviously disturbed walks into a Jewish community center or a Baptist church and showers the day care center or sanctuary with bullets, it is easy to view his actions as simply "just another crazy."

And, some of that analysis is true. Most of these people probably do have some mental illness that makes them indifferent to the irony of what they consider such a "righteous" attack.

But these tragedies require more than just a surface examination. There is no one, easy answer; not if communities want to protect their children and families from such tragedies.

When you dismiss such a heinous action as a fluke – a short-circuit in the mind of one individual – you run the risk of missing the point and not getting the information you need to make sure violence like this does not come into your community.

The world is changing. There is more violence in books, movies, television – even in music lyrics. The innocent world of other decades is gone.

From the moment they enter school, some children hear material that is not appropriate for an adult, let alone an impressionable child or teenager.

They become desensitized.

And there are more troubled families today, too. There are more divorces, more broken homes and more reasons for children to think they have no one to turn to. Their parents aren’t home.

And then there is the problem of drug abuse, physical abuse and sexual abuse – all precursors to destructive behavior.

The Texas tragedy is a reason for the nation to hang its head and shed a tear, but this event and all the others of the past few years should make an impact beyond this week.

They should make us stop, think and remember – and fight even harder to turn a trend that could destroy families and communities.