Finding common ground a start to ending violence

The week of Oct. 22 wasn’t America’s finest. The shootings of two black people at a Kentucky grocery store, the bombs sent to outspoken critics of President Donald Trump and the fatal shooting of 11 people at a Pittsburgh synagogue are seared into many people’s minds.

That was apparent at a Monday candlelight vigil at Temple Beth Shalom in Marquette, where 11 candles were lit and placed alongside a list of the names of the synagogue shooting victims.

It’s been reported that the suspect who stormed the Tree of Life Synagogue on Saturday and opening fire, Robert Bowers, had a history of making anti-Semitic and anti-immigrant remarks on social media.

We might never know for sure what exactly lies in the thoughts of people who commit such deeds, but what we do know is that those acts have devastating effects on the loved ones of the victims, and even on people who don’t know them.

After all, if a shooting can happen in one synagogue, why not another?

Political polarization of all types seems to be a big part of the American landscape nowadays, and finding common ground despite people’s differences can seem to be an impossible task.

It shouldn’t be an insurmountable issue.

Those differences also aren’t an excuse for violence, although it might be the answer for many perpetrators of the horrific crimes that have plagued the country in recent years.

The violence that seemingly filled whatever hate-filled needs they had, though, needs to stop. Now and forever.

Perhaps tempering the country’s political tone is a start. Many issues aren’t just “this way” or “that way,” and fearing or misunderstanding the beliefs of the other side won’t help civil discourse.

It’s been said many times over the years: If a person doesn’t like certain people’s political views, religious affiliations or other aspects of their ways of life, let that personal unacceptance end without resorting to violence.

A picket sign is much preferred over a bullet.

Unfortunately, hate crimes probably will continue and it’s unclear how to stop them.

What people can do is to continue to live their lives as normally as possible. In the case of the Jewish community, it should worship as it always has and not let fear win.

That holds true, in fact, for any group that’s a target of a hate crime. You even could say that not a single person on the planet is exempt from such a crime since that person could be considered offensive at some point to somebody else.

People, too, can step up and defend people on the receiving end of a vitriolic diatribe. That vitriol can lead to an act of violence.

In the meantime, events such as the Temple Beth Shalom candlelight vigil are a meaningful way to bring attention to hate crimes and the need to peacefully co-exist in an increasingly unpeaceful world.

— The Daily News (Iron Mountain)