Race-Motivated Violence

The dialogue resulting from the Stockton schoolyard massacre raises two basic questions that defy any definitive answers ("Bitter Lesson From Stockton Schoolyard," by Stewart Kwoh, Op-Ed Page, Feb. 2).

At center stage are the politicians from every corner of the state, county and city levels. With new-found courage, they're taking on the National Rifle Assn., and the quicksands of the constitutional right to bear arms issue. The typical after-the-fact thesis is that by henceforth banning AK-47 and other assault rifles, future repetitions of this type of senseless killings will be avoided. But here, the assassin had to have been insane; so, do we enact a law that will require the buyers to see a "shrink" before delivery of any firearms?

The second thesis propounded by Kwoh, et al, looks at the darker side of our society and its citizenry: Racial hatred is the underlying cause and the remedy is to ". . . Create an atmosphere in which (hate) is unacceptable"; then, Asian children need not die again under such similar circumstances. Sorry, but that's getting close to the task of theologians for banning sin.

Without intending a pun, both issues are neither black nor white.

Racial hatred, bigotry, prejudice, and all their cousins are explainable under one umbrella: We're most comfortable with people and things that look and think like ourselves; conversely, we fear, resent and/or hate people and things that look and think otherwise.

Then, if hate is the enemy, its correlative is love. But it's a truism that love thy neighbor cannot be legislated, and if so attempted, its administration can only create stop-gap illusions of ultimate achievements, when in fact the struggles of the oppressed show little or no progress. Love, justice, equality and all those worthy ideals must emanate from the hearts and minds of our fellow Americans.

If history is to give us any insight, the first wave of immigrant groups coming to our shores, from the Irish, Italian, and Jewish to the Polish, have all been hate objects or scapegoats of the then-predominant population groups.

Yet, all of these former "minority" groups have joined the mainstream of America, and the process or method was by way of "assimilation."

There are no ultimate answers submitted to any of the issues raised. Perhaps, for those of us who have left those ethnic enclaves for the suburbs of America, we can take a smug approach and hope the problems will solve themselves--in about a generation of assimilation.

In the interim and back in the trenches, the social gaps need to be filled in by innovative politicians and sociologists. And, the "glue" that, perhaps, will hold this whole society together, might be trust--placing our trust in our fellow Americans of social conscience.


Westlake Village

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World