x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

United by diversity

Despite headlines about crazed shooters, the US is in fact one of the most open and tolerant societies on earth.

In the aftermath of Sunday's shooting rampage at a Sikh temple in suburban Milwaukee, at least six people and a gunman are dead, and the painfully familiar question resumes: how could such a tragedy happen?

Understandably, the issue of gun control in the US will come to the fore, especially as this incident followed a shooting that claimed 12 lives at a movie theatre in Colorado last month. Less welcome is the eagerness with which many used the latest tragedy to portray America a society ravaged by prejudice. To be sure, there are elements in the US, like Sunday's shooter Wade Michael Page, who clearly display racist tendencies and have links to extreme right-wing groups. But these, despite the media frenzy, remain miniscule minorities.

The US, like so much of the world today, is a melting pot of ethnicity, culture, religion and belief. Page is an anomaly. Hoping to inspire others he succeed in only ensuring the revulsion of us all.

Unspeakable tragedies of hate are, fortunately, less prevalent than in previous ages. Despite what sometimes seems like an endless procession of conflict, the very fact that meaningless sprees of violence make headlines demonstrates the world's collective horror. This is of little consolation to families of the victims. But to use tragedies as a measure of hate loses sight of just how tolerant our global community has become.