Let’s talk a little bit about extremism. A lot of people out there hate a lot of things and people and groups of people for their own very special unique reasons. Sometimes it’s because people are different than you. Sometimes it’s because one feels wronged by another group, perceived or not.
More and more often these days in the United States it seems to be leading to deaths, which are typically termed “isolated incidents.” There were 283 of them 2014. Maybe the term “isolated” isn’t so accurate.
This week, at UNC Chapel Hill, a man shot three Muslim students, reportedly over a dispute about parking. Most are calling this a hate crime. One victim had previously told family that she felt victimized by the shooter before because of the way she looked. At the moment, the police are hesitating before labeling the murders a hate crime.
Another “lone wolf” then, along with the 283 others. When we think of trends of violence, we usually think about radical Islam and organized terrorism. Two hundred and eighty-three mass shootings in the U.S. in 2014, meanwhile, were committed by 283 “lone wolves.” Perhaps it’s time, as a country, to realize that we may have our own radical trends emerging, ones which are much more subtle and difficult to control.
On a more positive note, we have been able to see the other side of the coin, in tolerance and unity on within the Drexel University Community. On the night of Feb. 11, Drexel’s community came out in great numbers and surrounded the symbolic dragon statue for a memorial service. The service included words from Muslim students, leaders as well as some members from throughout the interfaith community at Drexel who came to support them.
While at Drexel many people complain about the lack of campus spirit and general apathy towards politics and religion, it’s reassuring to see so many students from across organizations to support each other in times of tragedy and promote tolerance. Let us remember this the next time we try to take Drexel’s community for granted.