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America must heal from within

For a second time in as many weeks, America has seen an horrific shooting of innocent people.

Somehow, there has to be a way to head these incidents off.

Just two weeks after an armored, masked gunman threw tear gas into an Aurora, Colo., theater and opened fire with assault-style weapons, killing 12 and maiming moviegoers who were there to see a midnight showing of the new Batman film, another murderer opened fire Sunday morning and killed a half-dozen people as they tried to worship.

In this case, the murderer, Wade Michael Page, died with his victims, and his history shows his motivation — hatred for anyone who wasn’t like him.

Authorities say that Page, a white supremacist, walked into the Sikh temple in suburban Wisconsin Sunday morning and, without uttering a word, opened fire on worshippers, killing six people and critically wounding three others, including the first policeman who responded.

Fortunately, the second police officer who arrived brought Page’s killing spree to an end when he fatally shot the murderer.

From the information that has come out, it appears Page was a malcontent who was discharged from the Army in 1998 after he was earlier demoted for being drunk while on duty and going AWOL. After that, he became involved in white supremacist music, which preached vile hate and fed the darkness that Page embraced. The Southern Poverty Law Center described him as a “frustrated neo-Nazi.”

The sad fact is, when someone like Page or the Colorado killer sets out to kill and injure innocent people, there is little that can be done to stop them. While Page had a less-than-sterling history, including a DUI and criminal mischief, it didn’t set off bells and whistles warning that he would take such an evil turn. At some point, however, the hate-filled lyrics created by his white supremacist bands became evil inspiration that he acted upon.

You have to wonder how any one individual can have so much anger inside that it spills over into such violence.

In the end, Page received the justice he deserved. He committed heinous crimes and forfeited his right to life.

Meanwhile, a community is having to do what it can to make sense of and to recover from a violent, deadly event that was completely senseless. People who found hope and refuge in their house of worship have to try to reclaim a peace that was shattered in a hail of gunfire.

And we, as Americans, have to reclaim our heritage — the heritage that allowed America to become the shining light of democracy in the world, the one that promises the freedom to speak your mind, the right to worship freely and without fear, the right to pursue happiness.

We cannot allow those who give in to their evil, selfish nature to steal these precious promises from us.

Our nation needs healing, and that healing, if it is to take place, must come from within.