Tonight, my day comes to a close thinking about children – the Sikh children of Wisconsin.
One of my interviews today was completed via e-mail with the editor of a blog for South Asian mothers, in which I discussed some resources and support strategies using social media to guide children through the tragedy of Sunday’s Wisconsin Gurdwara shooting. The aspect of the children remained in my mind for the rest of the day.
I thought about a middle-aged Sikh man who was a witness to the attack and who was interviewed on television yesterday. He described the attack in detail, weeping when he talked about the cries of two children – loud cries that he said could never forget. The children had just witnessed their father getting shot in the head.
I thought about the story of two children who happened to be playing outside of the Gurdwara when the attacker began his rampage. They were the first witnesses, and became heroes. The children saw the mass murderer shooting at members of the congregation multiple times, and ran inside to warn the congregation.
I thought about other children who suffered through this ordeal, and about what would be in their future. What will they now associate with their place of worship? Will it be the place that, as a child, I too would meet with my other Sikh friends once a week, and enthusiastically take part in seva, service to the congregation? Or, has this been taken away from those children? Will a Gurdwara now always remind them of death and bloodshed?
The one place where a Sikh in this world will always feel at home, and find their connection to the Divine, this sense of belonging – this sacred sanctuary – has been stripped away from the young, surviving victims.
I hope and pray for these children, and all Sikh children dealing with this attack. Today, and in the future, may they receive the solace and support to help them through this horrible nightmare.