[Content Note: Eliminationist violence; racism.]
My friend Miller is in Oak Creek, Wisconsin this weekend, and heard a bunch of sirens awhile ago: A few blocks away, there has reportedly been a mass shooting at a Sikh temple.
Originally, this item was the only news I could find about it, and was reporting that 8 to 20 people had been shot. That number has since been revised to as many as 30 people, possibly including a police officer.
News is very sketchy at the moment, and I am desperately hoping it's not as bad as feared. There are no reports yet on fatalities, nor whether the shooter has been found.
According to this preliminary ABC News report, "a witness to the shooting told law enforcement the shooter was a white male, bald, with a heavy build."
Miller reports there may be a hostage situation, but she says they're getting lots of mixed reports in the area, too.
I am really sad, and I am really angry.
I'll update as soon as more information becomes available.
UPDATE 1: CNN reports "multiple bodies in the parking lot" visible from an aerial view. Again, I want to stress that there are no news of fatalities, so it may just be people who have been uncritically injured or are in shock. I'm hoping that is the case, and fearing that it is not.
UPDATE 2: CNN: "Two men have been admitted to Froedtert hospital, a hospital spokeswoman said. One is in critical condition in the surgical intensive care unit; the other has been sent to an operating room."
UPDATE 3: JSOnline confirms at least four people have been shot, including the president of the temple, Satwant Kaleka, who was taken to a hospital.
UPDATE 4: One of the witnesses being interviewed by WISN says the gunman tried to blow up the temple's kitchen. We Energies has shut off gas service to the building. There are still people inside the temple, including at least a dozen children. It is unclear whether they are being held hostage, or simply hiding because they aren't sure whether the gunman is still in the building.
UPDATE 5: WISN's live coverage can be viewed here.
UPDATE 6: There are several reports now that there may have been multiple shooters. Hostages are still being held inside the temple, by at least one shooter.
UPDATE 7: A temple member being interviewed by WISN says there were as many as four shooters carrying out a coordinated attack. Fire crew is on-scene as a fire is reported in the temple kitchen.
UPDATE 8: WISN: A police officer was shot multiple times, but is expected to survive. The shooter is "down," according to police, but it has not been confirmed whether that means the shooter is dead or just immobilized.
UPDATE 9: Froedtert Hospital has admitted at least three seriously injured shooting victims.
UPDATE 10: This temple has been victimized by crime previously, including recently. The temple president's son is talking about, with unbelievable amounts of poise and measure, how many Sikhs were targeted after 9/11, because they wear turbans and are thought to resemble people from Afghanistan. Sikhs were attacked in my community after 9/11, their businesses vandalized and, in one case, fire-bombed. Already, bigoted assholes on Twitter are conflating Sikhs and Muslims all over the place (as if Muslims deserve to be victimized by hate crimes, which is a whole other fucking terrible garbage nightmare). So fucking gross.
Meanwhile, Angus Johnston tweeted that on Fox News, an anchor just asked a local alderman: "To your knowledge there's been no unrest, ethnic or otherwise, that would relate to this Sikh temple?" Let the conservative victim-blaming begin.
UPDATE 11: The police briefing confirms that seven people are dead, including the gunman, now believed by police to have acted alone. Three people were killed inside the temple, and three people were killed outside the temple, plus the shooter. The spokesperson stresses this information may change, but that is the best information available right now. Sob.
UPDATE 12: NBC anchor Brian Williams: "The police in Oak Creek are treating this as an incident of domestic terrorism." As well they should.
UPDATE 13: Mitt Romney calls the shooting a "senseless act of violence," which, as I've previously noted, elides the fact that, in a frame of racist eliminationism, a crime like this absolutely "makes sense."
Unequivocally, the sensibilities by which such a crime not only "makes sense" but is considered eminently reasonable, or even heroic, is racist, violent, eliminationist, and vile. But we can't pretend that particular brand of sense-making doesn't exist.
The only people helped by calling this terrorism "senseless" are the ones who have a vested interest in pretending that crimes of the sort that this one is presumed to be have nothing to do with white privilege and Christian supremacy.