On a normal Monday morning commute, I drive by the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek along Howell Avenue on my way to work to Milwaukee's Historic Third Ward.
But today was not a normal Monday morning.
Today is the day after a lone gunman walked into the Sikh Temple and shot and killed six people before a brave Oak Creek police officer returned fire and killed the assailant.
I grew up in Oak Creek. I'm a proud graduate of Oak Creek High School. I still live in Oak Creek. I have watched the city grow from a population of about 18,000 to 35,000 today.
In the past year, no city in southeastern Wisconsin has had a more vibrant "buzz" than Oak Creek. The massive former Delphi factory site is a genuine opportunity to create a landmark redevelopment, to create a new downtown from scratch. The city's lakefront is a jewel waiting to happen. The Drexel Avenue freeway interchange will open up the South 27 th Street corridor,
which includes the sprawling Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co. Inc. campus, to the world.
Caterpillar Inc. moved its global mining division's headquarters to Oak Creek.
But all of that promise, all of that progress, was put on hold Sunday.
I cannot express how surreal Sunday was for the residents of Oak Creek. As we watched the story unfold on CNN, multiple police and news helicopters hovered over our houses. Sirens blared, ambulances rushed and traffic was diverted.
We watched television news as Oak Creek Mayor Steve Scaffidi, Police Chief John Edwards and Fire Chief Tom Rosandich â€“ lifelong friends of mine â€“ tried to make sense of this horrible tragedy in a press conference.
Oak Creek is forever changed.
Our hearts go out to the victims and their families. They had assembled in peace, and they perished in hatred.
In the past, I've watched such tragedies from afar on television, as they took place in towns I have never seen to people I've never known.
Sunday's massacre was different. It was in my back yard.
When the movie theater shooting happened in Aurora, Colo., last month, I wrote the following to my friends of Facebook: "We've all seen this play before, haven't we? Concerned citizens will ask why it should be legal to buy weapons that can fire 50 to 60 rounds per minute. Gun rights supporters will say we can't have any restrictions on weapons because it's a slippery slope, and 'If we outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns.' And in the end, nothing will get done, because the National Rifle Association (NRA) always buys off enough politicians to make sure nothing gets done. And this tragedy will fade from our memories until the next one happens. And then we'll do this play all over again."
Little did I know...
The Second Amendment was written at a time when one man could fire one musket ball at a time. My Second Amendment rights would not be deprived today by sensible restrictions on how many shots can be fired by automatic or semi-automatic weapons â€“ anymore than they would be deprived if I am not allowed to walk around with a nuclear weapon.
Sunday's tragedy indeed may have been unavoidable. But we need not make it easier for the carnage to escalate. And we should not settle for a society in which weapons are more easily attained than mental health care.
No Talkbacks for this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Steve Jagler
Published April 22, 2015
Several jaws dropped and eyebrows rose in January when BizTimes predicted a robust year of national economic growth for 2015. Well, we're at the quarter pole, and so far, so good.
Published April 8, 2015
Under new ownership, the Milwaukee Bucks made significant strides by building a young pool of talent on the court this season. However, the organization also has quickly assembled an impressive pool of young talent off the court in the front office.
Published March 25, 2015
By virtually every measure, Minnesota is taking Wisconsin's lunch money, according to a recent study by the LaCrosse Tribune, which lies right at the border.
Published March 11, 2015
In his Feb. 23 column for the BizTimes, Steve Jagler observed that each time a project is proposed to propel the city forward, someone or something seems to pop up and attempts to stop it. Judging from the feedback Steve Jagler received in response to his piece, many readers feel the same way.
Published Feb. 9, 2015
Since 1851, Wisconsin's state motto has been "Forward." However, these days, a more appropriate motto might be "Just hold on a minute..."
Published Jan. 14, 2015
If it seems like so many public policy decisions are hanging fire in Wisconsin these days, it's only because they are. And so many of these loose ends seem to be intertwined and interdependent.
Published Dec. 23, 2014
As the legal slog to develop a new streetcar system in Downtown Milwaukee continues to play out in court, in City Hall and at the Wisconsin Public Service Commission, proponents and opponents alike would do well to keep an eye on Cincinnati.
Published Dec. 2, 2014
If asked to return for another term as secretary and chief executive officer of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., Reed Hall says he would be honored to serve again.
Published Nov. 14, 2014
In recent years, the Milwaukee Bucks have not had much to celebrate when they've conducted their annual preview luncheon with the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce. This year, however, there was a tangible buzz in the room at the event, which was held at the Harley-Davidson Museum.
Published Nov. 12, 2014
In essence, preserving net neutrality would ensure that all consumers and businesses will have universal levels of access to a fast Internet, not just some preferred customers who would pay for "faster lanes" on the Internet.