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Opinion

The violent hatred must end

There are ways we can prevent more violence.

Mourners Heather Foy and her son Marshall, who

Mourners Heather Foy and her son Marshall, who live in the neighborhood, place a sign at a make-shift memorial across the street from the Chabad of Poway Synagogue on April 28, 2019 in Poway, California. Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images/SANDY HUFFAKER

The tragic shooting at the Chabad of Poway Synagogue near San Diego is another agonizing moment that shakes our faith in humanity.

That a person could walk into a synagogue on Shabbat, on the final day of Passover, and randomly shoot worshippers is disturbing, and only six months after the shooting at the Tree of Life in Pittsburgh, where 11 died. In Saturday’s shooting, a woman was killed, three people were injured and a community was shaken to its core.

What can we do? How do we prepare for more violence driven by hate? How do we honor the life of Lori Kaye, who died in the shooting on Saturday despite heroic efforts of her husband to save her. Kaye, 60, had simply gone to pray and mourn the loss of her own mother.

Here are some ways we can prevent more violence:

1. Acknowledge the cancer of hate. The number of hate crimes reported to the FBI rose 17 percent in 2017, according to the FBI. Although the figures say 7,175 hate crimes were carried out in 2017 — rooted in factors related to race, ethnicity, religion and sexual orientation — bias attacks are often underreported.

2. Strengthen the federal, state and local partnerships that investigate homegrown terrorism and violent extremism. President Donald Trump recently closed the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis that monitored domestic terrorism. That was a mistake.

3. Support leaders who have the experience and commitment to stop hate crimes. Fortunately, former heads of DHS Michael Chertoff and Jeh Johnson have become co-chairs of the Community Safety and Security Task Force. The group will work to enhance the security and resiliency of religious communities.

4. Pass responsible gun-safety laws. This is not about the Second Amendment. This is about ensuring that a lone gunman cannot carry an assault weapon into a house of worship.

We cannot stop every bias or terrorist attack. But we can band together to fight intolerance. Holocaust Remembrance Week in America runs through May 5. It is a time to pause and consider what we are doing to each other.

We must. Life is too precious to waste.

Tara D. Sonenshine is a former U.S. undersecretary of state for public diplomacy. She advises students at The George Washington University Elliott School of International Affairs.

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