Alex Wagner reflected on the shooting at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, speaking out against the violence and hate that she said the tragedy represented.
A gunman killed seven people and wounded three others at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin in Milwaukee on Sunday. In an unrelated hate crime one day later, a mosque in Joplin, Missouri was razed to the ground.
Wagner reacted to these events somberly when filling in for Lawrence O'Donnell on Monday's "Last Word." "What these statistics and stories show us is a volatile mix of bigotry, fear and hate," she lamented.
She said that the terrorist attacks of 9/11 gave way to a "deep sinking suspicion of the other," and that public leaders' subsequent call for tolerance has been forgotten. She reported some telling numbers: that the Sikh Coalition has received 700 requests for help with discrimination since 2001 and that the number of hate groups has reportedly increased 69% since 2000.
Wagner said that President Obama and Mitt Romney have both responded to the shooting, but recommended a "forceful reminder from our leaders about who we are and what value" as a better course of action.
That reminder, she continued, should be that "the story of America is precisely the story of people of different skin colors living together... and that you can wear a turban or a yarmulke or a skull cap or a hijab and and be protected under our laws and the fact that you are is precisely what makes this America."