Comments: 'This tragedy has helped me to learn more about the Sikh religion'
People wait for word on family and friends at the Sikh temple. The Oak Creek, Wisconsin, temple, or gurdwara, opened in 2007.
August 6th, 2012
09:16 PM ET

Comments: 'This tragedy has helped me to learn more about the Sikh religion'

Editor's note: We're listening to you. Every day, we spot thought-provoking comments from readers. What follows is a look at some of the most talked-about stories of the day.

There has been tons of conversation surrounding Monday's news, spanning the full range of humanity's capacities. Look below for a glance at these topics:

1. Wisconsin temple shooting
2. Mars rover landing
3. Situation in Syria
4. Culture of gaming
5. Underwater wreckage
6. Olympics update: Michael Phelps
7. Braydon Nichols

1. Wisconsin temple shooting

People have been going back and forth all day about =the shooting Sunday at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, which left seven people dead including the gunman, 40-year-old Wade Michael Page. Details emerged after the shooting, painting Page as the front man of a white-power rock group known as "End Apathy." Thousands of comments poured in, and readers posted dozens of stories on CNN iReport.

Police identify Army veteran as Wisconsin shooting gunman

We were surprised to find that one of our readers wrote a comment saying they knew Page.

Cjrobillard: "Wade Michael Page was one of my closest friends from my time in the Army. We met and served together in the same unit at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. While I don't support what he did, I love him like a brother and I will miss him greatly. I am sorry for the families of the victims and officers."

CNN interviewed the commenter, who in real life is Christopher Robillard of Oregon. He described Page as his "closest friend" in the service more than a decade ago, and added that Page was pushed out of the military for showing up to formation drunk.

Robillard said Page was "a very kind, very smart individual" who loved his friends, but "was involved with white supremacy." He went on to say that Page sometimes talked about "racial holy war," but didn't seem like the kind of person who would actually hurt someone.

"It's the racial holy war talk I always took as something he would vent about, and not act on it," Robillard said. "I never pictured him as someone who would do anything. I thought maybe he was just saying it for attention."

We also received a variety of other comments about the incident. Some readers have called for remembering the victims, and CNN is posting information about them.

People are especially talking about the actions of Satwant Singh Kaleka, 65, the president of the temple. His son Amardeep Kaleka shard his story with CNN Milwaukee affiliate WTMJ on Monday morning; the FBI told him his father attacked the shooter in the lobby, resulting in a "blood struggle." Many readers expressed their condolences.

Solomon Antony: "Thanks for sharing Mr. Satwant Singh's acts of valor and courage to protect the devotees. The precious seconds he fought with the gunman must have saved many lives! He is a hero!"

Earlier in the day, we also heard from members of the Sikh community.

Gagan Singh: "I'm a Sikh and I am very sad this happened. I am not from the U.S., but during my visit I encountered a lot of nice people. All very gracious and polite. Let's not blame the entire nation for one person. Bad apples exist everywhere. My prayers go out to the deceased, and I would like to thank the brave police officer who stopped the shooter. Get well soon!"

Maybe some minds were changed, too.

SconnieRyan: "I live five minutes from a Sikh temple in Madison, Wisconsin. Never really knew what to make of them. For some reason I feel like going over and extending a hand of friendship."

ScholarCat: "This tragedy has helped me to learn more about the Sikh religion. If there is any good to come out of this perhaps it is that now more people will understand the Sikh religion and what they stand for. My sincere condolences to all of the victims of this hateful crime."

That wasn't the only thing going on, and readers were also talking about other issues.

2. Mad for Mars rover

With Curiosity on Mars, many readers are feeling curious about Mars. We're seeing lots of excited comments and stories from readers. You can read more via CNN Light Years' Mars coverage. If you've ever been somewhere that seems like it's out of this world, you might want to contribute to CNN iReport's otherworldly landscapes assignment.

Mars landing went 'flawlessly,' scientists say

CactusThorn: "Incredible that such a complex landing could come off without a glitch. NASA and the U.S. have much to be proud about. What an accomplishment and engineering feat!"

JamieMorton9: "It is too bad that NASA couldn't have timed the arrival to occur after the Olympics were over so they could have the news all to themselves."

stingray68: "While many backward members of our species seem hopelessly mired in hate, murder and gunplay, the scientific personnel at JPL and NASA have shown us tonight where our future lies, if only we are wise enough to follow our Curiosity to the stars."

Is going to Mars financially sound?


baggerboy: "Wish I could send more of my tax dollars to NASA and less to feed our oil wars and street bums."

Several readers said they are eager to go to Mars themselves.

iBod: "I have had to hear continual questions about how much influence our nation continues to have on the world; but when I watch events like this, I just cannot be drawn away from the fact that we still are pushing boundaries and still going beyond the limitations. We are still the Nation doing what no other country is doing. We are the only nation making our mark on Mars. It is so fascinating to watch. It was truly an honor to watch these men and women at work live and experience the emotions - even the tension. I am so proud to be an American. Congratulations NASA; Congratulations JPL; and Good Luck Curiosity in fulfilling your mission! Edit: *P.S.*.......Happy 82nd Birthday Neil Armstrong!"

JackSpears: "Totally agree with you. Feats like this make me wonder how many more there are for us to achieve as humans (not just Americans). It's beyond any man-made boundaries."

iBod: "Jack, I could not agree with you more, myself. LOL! My passion for the cosmos has reached a new high! The moment I hear NASA is considering a manned mission to Mars, I am throwing an application in, haha! It is something I have dreamed about since I was a kid - especially being told my generation was going to be the one to lead the pack. VERY exciting times we are living in."

3. Situation in Syria

A blogger's personal story from Syria seems to be resonating with many readers, who say they find themselves feeling conflicting emotions.

Syrian blogger: 'I live or die here'

db49: "What an amazing article! I truly hope that this young man knows that there are many in this country who share in his pain and suffering, as well as his frustration at not being able to do anything about his situation. There are even some of us who share in his sense of guilt. From those of us who have something better to say than 'Let them kill each other,' please accept our prayers and/or our best wishes that this madness will end soon."

One reader wondered if it was time for the Syrians to step up.

Amegioa71: " 'I'm a big guy, and I like to cook and bake,' and you're watching your country fight a civil war from your living room window. People talk about sending U.S. sons and daughters to fight and there are probably plenty of able-bodied men in Syria just 'watching.' ... Hardly newsworthy and really more than a little shameful."

For some, the story was a reminder that there are bigger issues in life than one's own.

webkrawly: "My family is struggling right now with a pile of personal and financial issues. All four of my children, all eight of my grandchildren. I awoke this morning in a funk because I want to fix this for them. It isn't their fault things have gone the way they have in this country. Then I come here and read this. And it makes me feel small and selfish. My family may be in a hard spot by American standards but it's nothing compared to this young man's life. I pray to all the powers that be, all the gods men worship, that our world can establish peace for these war-torn regions. And to 'Al' I say, you are an example of the strength of spirit we can possess. Your value to the global community is immeasurable. We all should be learning from you. Your willingness to share your story with us is a great gift to mankind. Thank you for your courage and I'm sorry, from the deepest parts of my heart, I am sorry for your losses and the toll this has taken on your family. Blessed be to our friends across the sea."

And what is the meaning of killing?

swaziland: "We see this horror in Syria through the eyes of a victim of mankind's insanity. It does not matter what they call this conflict. It is senseless murder of humans, but it has continued since the beginning of man. I hope his writing this diary helps him deal with the stress, but this murder of humans never ends. Whether it is a massacre in Aurora, Colorado, or a murder on the streets of New York, it remains mankind's answer to solving conflict within themselves or others. I never figured out what the killers thought they were achieving. Dead people feel no pain, they have been freed from suffering. Only the killers are left feeling empty and asking themselves: Why?"

4. Culture of gaming

CNN's John Sutter ventured to South Korea and brought back a story about professional-level gaming and gaming addiction, which generated a huge amount of reaction from readers and on social media. He then compiled some of the posts that were being made. Commenters like Bruce Force, below, followed along with the discussion.

Should pro gamers be considered athletes?

For that matter, how do you define athletics and sports?

Bruce Force: "As I pointed out in the other article: an athlete is a practitioner of track and field sports as well as running. This is the actual textbook definition of the word. The vast majority of Olympians are not athletes. That makes answering your question easier: Is a competitive gamer the same as a sports player? Absolutely, in my opinion. The goal of sports, and it might seem counter-intuitive, is not to develop your physical abilities, but to win against an opponent. The physical development part is incidental. Just like the fast-moving fingers of the gamers, this is not the goal, this is what happens when you get good at it. The objective is the same in both cases: win.

Charlie Ma: " 'Sport' doesn't have a clear definition. Some people consider golf, bowling and NASCAR sports. Other people don't. Competitive video gaming will always be in this gray area, but one can't say a NASCAR driver operating a car is an athlete where a video gamer operating a mouse and keyboard is not. Good points, Bruce."

5. Secrets from the depths

The mystery of a plane that went missing in 1996 has a lot of readers riveted. Some wonder if the wreckage of a plane found off the coast of St. Augustine, Florida, might be Stewart Dunbar's final resting place.

Underwater wreckage could provide answer to missing-plane mystery

This reader was eager to know more about what happened to Dunbar.

ampsanne: "I hope there will be further reporting on this. It would be rather interesting to find out who belonged to those planes. So often they report on things, and then you never hear anything more. Hope that one of them is the Dunbar plane and this will put an end to the searching, and we'll finally know what happened to him."

Several had theories, and condolences, which they shared in the comments area. They frequently noted Dunbar's apparent move to set the plane to autopilot before going down. The comments are addressed to Penny Malphrus, Dunbar's daughter.

nike665: "He may have died before the plane even hit. Possible heart attack, stroke, etc. What he did was heroic, and could have saved some lives. Hopefully they'll find the remains, and his family can have some closure.

plank: "Give the guy and his daughter a break. Out of respect for his memory, let's go with the story that he couldn't control his aircraft, knew it, and set it out where it couldn't do any harm. He was 58 years old and heart conditions are not unknown at that age. If you look at the photos, the props are bent back - if all three props are bent, it is usually a good sign they were still turning when the plane  went in."

One reader said they, too, had lost a family member in a crash.

MadMax: "Sorry for your loss Penny. 🙁 I feel your pain. Horrible that the guy he was supposed to meet never showed up! I hope you get your answer someday. Any bit of closure is a godsend! At least at the time of this tragedy he was doing what he loved! I tell myself the same thing after losing my father and 15-year-old stepbrother in a fatal plane crash back in 8/1/1999. ... God bless and keep looking to the skies and looking for answers."

6. Olympics update

Readers are coming to Michael Phelps' defense after his announcement that he plans to retire, among other Olympics stories of the day. They're also talking about the meaning of the games.

Olympics Day 10: U.S. women rally three times, head to football gold-medal match

Brian Paul: "Mike you have been such a wonderful representative of our country. You make us all very proud and good luck in your future endeavors. Pure class, Mike!"

QthePower: "The most amazing thing from the Olympics so far is that America competes as one America instead of Republicans and Democrats. Unfortunately, I don't imagine this good cooperation will last once the Olympics are over."

7. Braydon Nichols

A letter from 10-year-old Braydon Nichols, posted on CNN iReport, broke the hearts of many readers who couldn't believe what they were seeing in the news: a Chinook helicopter had crashed in Afghanistan, killing 30 soldiers. Many of them were Navy SEALs. The boy said he would never forget his father, Army Chief Warrant Officer Bryan Nichols. One year has passed since the crash, and readers say they still remember.

No one has forgotten your dad, Braydon

Shenandoah: "No Braydon, this whole country has NOT forgotten your dad and all those we have lost. Each of their lives were precious to our nation and we hope that their sacrifice will somehow mean better lives for people in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as better safety for our country. You should always be proud of your dad and think of the kind of man he was and the kind he hoped you'd grow into someday. I hope he can look down from heaven to watch over you and your mom. Stay strong."

mcartagena33: "Dear Braydon: Your father is part of our history, just as my best friend's dad is. My best friend's dad's name was Manuel Collazo and he, too, flew helicopters. While he was piloting his helicopter, in 1972, he was killed. My best friend, at the time, was 9 years old and her brother was 17. Not a day goes by without her remembering him. She is very much like him, physically and emotionally, just as you are to your father. My friend's name is Ginette and she grew up to be a gifted pianist, wonderful educator, a caring chaplain and the most compassionate human being. I just know she grew up to be everything her father wanted her to be and, from heaven, he is the proudest dad. I also know that children who face the hardship you have faced at such a young age end up being the kindest, most considerate human beings, because they understand how it feels to hurt, and they help people out when they are hurting. That is what my friend did for me. Your dad has not been forgotten, her dad has not been forgotten and you won't be forgotten. You have made the whole wide world sure of that. My prayers are with you and your family."

What do you think about the day's many news stories? Share your opinion in the comments area below and in the latest stories on Or sound off on video via CNN iReport.

Compiled by the moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

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Filed under: Comments • Crime • Religion • U.S. • Wisconsin
soundoff (38 Responses)
  1. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "Right Wing Insanity"

    Listen to me. I'm into Messianic Judaism. A blue collar Republican. I'm also an inactive auxilliary with 5 years with the Milwaukee Police Departrment.
    These people on here are my friends. They do not want to be told what is right, nor do they want to be told what is wrong. You come in here like a pope demanding respect. Let somebody else take the floor.
    All the years I lived up there, I never heard of Sikh, in Oak Creek, where I used to have a job. I cannot learn from this tradgedy from your religeous mockeries.
    So Yahda feel free to leave.

    August 7, 2012 at 12:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Hope

      Jeff... spoken like the true hero you, really, are.

      Sorry 'bout the Bush comment. Politics, who
      cares, we're people first.


      August 7, 2012 at 12:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Mr Dalloway

      I don't know what you just said, but please keep love, joy, peace and understanding close to your heart. I promise you that you will always be loved.

      August 7, 2012 at 12:57 am | Report abuse |
  2. Hope

    Mr. Dalloway:

    I think we were high-jacked by 16 years of
    Bushes and our morale is in the toilet.

    Last Days, critical and hard to deal with...


    August 7, 2012 at 12:26 am | Report abuse |
    • Mr Dalloway

      Yes but at the moment of awareness let's work more to turn away from anger and try to understand ourselves and each other. What good is a life if we don't learn through love?

      August 7, 2012 at 12:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Mr Dalloway

      Truth be told we (Americans) really really really do not hate each other because when tragedy happens we cry.

      August 7, 2012 at 1:29 am | Report abuse |
  3. Mr Dalloway

    Why why does it have to take a tragedy for us to take a step back and realize once again that we, deep down in our hearts truly are concerned and care for each other? What's happening to our home?

    August 7, 2012 at 12:29 am | Report abuse |
  4. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "Right Wing Insanity"

    ‘This tragedy has helped me to learn more about the Sikh religion’, and some of the Sick that follow. Good Night.

    August 7, 2012 at 12:34 am | Report abuse |
  5. Mr Dalloway

    I was born and have lived in America all my life. I hear of stories like this and wonder almost in a childlike manner, why is this happening to us?

    August 7, 2012 at 12:47 am | Report abuse |
  6. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "Right Wing Insanity"

    It's OK. I'm not too popular on CNN. Don't let it bother you. I'm associated with gun mongers, liars, nutcases, thieves, yada yada yada. I just got home from work, ready to get my dose of Taco Bell and NYPD Blue. Good Night Hope, Mr Dalloway, S Kel, banasy, and others. Later! 😉

    August 7, 2012 at 12:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Mr Dalloway

      Hey buddy you're always popular with us even though maybe we might not write you back. We still love you you big lug, and stop eating at taco bell that stuff will kill you quicker than cyanide. Night dude.

      August 7, 2012 at 1:07 am | Report abuse |
    • s kel

      Enjoy Frank, hope you got a good nights sleep!

      August 7, 2012 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
  7. Mr Dalloway

    Why is our (America's) home burning down?

    August 7, 2012 at 12:50 am | Report abuse |
  8. Hope

    Cause our people are scarred by seeing
    violence, being at war and generalizing
    every person of Middle Eastern descent
    as terrorists.

    I, rather, like their beliefs and can relate.
    Some people don't take the time to know
    someone who's different... much less learn
    anything, they judge based on their intuition.
    ...and it's usually wrong.

    This is especially true for one who is, just,
    looking to kill People. They don't need a
    reason to hate... simply, a trigger.

    Rest in Peace,

    August 7, 2012 at 1:14 am | Report abuse |
  9. Mr Dalloway

    I am man, and full of all the proclivities there of, but I stop at bodily harm and murder because I learned from an early age that it's not so much about right or wrong but more about a difference of opinion. When people learn that we are but ONE and interconnected, we'll understand our live much better. I do know love and yes I love you, do good my friend.

    August 7, 2012 at 1:21 am | Report abuse |
  10. Mr Dalloway

    Just start with/in love and you'll never go wrong.

    August 7, 2012 at 1:42 am | Report abuse |
  11. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "Right Wing Insanity"

    @s kel
    Your a pretty sharp dude s kel. Feel like someone hit me in the head with a baseball bat. Time for coffee and errands. Later.

    August 7, 2012 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
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