If you can invest an hour in Manteca’s future take a walk this Sunday in Sahib Singh’s shoes.
Singh is the frail 71-year-old grandfather who was brutally attacked earlier this month while taking a daily stroll around Greystone Park.
Family and friends are organizing a peace walk at 6 p.m. Sunday. Those gathered will be asked to walk four laps around the park. The first lap will be dedicated to peace, the second lap to love, the third lap to respect, and the fourth lap to unity.
If Manteca ever wants to update the city motto, you’d be hard pressed to top “Peace, Love, Respect, and Unity” as a standard to live up to and strive to attain.
There are several reasons for the peace walk. First when Singh heals from his injuries they want him not to live in fear of living his life including walking around a neighborhood park. Second they’d like to see the vicious rhetoric — mostly on social media and often not local — not stand unchallenged as to what fate his attackers should receive. And they want people not to divide Manteca by race, creed or color.
Whether the incident raises to the legal definition of a hate crime or simply reaches the threshold of your garden variety hate where other life — regardless of who or what it may be — is without value in one’s eyes so therefore you are justified to savagely attack because you feel like if it in the course of committing a crime, it must not be tolerated.
While it may be hard to have empathy for the 18 year-old suspect especially since he flipped off the world in court, you have an individual who for all practical purposes may have thrown his life away on a stupid, vicious and extremely uncivilized act.
If he is found guilty he must pay the price. In doing so he may end up falling deeper into the abyss. The decision is his and his alone as to whether he continues to feed the hatred and anti-human behavior he so un-eloquently displayed early on the morning of Aug. 6.
He should not be coddled. He should be dealt with. What should not happen is for us to become consumed with hate because of what he is accused of doing. It is up to us not to reflect back the hate and it us up to him to decide where he will go from here whether it is deeper into the darkness or into the light.
That is what the peace walk is about. We need to walk in the light and not cower in the darkness.
What was jarring about the beating wasn’t the fact that it took place. Senseless violence that is even worse happens every day. Nor is it the fact the victim and attackers were complete strangers. It’s the realization this could have happened to your grandfather or a frail 71 year-old neighbor.
Almost all of us looked beyond what makes us different to focus on what makes us alike.
In a way, it is a teachable moment.
We are all first and foremost human beings in the grand scheme of things. At the same time we are members of the community we call Manteca.
Like all communities, there are subgroups. But at the end of the day Manteca is our home.
We can give into the non-stop vile and shrillness that radiates with all too much consistency from places such as social media or we can walk through life looking our neighbors in the face to constantly re-enforce we are the same, just different variations of the same model much like a car. There are different years, capabilities, and mindsets on how to drive the car and where to take it. But at the end of the day they are all built on the same chassis.
Sunday’s peace walk will help remind us of what most of us already know but is lost in the day-to-day hustle and bustle of life when we are not mediating, reflecting or worshiping.
It also offers an opportunity to “do something.”
We all get frustrated with the justice system and how excruciatingly slow it moves as well as the suffering of victims.
The peace walk is a chance to interrupt the daily wailing, hatred, and viciousness to make if clear there’s a lot of goodwill out there. Acts of good will always will be overshadowed by more despicable and tantalizing acts simply because they are despicable and tantalizing.
Sunday is not about the lowest common denominator but about striving to reach the highest common denominator.
Young, old, poor, rich, Black, Hispanic, Sikh, Caucasian, newcomer, native, healthy, frail, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, male, female, or whatever subgroup you can divide people it all melts as one in the bigger boxes people are placed.
We are all Mantecans in this corner of the biggest box people can be placed — the human race.
It is why this Sunday is more than just a walk in the park or to show support of a 71 year-old who was the victims of a senseless act of violence.
It is a walk for our future as a community.
This column is the opinion of executive editor, Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Bulletin or Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA. He can be contacted at email@example.com or 209.249.3519.