We are greatly dismayed to learn from law enforcement officials that the man arrested over the weekend following a shootout with the CHP had targeted the Tides Foundation for violence. To the best of our knowledge, this person has never had contact with any Tides organization or program. As there is an ongoing investigation into this incident, we will not speculate as to what his motivations may have been.
We are relieved that no one other than the assailant was hurt seriously in the incident, and we are relieved that he was prevented from carrying out his misguided plans, whatever they may have been.
On occasion, the shadow of violence falls on American civic life and it should never be accepted or tolerated. Often, it is encouraged by partisan voices who label activities of which they disapprove by suggesting they are "anti-American" or some other epithet.
This incident serves to remind us that it should be the obligation of every American, especially those whose voices are amplified by the media, to foster civil discourse and dialogue among those who may disagree about public matters. One does not win an argument by inciting unbalanced people to violence. As Americans, we know we are best at solving problems when we reach broadly across boundaries for the best of ideas. Intolerance that closes our eyes defeats our aspirations.
The Tides organizations support innovative, creative nonprofit work to address social problems. We work for sustainability, better education, solutions to the AIDS epidemic, comprehensive immigration reform, and human rights. We strive to encourage every American to be as involved in public life as they can be, and to resolve differences through the honest exchange of ideas.