Sunday, June 21, 2015

1219: Charleston

We need to do better. It doesn't matter if this is a conservative issue, liberal issues, Republican issue, Democratic issue, race issue, police issue, mental health issue, what matters is that it is an issue. We cannot use the argument we always use. If bad people want a gun, they can get a gun but what we can do is make sure that bad people who don't have guns don't get them. But that's not going to happen. On December 14, 2012, we agreed that gun violence is okay no matter who it happens to.

Charleston is just the most recent shooting, as of this writing. Dylann Roof, who often claimed that blacks were "taking over", supported racial segregation and supported pre-Apartheid South Africa and the government of Rhodesia, went into the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, to attend a Bible study. He sat for nearly an hour participating in the study before pulling out a gun and saying "I have to do this". Roof killed nine people and was brought in, unlike several non-murdering black people lately, alive.

Roof chose the Emanuel A.M.E. Church due to its role in African-American history. The church was founded in 1816 by former members of other churches when the discrimination became too much. Having an all-black church was, for all intents and purposes at the time, illegal and the church was raided several times. In 1822, co-founder Denmark Vesey was implicated in a slave revolt plot and was executed, the church being burned down. In 1834, all-black churches were officially outlawed so the congregants met in secret. The church was also the center of the civil rights movements of the 1960s. If you can't see that this was a racially motivated shooting, then why did the shooter admit that he wanted to start a civil war, that he wanted to start a race war? Everything he has said and worn comes straight from white supremacist websites.

I understand why we aren't talking about the racism that persists in our country. It's hard to talk about because then our prejudices come to the surface and we'd have to confront those. Why we are fine with people--human beings--being routinely killed by police or gunned down because we view them as a threat is beyond me. Racism is not behind us. No amount of African American Presidents is going to end racism. Racism will end when society acknowledges the issues and works to end it. We can't just say that all people are equal and have it be so. A few years of progress cannot erase centuries of inhumane treatment.

This should be something we can work together to fix but people need to want to fix it and unfortunately, it just seems like there aren't enough of those people around. Let's put an end to this. No more innocent victims. No more grieving families. Let's do better.