Thursday, June 18, 2015

Another day, another mass shooting.

I posted most of this to Facebook, but I wanted to write about it here, too -- partly to make it a little more permanent than a status update, and partly because I keep going back and adding more and I keep thinking about the horrific mass shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina that occurred last night. Nine more people lost to gun violence. Nine more black lives snuffed out by an avowed racist who said, in plain language, that he was there to kill black people. Hell, he left one woman alive specifically so that she could tell people what he said before he opened fire. 

And yet we have people like the talking heads on Fox News trying to spin this as an attack on Christianity. We have people claiming that "we don't know what Dylann Roof's motivation was!" Yes, we do. He said it himself. "I have to do it. You're raping our women and you're taking over our country and you have to go." (And then shot six women and three men to death. So much for that argument.) He wore racist patches on his jacket. He talked to his roommate about how much he hated black people, and how he wanted to kill them. His motive was hatred and racism. Period.
This mass shooting, this terrorist attack, was not part of Fox News' make-believe "war on Christianity." It was an attack on black people at a prayer service in a historic black church, by an avowed racist. Why is that so difficult comprehend? Why do they, and their ilk, have to try SO HARD to make it about something else?

Is it, perhaps, because people like the Faux News talking heads. and everyone else who is lamenting that "Oh, we don't know the shooter's motivation" and "It's an attack on Christianity" are desperately trying to find a reason to condemn what he did, because the fact that he was a racist isn't bad enough? Is it because you can't bring yourself to care about more black lives snuffed out? You can only muster up outrage if the people murdered are like you? If the mass shooting happened anywhere other than inside a church, would you even be talking about it? Or would you ignore it completely, since the shooter isn't black? (If he was, of course, Faux News would ignore it until it was convenient to trot it out as an example of how police violence is justified because of "black-on-black crime.") It has to fit the narrative, and heaven knows the tragic loss of nine people who happened to be black doesn't fit that narrative.

Black lives don't matter to people like this. They don't give a shit unless they can spin it to be about what they deem worthy enough. It's sad and sick. And if you find yourself agreeing with the arguments that this wasn't about race, it was about attacking Christians -- if you find yourself agreeing, stop and think about why. Really think about it. Think about why the loss of more black people isn't sufficient to provoke outrage and sorrow. Think about why that isn't horrific enough all by itself. And really think about why you feel the need to push the racial motivation for this killing away, why you feel compelled to deny it or gloss over it. Racism comes in many forms, and most of them aren't as blatant as wearing a white hood and burning crosses. It's as subtle as denying the fact that these victims were targeted for the color of their skin, period.

And if you still aren't convinced that racism is a problem, that it permeates this entire country, chew on this: the day after these nine black people were gunned down during a prayer meeting in their church, the Confederate flag is still flying high at the South Carolina state house. It's not even at half-staff, not that that would make it better, but still. It's there, a very visible sign of deeply-ingrained racism that cannot be denied, no matter how people try. 

Cynthia Hurd.
Susie Jackson.
Ethel Lance.
DePayne Middleton-Doctor.
Clementa Pinckney.
Tywanza Sanders.
Daniel Simmons Sr.
Sharonda Singleton.
Myra Thompson.

May they rest in God's peace, and rise in His power. And may we learn from this, please God, so that we can try to keep it from happening again.

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