Monday, June 22, 2015


This nation just witnessed nine people in a storied black church in Charleston, South Carolina shot to death by a young white bigot who wanted to start a race war and had easy access to a gun.  And the actual response of the National Rifle Association and even a rap star was that it could have been prevented if the parishioners had only had guns of their own?
The sick love of firearms in These States and intense and inexplicable hatred for people of the basis of the race have conspired to create in America a culture that values violence and death.  How do we let mass murders happen repeatedly in this country?  How indeed can we talk about national security from threats abroad when we can't even protect our citizens at home? 
Or what about our inability to understand that centuries of hatred for an entire race have led white people like the Charleston gunman to kill black people - even black people who welcomed this young white man into their church and accepted him as a brother?  We simply call him a nut without addressing the problem of racism in this country.  Or when David Brooks, even as he acknowledges a race problem, also says that we also have an "angry solitary young man problem" and that we should ponder the idea that we  have "angry solitary young men looking for hateful and vicious ideologies. . ..  I'm a little wary of the too pat causations that are linked between our general race problem and this specific, completely bizarre, and completely evil incident."
This statement is so preposterous that I need not comment any further, except to say that Brooks doesn't appreciate how deep and pervasive racism in this country is.  I cite what Jon Stewart recently siad, to some considerable attnetion:
"In South Carolina, the roads that black people drive on are named for Confederate generals who fought to keep black people from being able to drive freely on that road. That's insanity. That's racial wallpaper. That's — that's — you can't allow that, you know.  Nine people were shot in a black church by a white guy who hated them, who wanted to start some kind of civil war. The Confederate flag flies over South Carolina, and the roads are named for Confederate generals, and the white guy's the one who feels like his country is being taken away from him. We're bringing it on ourselves."
I'm not confident that we'll finally get meaningful gun control in this country.  Congress has been paid not to pass it.  Nor am I confident that we're going to have a serious conversation about race when we can't even have a serious conversation about infrastructure.  Our fascination with violence and our fear and hatred of people different than we are can't simply be legislated or psychoanalyzed away to the point where we become the fair and decent country we pretend to be.  It's going to take a whole lot more than that to make this country get its act together. :-(  

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