Saturday, June 20, 2015

Thoughts on Charleston

9 people, all African-American, were murdered in a historic African-American church on Wednesday by a white supremacist trying to start a race war. The right and right-wing media seem to be bending over backward to leave race out of the equation. The killer is already being given the 'crazy weird kid' card.

Fuck that.

This wasn't the act of a crazy kid. This was us. We did this. By playing into tribalism, us vs. them bullshit thinking. By framing political arguments as "taking back our country." By pretending the 1st commandment has exceptions, and the 2nd amendment has none. By othering and demonizing the people we call our opponents. By ignoring racism. By ignoring discrimination. By looking away from our painful history. By constantly arguing that the only answer to gun violence is more guns. By being too cowardly to call the gun lobby on their shit. By being cowards. By not taking responsibility for our situations and our actions. By not learning from the hundreds of other mass murders that happened this year. By assuming the perps are lone wolves.

This is not a politically popular message, but there is no them, there is only us. Everything we do, we do to ourselves. We are inextricably interconnected, and all of our actions have an effect. The killer wasn't a weirdo or a lone wolf. He was one of us, who was following a script that was written for him, who was following the ideology of the right-wing to its logical conclusion.

I'd love to say that this will lead to something, but if 20 white children getting killed didn't do shit, then 9 blacks being killed will do even less. Because the right secretly agrees with at least part of the killers message, ie there is a them and they are taking our country and we (by which they mean white people) need to take it back.  We are already resorting to the same arguments, the same bad thinking, the same bullshit that got us where we are.

But I think something is changing. I think that things are getting so bad that maybe we will do something. I think america is like an addict, who has been sleeping in his own shit for years, and has woken up covered in shit for the hundredth time, and is starting to think that maybe he has a problem. Only half of his brain is saying that his problem is he isn't doing ENOUGH drugs, or the right drugs.

My thoughts and prayers are with those killed, and their families, and with the victims and families of the Muslim students killed earlier in the year, and the other hundreds of victims of senseless killings in this country every year.

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