Saturday, June 20, 2015

People of Faith

“When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it--always.”
― Mahatma Gandhi

 Senseless murder. Honestly, is there another kind?

Each revelation from the Charleston Church murders is more disturbing than the next. There is the horrible incongruity of an individual sitting among worshipers, him knowing he is armed and intends to kill them. The randomness - that church, that night, those men and women.... Word from inside the investigation revealed that the homicide almost didn't happen, that the murderer almost changed his mind because his eventual victims had been so nice to him.

The usual gaggle of pundits and politicians ride to the podium upon hobby horse, worn and tattered pages of a favorite speech trotted out once more. We are racists, they sputter. We share in collective guilt because our gun laws don't stop people consumed with hatred.We are troubled, flawed and at the same time somehow unique in our acceptance of mass murder.

A minister interviewed on NPR in the hours after the crime hoped that race hatred (from which this act surely grew) would pay the price of ostracism, that bigots would be shunned. He wanted them to feel uncomfortable in a society that does not share their views, that rejects their fundamentally flawed outlook. It seemed, as anger turned to mourning, an entirely sensible thing to say. The more that is known about the murders, the more his words turn out to be true.

The murderer is a racist asshole. He was dangerous, and disturbed. He had been left behind by an evolving society trying to make equality a reality and that pissed him off. Even as the congregants treated him with love and respect he could not get past their skin color. He is representative of....

Nothing. He's a bad guy. He had a gun. He used it on innocent human beings worshiping their God, living honorable lives in peace. The laws prohibiting what he did (which are as old as civilization itself) were not going to stop him. He belongs in the cage in which he now resides, put there for the rest of his pointless life by a just but enraged society. The men and women sworn to enforce the law will see to it.

In the aftermath?

The words of David "Big Pappy" Ortiz come to mind. To paraphrase - This is our fucking country. Nobody is going to dictate our freedom. We are working to make the blessings we enjoy a reality for everyone. Nothing will stop us, all the while taking strength from nine nice people who went to their God with loving hearts.

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