Saturday, June 20, 2015

People are stupid

Especially this jerk who shot up a black church, and killed nine people. Nine people who were pillars of their community, nine people who were parts of loving families, nine people who - I dare say - were working to make their community a better place.

I'm just....there's not so much useful I can add to the debate other than that I'm sad and I'm angry. I feel especially angry that this guy targeted a church.

And yeah, maybe he's a psychopath. Maybe he grew up steeped somehow in race hatred. But still, on some level, he chose to do this thing. We could suspend the First and Second amendments, we could shut down the internet, we could lock up all the "loners" and there would still be people choosing to do wrong, to hurt other people.

I also hate that so much political hay is being made of this. Because it boils down to this: this guy chose, on some level, to do this. It was his choice and his responsibility. Just as it is the rest of our responsibility not to do hateful things if we don't want to face the consequences of them.

I don't feel equipped to comment on the whole Confederate flag issue, which has cropped up again. I'm a born and raised Northerner, with no history with the whole flag and thing. My gut feeling is that if it's so deeply offensive to some, people of goodwill would choose not to display it, but I get that there's deeper stuff going on than a race thing. (Edited to add: I'm in favor of states taking it down as a semi-official flag, especially since I've read that apparently it became popular as an anti-civil-rights measure. But this current, "Let's paint everything gray and pretend that lots of the past didn't happen" is a bit alarming. There's a monument to the Confederate Dead a couple towns over from me, and a guy is now agitating to remove the statue and monument. Well, couldn't Japanese immigrants make a similar complaint about World War II memorials?)

I don't know. I think all the blame lies on this guy, and talking about guns or the internet or anything else is kind of pointless - there are thousands upon thousands who have guns and who only use them for target practice or hunting (or, in extreme circumstances, defense of their family in a life-or-death situation). Millions of people use the Internet and while I will say there are parts of the Internet (the comments section of just about any news site) that make me cringe and want to avoid them - I don't think the internet has changed me for the worse.

I WILL say, hearing the statements of the families of the people he shot - wow. Just, wow. That's being a Christian right there - some of them are talking about forgiveness. They are celebrating their loved one's lives rather than screaming at this guy. I think that's what we should focus on in this - the families that are showing the absolute depth of love they can have, the love that is informed by their faith.

It also frankly blows my mind that after the people welcomed into their Bible study - apparently even prayed with him - he could still do what he did. And that after that, some of them can still say "I forgive you and God will forgive you." I hope that ultimately becomes the take-home lesson from this event, not what the guy did....

(I don't think, if I were the family member of someone killed in that way, I could so quickly forgive their killer.)

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