- June 20, 2015 in Columnists
Will the Emanuel AME Church shooter get what he wants?
The message from the family of those killed by a racist gunman in the Emanuel AME church in Charleston, South Carolina, has been forgiveness. There’s talk of healing. A nation mourns with them. But I have to tell you — I don’t share their optimism. I pray that I’m wrong.
There’s something that crosses my mind whenever there’s a shooting or some other horrific outrage in this country. I think about Rwanda. From April to July 1994 over 800,000 Rwandans were murdered in an act of genocide from the Hutus on the Tutsi minority. Neighbors took up arms against neighbors and shot, stabbed, and chopped their neighbors to pieces while the world watched. Or should I say while the world looked away? Some murdered relatives swept up in the violent tribal fury.
And I think it could happen here. Why?
This week’s murder of nine black people in a South Carolina church by a racist scumbag is just the latest outrage.
This incident comes at a time when every week we seem to see another outrageous video of police behaving badly. Nerves are raw.
But it’s not just racial fires that are burning. The disparity between the haves and the have-nots continues to grow in America. The 400 wealthiest Americans hold more wealth than the lower half of all Americans combined. It’s not the wealth that angers the masses. It’s the jobs they ship away, the access they buy, the elections they corrupt and the tax code that they rig in their favor.
While the wealthy and corporations thrive, the politicians and spin doctors they bankroll have the rest of us fighting for scraps, blaming inequality on illegal immigrants, food stamps and welfare. The sleight of hand our wealthy puppet masters employ quickly convinces the feeble minded to do their bidding. They have the have-nots fighting the have-less.
With Americans struggling, income inequality, illegal immigrant scapegoating, racial tensions and the daily vitriol between the right and the left, we’re a nation on the brink. And remember that we are the most heavily armed people in the history of the world. Yemen, the wild west of the Persian Gulf, is a distant second when it comes to guns. We’re ready to lock and load and rock ‘n’ roll.
Like the Daily Show’s Jon Stewart said Thursday night, we’re not going to do a damn thing about shootings like the one in South Carolina. While Republican politicians bash the president for refusing to say, “Islamic terrorists” these same hypocrites choke on the words “racist killer.” Yes, Jeb Bush claimed to not know why this racist thug shot up a black church, while Sen. Lindsay Graham, Sen. Rand Paul and former Sen. Rick Santorum all framed the killings as an assault on Christians. WTF?
A nightmarish racially-motivated massacre like this and the tepid response from some elected leaders leaves a lot of Americans seething.
When 12-year-old Tamir Rice is gunned down in Cleveland, Ohio, just two seconds after a cop sees him with a toy gun; Eric Garner is choked to death in full view of cameras for the apparent capital crime of illegally selling cigarettes and a Cleveland police officer jumps onto the hood of a car and empties his gun into the windshield helping to kill two unarmed people and nothing happens to these officers, people seethe.
And with the Supreme Court poised to eliminate health care for 6.4 million people and cause everyone else’s premiums to skyrocket, people are scared and hostile.
With GOP politicians feeding into the nutty idea that the president of the United States is planning an invasion of a state, it makes the easily swayed nervous and angry. Some politicians even play into their more extreme supporters’ desire to secede from the union.
When racist whites see that in 25 years, whites will be the minority in America they’re terrified and angry.
When some law-abiding gun owners see rioting and looting on TV, they’re pissed seeing people’s businesses looted and burned, and want to do something to stop it.
When Christians feel their religion is under attack and they feel persecuted, they’re ticked and want to fight back.
When homophobes see marriage equality spreading across the country, they’re disgusted and outraged.
That’s a lot of anger and discontent in such a heavily armed nation.
Still think it can’t happen here? Are we immune to a murderous uprising?
All it will take is a spark. It could be a political assassination. It could be yet another police shooting but that will be the proverbial straw. Instead of people taking to the streets to protest or even just to riot or loot, people could take to the streets with arms. Anarchists, those who just want to watch the world burn to borrow a phrase, could show up to set fires and destroy. Normally law-abiding gun owners could hit the streets to try to stop the destruction. Imagine bullets flying between hundreds of people. Imagine a picturesque city’s bridges and buildings aflame. Picture a police helicopter shot down crashing into a residential neighborhood. Envision an armored personnel carrier commandeered by murderous thugs. What if the police, outmanned and outgunned, decide to serve and protect themselves by retreating and leaving the city in the hands of the violent like half the police force did during Katrina?
And since we’ve already seen protests and riots break out in other cities when one occurs in another, what if several other cities exploded in violence at the same time? Imagine a dozen American cities burning and hundreds of thousands of bullets flying. Dead bodies rotting in American city streets because it’s too dangerous to retrieve them.
What happens when everyone who has an axe to grind loads up and goes out to settle the score?
Still think it can’t happen? We just saw a shootout with bikers and police in Waco, Texas that left nine dead. We saw a man attack a police station in Dallas. We have politicians, talk show hosts and other influential voices feeding the most heavily armed nation on earth a steady diet of outrage.
It’s always someone else’s fault. It’s the police. It’s the blacks. It’s the illegals. It’s the rich. It’s the freeloaders. It’s the gays. It’s the right wing nut jobs. It’s the loony left. It’s abortion. It’s Obamacare. It’s marijuana. It’s about taking our country back. It’s his politics. It’s her religion.
Dear God, don’t let us turn into the Rwanda. Don’t let us give this loser church shooter what he wants. I’ve said it before, but the enemies we should be fearing isn’t ISIS, Al Qaeda, Boko Haram or any other terrorist flavor of the month.
The enemy is us.
- June 20, 2015 at 6:53 am
Maya Spier Stiles North
- June 21, 2015 at 7:46 pm
- June 23, 2015 at 1:59 pm