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Saturday, June 18, 2016

HONORING THE DEAD AFTER THE CHARLESTON BIBLE STUDY MASSACRE


The Charlie Hebdo Mass Shooting in France was called a "massacre" on some news sites. At the time, I wondered why since "only" 17 people were killed. I wondered because I thought "massacre"  required massive numbers of people to die.  So, I looked up the definition of "massacre."  






MASSACRE  - . 1 : the act or an instance of killing a number of usually helpless or unresisting human beings  under circumstances of atrocity or cruelty (Miriam-Webster Dictionary)

What Dylann Roof did was massacre people. And I hope he is punished accordingly. He walked into a church with the people pictured above. He was invited to join their bible study. Then he stood up and murdered them.

The hate that grew Dylann Roof to manhood has yet to be addressed. But one of the outcomes of the Dylann Roof shooting was that some white people decided to stop pretending that the KKK's favorite flag isn't a symbol of hate and desire to wage war against all American ideals, and Black American people specifically.  Some southern states removed the symbol of hate from their state buildings. Bree Newsome became famous for taking down a hate flag in South Carolina 

Last week, even the very white Southern Baptist Convention took a vote and decided that their churches should not fly the KKK flag on their grounds anymore -- which falls squarely in the middle of the **better late than never** category.

These silver linings may seem small. But a review of history should reveal to most that taking the enemy's flag, removing and destroying your enemy's symbol is part of wounding the heart of your enemy, which is part of eventually defeating your enemy.

But now we should look for something bigger to honor our dead. 

THE VICTIMS
  • Cynthia Marie Graham Hurd (54) – Bible study member and manager for the Charleston County Public Library system; sister of Malcolm Graham.
  • Susie Jackson (87) – a Bible study and church choir member.
  • Ethel Lee Lance (70) – the church's sexton.
  • Depayne Middleton-Doctor (49) – a pastor who was also employed as a school administrator and admissions coordinator at Southern Wesleyan University.
  • Clementa C. Pinckney (41) – the church's pastor and a South Carolina state senator.
  • Tywanza Sanders (26) – a Bible study member; grandnephew of Susie Jackson.
  • Daniel Simmons (74) – a pastor who also served at Greater Zion AME Church in Awendaw.
  • Sharonda Coleman-Singleton (45) – a pastor; also a speech therapist and track coach at Goose Creek High School.
  • Myra Thompson (59) – a Bible study teacher. 

In light of the latest mass shooting, courtesy of Omar Mateen, we should look to getting a more realistic gun control law passed

I am hardly alone in thinking this. And to that end, someone wrote an article asking "What Will It Take To Scare America Into Gun Control"  The author, a black man and a gun owner, wondered if every black man from the age of 18 to 35 joining the NRA would change gun control legislation.


I immediately concluded that the author of the article -

1) doesn't know white people "ain't" thinking about us, what black people do or don't do,  they are only ever thinking about themselves
2) is looking at the wrong end of the gun.
Years and years ago, Farai Chideya wrote the book "Don't Believe the Hype: Fighting Cultural Misinformation About African Americans" Within this book she made the case that it is not the nature of the perpetrator that determines the time served in jail for a crime. It is the race, gender, and age of the victim that determines sentencing. 

That is, it is the social worth of the human being that's been harmed that determines sentencing. And I propose to you that it is the social worth of the human being that determines almost everything in this country -- and that includes the future passage of some sort of realistic gun control.


Prior to warehousing black people for crack, I'd say that Chideya's claim was true, that the race, gender, and age of the victim was the determining factors of social worth and therefore sentencing after a crime in the United States. And I'd say her hypothesis remains true when you talk about a person's crimes against other people.

Think about it:
If a black person shoots a black person, that person may be out of jail in a relatively short period of time. But if somebody shoots and kills a white man, if ANYBODY shoots and kills a white man, that person may never see the light of day again. 
Compare Other Demographics:
The Brock Turner and Bill Cosby cases, both, should have already told you that white women are not important. A white male police officer raped a (white?) woman while arresting her in Alabama and his proposed sentence was 6 months last I heard (Samuel H. McHenry, look him up) .


Brock Turner getting 6 month sentence should tell you that white men are very important; his father wrote in that his son shouldn't go to jail very long over "20 minutes of action" and the white male judge agreed. Turner ought to be out in 3 months with good behavior. The number of white male mass shooters that white male police were able to take custody of alive should also tell you white men are important as well.


I was shocked when Chideya said, in her book, that you can tell that children are almost worthless in our society too. She said you can tell by looking at the jail time people get for abusing them and killing them.

Unless there is a lot of news coverage on a certain child abuse or child murder case, I'd estimate she is absolutely correct. Do you know that as many as 6 men turned a blind eye to Jerry Sandusky sexually abusing young boys?


If Adam Lanza had lived after the Sandy Hook shooting, he probably would have stayed in jail forever due to large number of white children he killed generating outrage due to high profile news coverage.  However, even though Lanza died, you can still see that white children are worth virtually nothing when you look at the Sandy Hook case. Changes to gun control laws were still successfully blocked by the NRA and gun lobby, again.

Do you know what all this means?

Let me tell you what it means: 



Children are nothing. 
White men are everything.  


I thought I believed Chideya's stats and her conclusion that it is the victim's status, the victim's social value that determines sentencing after a crime. But I didn't REALLY believe how completely valueless everybody is in the United States, except for white men, until Sandy Hook came and went, two dozen (mostly) white children were dead, and there wasn't a dramatic change to gun control legislation.

So the answer to the question "What Will Scare America Into Real Gun Control" is not changing who has access to guns because...


White men ain't thinking about black men. 

They are thinking about themselves 

As usual  


If black men bought guns in huge numbers and followed up by joining the NRA, the white powers that be would simply change the  laws in such a way that black men went to jail in disparate numbers while white people did not despite having done the similar crimes -- same as they did for drug users of (black folk's) crack versus (white folk's) powder cocaine.

So, if I'm reading Chideya correctly, we have to look at the other end of the gun, the part where the bullets come out.


Conclusion: The thing that will scare America into gun control is about two dozen white men lying dead as the result of two or three mass shootings where white males were specifically targeted. 

Now that I think of it, there has to be a white male on the other side of the gun too. If a black, brown, or Muslim person targets and shoots of a group of white males, the NRA, the gun lobby, and those of Donald Trump's ilk will explain the shooting away using some ethnoracist / religious stereotype.


Revised Conclusion:  The thing that will scare America into gun control is a bunch of heterosexual white men dead at the hands of a few Adam Lanzas and Dylann Roofs but not Omar Mateens

If the right and new atheists successfully put this lastest mass shooting off onto Mateen's being Muslim, the fire of outrage over easy access to guns is going to go out.

Don't let it happen


We don't really want to wait for another shooting.  And we don't have to wait for that. We can vote and write letters and sign online protests demanding that our legislators get some sort of national gun control in place. It should be at least as hard to get a gun as it is to drive a car. Licensing, insurance, and also some sort of two week to one month waiting period so that we can truly research who it is that's buying a gun. And anybody who needs more than a handful of bullets outside a shooting range ought to live on a farm or something.

Let's get moving. Sign a petition. Go to a protest. Find a way to apply pressure on our congress. 



-----


Side note:  Some black people like to focus on black-on-black crime, blacks killing other blacks, as if white crime isn't just as intraracial. But people rape, rob, and kill the people they live near. Since we still live in a defacto segregated society for the most part, white-on-white crime usually stays above 84% too.

But black-on-black crime is aided by the fact that white judges and prosecutors don't care that much about the black dead. Therefore, if a black person A shoots another black person B, then black person A isn't going to get that much time in jail. This puts black person A back on the street to shoot black person C, D, and E before going to jail again and getting out again.