Every now and then I am compelled to write about current events and while I loath to address politically charged issues on my blog, from time to time an issue speaks so deeply to me that I cannot keep quiet. This is one of those times.
And while some won’t be able to read this post as anything other than a political statement, let me say that this is not actually my intent. I just cannot ignore the heart breaking seriousness and the sin of recent events.
What happened the other day in Charleston, SC is yet another example that the United States is not a safe place. This was apparently a racially motivated crime…a hate crime…but it was also an act of terror, plain and simple. And as such, should offend all colors, races and creeds.
To shoot innocent people in church, of all places, is perhaps one of the greatest acts of cowardice. It is not an act of “southern pride”. An attempt to start a race war is nothing short of insane. To hate so boldly, to hate so violently over the simple difference of race can be called nothing other than evil.
This particular shooting throws salt into the already gaping wound our country inflicts upon itself by not addressing the ridiculous racial divide we live with. To have the confederate flag flying, at full mass mind you, at the state capital in South Carolina is nothing short of an appalling example of this very wound.
There are too many guns on the streets and too many people of an unsound mind with access to them. This is not to say that all mentally challenged people are violent, of course they aren’t, but the ones who are, have way too much access to the means to commit heinous life ending and life altering crimes.
But what astounds me even more, is that there are large numbers of people in this country who believe the answer is not to address these issues but to add more guns to the community. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results. Simply put, adding more guns to the community, especially without addressing the complicated, harrowing issues of our nation, is insane.
If we allow those who are deemed mentally unstable to plead insanity when they commit crime, then we certainly should not give them such easy access to guns and the means to commit crime in the first place.
Before all the gun enthusiasts get on my case, let me say that I am not anti-gun. I understand our constitution and I know all about the second amendment. We all have the right to certain freedoms but let us not forget that with freedom comes great responsibility. Allowing those willing to commit these acts, such easy access to weapons, that they choose to use for mass destruction, is not responsible.
I respect that the issues of gun ownership and gun violence are complex and often emotional but that does not mean we should continue to treat them with kid gloves. It is time to put aside our differences and address these problems so that we can live peacefully and all enjoy true freedom.
My greatest fear from this most recent tragedy, is that once the twenty-four hour news cycle finds something else to focus on, this story, ripe with all that is utterly wrong with our country, will fade into the abyss and we will once again miss an opportunity to make real, lasting and worthwhile progress in the right direction toward healing the wounds that so divide us, so torture us and so confine us as a nation.
Until we are brave enough, until we are strong enough, until we are sick enough of the violence and the hate, we will continue to be a nation fractured and a nation marred in dysfunction.