When it comes to attributing responsibility for the terrorist attack that occurred at the Emanuel AME Church in South Carolina, it seems that our political leaders are looking for someone, or something, to blame.
Except the shooter.
For instance, let’s talk President Barack Obama, who in his address to the nation after the terrorist attack, spoke about gun control. He said, “We don’t have all the facts, but we do know that, once again, innocent people were killed in part because someone who wanted to inflict harm had no trouble getting their hands on a gun.”
While an interesting point, it is not completely the truth. From the moment the incident happened, it was pretty obvious for most willing to operate with a sense of history and common sense what the reason was for this attack. The motive for a white man gunning down nine people inside of a historically Black church was, in fact, racial hatred. Moreover, be it a gun, bomb or even knife attack, the method of the attack doesn’t matter as much because his aim was to inflict harm as well as terror upon the Black community. Yet in a prime opportunity to get the country to face itself, our president conceded the obvious facts and instead chose to direct attention to an issue that is only a symptom of the actual problem.
If that wasn’t bad enough, a representative from the National Rifle Association decided to use the terrorist attack to gain traction for the organization’s gun-toting agenda. The individual blamed Clementa C. Pinckney, Emanuel AME pastor and South Carolina Senator, who was one of the nine people slain. As reported by Yahoo, Charles Cotton, a Houston attorney on the National Rifle Association’s board of directors, said that if Pinckney hadn’t been opposed to concealed carry legislation as a state senator, he and the eight other members of his congregation would still be alive. That’s right. Nothing says concern for the safety of our parishioners like a shootout between two, or more, armed nuts with a possible bad aim in a small, enclosed space.
Also getting some of the flack is the Confederate flag. As noted by Think Progress:
Within hours, social media was flooded with posts and tweets about the Confederate flag, and the word “Confederate” quickly became a trending topic on Twitter. Pieces decrying the flag’s presence on the South Carolina State House grounds began popping up everywhere: Vox’s Zack Beauchamp railed against the historic symbol of the Confederacy, calling its placement on the government property “an insult to Charleston’s victims”; Ta-Nehisi Coates penned a blistering critique of the flag in the Atlantic, aptly titled “Take Down the Confederate Flag—Now”; and The Boston Globe published a scathing political cartoon…
Surprisingly, also championing the cause to get the Confederate flag removed from the South Carolina State House are Republican presidential hopefuls Jeb Bush and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. On his Facebook page, Bush wrote in part: “My position on how to address the Confederate flag is clear. In Florida, we acted, moving the flag from the state grounds to a museum where it belonged.”
And that right there should let you know that this collective outrage at the Confederate flag is kind of bullsh*t. Sure, the Confederate flag is a horrific symbol of both slavery, as well as state-sanctioned violence against Black people. However, if we are going to remove the Confederate flag, we might as well remove all of the flags in this country. That includes the stars and stripes, as many Black men and woman have been killed through racialized and state-sanctioned violence under the red, white and blue symbol of freedom as well.
Taking a different approach is former Texas governor and current presidential candidate Rick Perry. He recently said that he doesn’t think that the shooting was a terrorist attack, but rather, a “crime of hate.” He also went on to call the attacks an “accident,” which was likely sparked by drugs. More specifically, he said in an interview with NewsMax, “It seems to me, again without having all the details about this, that these individuals have been medicated and there may be a real issue in this country from the standpoint of these drugs and how they’re used.”
For real though, what kind of drugs is this guy on? That’s what we need to be banning. And while we’re at it, let’s ban him from ever opening his mouth and running for office again.
In all of these dialogues about the Charleston terrorist attacks, our legislative representation and political thinkers want to offer useless remedies. From gun reform to more guns to the removal of a symbol, which truly illustrates who we are in this country. All of this totally misses the point of why 21-year-old Dylann Roof went into the church that day and committed mass murder. In his own clear and concise words, Roof admitted that he did it because he hated Black people. That’s it. Nothing more to think about – actually that is not true. Our pubic discourse needs to focus only on one thing, and that is the eradication of White supremacy. Anything else is truly a distraction.