Thursday, June 18, 2015

Charleston newspaper comments

If you haven't seen this today, it's not a fake. The Charleston paper put a gun store ad on the front page, right with the headline. And in the sub-headline, note that hate crime is italicized.

I'm not a big fan of comments in the online newspapers. The anonymity provided seems to make some people give free reign to the dark reaches of their souls. The only newspaper where this seems to be less the case is the NY Times.

We've all read about the massacre in Charleston. People familiar with my blog can guess my reaction. I read two comments in the Times that are among the best I've read about horrific events like this. I reprint them in full, with the writer's screen names omitted.

I am Irish. For many years in my native land the Rev. Ian Paisley spouted bigoted hatred about Catholics in Northern Ireland, but then claimed innocence when some militant sectarian group massacred Catholics. Speech was not murder, he said. He would never condone killing, he said. Then he went right back to feeding the attitudes that spawned the killing. Few were fooled.

We should not be fooled in America today.

In this country the "mainstream" right-wing has made an industry of demonizing African-Americans as "thugs" and criminals - just look at the divergence in tone between the recent coverage of Ferguson or Baltimore and the (mostly white) biker massacre in Waco, TX. For decades, white America has been told that black Americans are lazy leeches, dependent on hand-outs funded by your hard-earned taxes to bankroll their immoral lifestyles.

The first black president was greeted by the right not only with diehard obstructionism but a chorus of color-coded abuse ("lazy," "food-stamp president" etc) and questions about his very American-ness: he was "not one of us," a foreigner adhering to a foreign religion who has no right to be president.

The siren song of racial hate relentlessly put out by the "mainstream" right finds echo in the gunshots that rang out in Charleston. 

Rightists will, of course, deny the connection, the way Paisley did. But we are not fooled."

And another, regarding the seemingly inevitable opinion from the NRA and their gun nut adherents about how this could have been prevented:

"If only EVERYONE else had been armed then the whole church could have been a battlefield. What will it take to get through to the American people to make them realize what they have become?"


  1. As always, follow the money. I can't remember the contributions the NRA make to Those in Government Who Must Be Obeyed. Substantial. Many times citizens out-arm the police. It is so tragic and so unnecessary this armed camp environment.

    1. This evening the news reported a nra lawyer said the blame for the death rested on the pastor, because he had opposed open carry laws in church. This points to the invulnerability the nra feels it has, it can do anything, say anything it wants because it owns most of the house and senate, and the rest of the nation can't do anything about it.

  2. But we are not fooled.

    Dear God, why is such a long path from not being fooled to eliminating the foolers?

    1. Because we've let the system be set up this way, and do nothing about changing it.

  3. Obama may not go down as the most effective President, but the man must be a saint for putting up with all the thinly disguisted racial crap he's had to endure and maintaining composure and not coming unglued. What happened in Charleston is an atrocity.

    1. The President has fulfilled few of my hopes he'd accomplish, but yes I agree.

  4. When there are 310 million privately owned guns in a nation of 320 million what else can be expected?

    Roof's crimes must also be owned, at some level, by the wider American society. Since those early tragic days in colonial America, where so-called "white" servants decided to throw in their lot with the Plantation feudal lords rather than with enslaved Africans, the American experience has been cursed with the evil of racism, in particular, white supremacy. And contrary to the myth, white supremacy is alive and well today. "Blacks" are still a hated, pariah people, and too many people in the USA think that they are a "chosen race," simply because their skin tone is light. Many so-called "white" people are afraid to take responsibility for being human; they find it easier to pretend to be something or someone they are not. Being human is hard for all of us. No one gets a pass. It's long been time for many "whites" in the sick old United States to face up to that fact. The fact is there are more than a few Dylann Roofs throughout the land.

    My thoughts go out to the victims of this terrible crime.

  5. Every nation has their Dylan Roofs.

    Having said that, there is no reason for any of us, anywhere, to turn a blind eye to this kind of thing. It is time for those of us sickened by such behavior to take action, root out those who instigate the hate, those who support it financially, those who hide their true agenda behind the constitution.

    Ready to do something about it? Sign below.

    Martha McLemore

    1. Every nation has them, yes, but every nation is not crammed with any weapon the loony wants.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. I apologize, Mike. Shouldn't have posted my rant here.

  6. Replies
    1. It is, yes. But I think it's long past time to move on from sadness to action, confront the evil that is the nra, and call the conservative wing of the gop to answer for their part in this.

  7. With each of these occurrences the pot gets sloshed up a little, people become indignant and come to realizations as are expressed here, then the contents of the pot settle down again. The observation -- "Because we've let the system be set up this way, and do nothing about changing it" -- which should be the starting point of any discussion, unfortunately ends up being the last, as we sigh and turn our attention back to the TV or however else we pass our time.

    Change only comes by confronting power. As is also pointed out we must "confront the evil that is the nra, and call the conservative wing of the gop to answer for their part in this."

    I'd add that that's going on on various levels but outside the political system, which, as is also pointed out here, is a system established by and run by those with power. #BlackLivesMatter, a new civil rights movement of primarily young African Americans, is one notable way. Not that you hear about it but it's there, and if anything is to change more of us must get behind and be part of movements like it.

    The nation as it exists was formed by similar movements -- the Labor Movement, the Civil Rights movement, the anti War movement, the Women's Movement, etc., all of which made demands outside the political system that were eventually expressed by societal changes and reforms adopted by the political system, but alas, the power structures -- the "system" -- was left in place and so we're left wondering today why we have a system that the NRA can co-opt to its advantage.

    So two things. One is that yes, power can be confronted and forced to make concessions.

    Two is that power is still there and will do as it will. Who do you want to have it? People have gotten together and gained some of it and then went home and let it accrue again where it is.

  8. I thought I'd commented already. But I have nothing intelligent to add anyway. Racism runs so deep in this country and there is such a vocal set who reuse to acknowledge that its a problem.