I just learned about the horrific events last night at the Emanuel AME Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina in which young, white male gunman shot and killed 9 members of the church including its pastor and a member of the State Senate.
What makes this massacre all the more troubling is that the gunman joined the parishioners in prayer before he began shooting.
A few years ago, a friend of mine came to visit me. He is an Evangelical Christian and wanted to go to a church service on Sunday morning. I was a bit surprised when he told me he was going to one of the AME churches in Roxbury, a predominantly African-American neighborhood in Boston, as there were other churches which were much closer. But he wanted to experience a service in an African-American church. As he would later tell me, they were shocked to see a white face enter the church. But the parishioners would quickly welcome him with open arms. They would pray together and then break bread together. He told me it was a wonderful experience and I have no doubt the congregants were glad he joined him that Sunday.
I cannot help but think that the congregants at Mother Emanuel were probably surprised to see a white face among them. But I also cannot help but think that the congregants quickly welcomed him with open arms only to be slaughtered. Not only did the gunman defile a house of worship he also betrayed their offer of brotherhood, kindness, and friendship.
At this point, the gunman is still at large and top priority is to apprehend him. Because it’s possible he might not be done committing evil. Authorities in Charleston believe this is a hate crime and, under the circumstances, it is not unreasonable to think along those lines. The shooting at the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, by a white supremacist nearly three years ago comes to mind.
Yet it is also entirely possible that the shooter had the sort of mental illness that on a different day he could have just as easily targeted a group of white schoolchildren. The point here is that until the gunman is brought into custody and identified we cannot say definitively what his motivations were. Whatever his motivations, this man must never be allowed to roam the streets freely again.
Unfortunately, those who have axes to grind are grinding them. The dead have not been laid to rest and already we are hearing calls for more gun control and linking it to racism as demonstrated in this article in the Guardian written by Gary Younge:
Racism isn’t dead. We know this because it keeps killing black people.
The fact that Clementa Pinckney, a state senator, was among the dead indicates that nobody is safe. The fact that it took place in a church during a prayer meeting indicates that nowhere is safe.
America does not have a monopoly on racism. But what makes its racism so lethal is the ease with which people can acquire guns. While the new conversation around race will mean the political response to the fact of this attack will be different, the stale conversation around gun control means the legislative response to the nature of this attack will remain the same. Nothing will happen.
Where do I start? Since the gunman hasn’t been apprehended we don’t know if he obtained the gun legally.
But if gun control is all that is required to keep African-Americans safe then the South Side of Chicago should be the safest neighborhood in the country. Racism or no racism, the sad fact is that blacks are more likely to be killed by their own. Of course, the same can be said for whites. Do I need to remind Younge that three of the six police officers charged with the murder of Freddie Gray are black? Let’s face it. We human beings are pretty rotten to each other.
It would be nice if the Left could stay off its hobby horse long enough to wait until the authorities detain this guy and find out what made this guy commit this act of evil. But I realize this is wishful thinking. It is like try to subdue a tidal wave with a bucket. There is an agenda to be implemented and the facts be damned.
Until the gunman is apprehended and justice takes it course, the best we can do is offer our prayers and sympathies to the families of the parishioners of Mother Emanuel church.
UPDATE: The suspect in the Mother Emanuel AME Church shooting was arrested this morning during a traffic stop in North Carolina. He has been identified as 21-year old Dylann Roof. It is being reported that Roof had a previous arrest earlier this year on trespassing and gun charges.
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