The first day after Charlestown has ended. Some remarkable things happened. The words of the families of the victims to the killer were inspiring and gave hope in a day needing hope. Hatred and violence have become everyday and seem beyond action, at least anything we have the will or commitment to do. But the families showed in the worst of circumstances that even if hatred and violence destroy they need not win. We need not let them define us. Bless those families.
There were some really not remarkable things too. But none of them were really surprising, maybe sad but not surprising.
In a day with so many people saying so many stupid things the NRA made its bid to remain the stupidest of the stupid. A board member explained it was all the fault of the murdered pastor. He voted against guns in churches. He brought it on himself…
The man who came to shoot black people to start a race war got left out of his equation. The board member thought people should come to bible study ready to shoot back. There is something particularly slimy about people who use tragedy to promote their own political agenda… something about people who say he wouldn’t have died if he had just listened to me inspires something way past vomit.
The NRA really needs maniacs and crazy people. Without them to blame too many people might do what Barack Obama did – note that we seem to be the only country swimming in gun death and tragedy. And ask why. Paranoia is a survival behavior for the NRA. Their appeal and their power fail if we don’t buy in.
Jeb Bush remains confused. Like many other things he neither know what what to say or what to think. He wants to study it further but thinks it might be possible that a racist shot black people because he hates them.
Rick Perry thought it was an accident Don’t ask I can’t explain.
There were people who thought it was an attack on religion and faith. Many of them were people who try to pass off their own bigotry and hatred as a defense against what they are sure is an attack on their own religion and faith. And the killer was real clear about where he was coming from.
People, suprisingly lots of people, had trouble believing that hatred matters, that racism had an impact. The confederate flag still flies high in South Carolina. The killer of 9 black people is being kept in a cell next to the policeman who shot a black man in the back a couple of months ago. And it is politically too difficult to lower a flag???
It is the most terrible of terrible tragedies, but the families today told us something important today. What we do next matters. How we respond defines the kind of people we are and the people we are defines what are world can become. Evil is real. The problem with hatred is not just that it leads us to hurt people but that it makes it seem like the only thing that makes sense.
Grieve for today but pray for tomorrow. May God bless each and every one of you.