1halffull's Blog


After the Charleston murders, another thought….
July 14, 2015, 1:00 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Just three weeks ago, a young man walked into a church and sat down during a Bible study.  He interacted with the assembled group who received him, spoke to him, tried to make him feel welcome.  He was white and they were black.

How they responded to him wasn’t enough to change his mind about what he’d really come there to do.

He stood up, pulled a gun and without regard, shot nine of them dead.  When he was done, he told one lady that he was going to let her live so that she would tell the story of what had happened.

That statement made it clear that what he’d done had not much to do with them and everything to do with him.

pd_dylann_roof As I looked into the face of that young man in the ‘mug’ shot, I saw nothing; his eyes seemed soul-less, his face had, what they call in the psych world, ‘flat affect’.  Looking out from the photo, he appeared to me to be hollow.  I couldn’t help wonder what had happened to him in his short, 21 years that could empty him of his humanity?

In other cities recently, the death of innocent African Americans has been followed by riots.  Not so in Charleston where people of all races came together to mourn and love and care for one another. This purely race-driven crime, instead of driving a wedge between them, brought all sides together.  They came together in love and resolve to see that it would not happen again.

This act also caused dialog about the Confederate flag flying over their capitol building, a sign of racism and belligerence that had been going on since Lincoln freed the slaves back in 1865 when the South lost the Civil War.  I admit, I’d never thought of the Confederate flag in that way.  What did I know?  I’m a northerner.  To me, that flag was about The Dukes of Hazard.  But as I think about that show, they were also renegades after a fashion, so it was instinctive for them to carry that flag of rebelry.

Another good thing came of those nine deaths:  because of what happened, now the Confederate flag that hung over the state house has been removed and relegated to a vault in a local museum.  Of course, that can only change things to the degree that the hearts of the citizenry is changed as well.

As I thought about Charleston and what happened there, I couldn’t help think about the numerous, seemingly unnecessary, killings of other African Americans recently – Missouri, Cleveland, Chicago.  What is going on?

I could take the easy way out and say, oh, it’s always been this way.  We’re just more aware because of the media’s penchant for hyping these crimes.  I could do that but I won’t because at the same time, I couldn’t get the following idea out of my head.

When then presidential candidate, Barack Obama, made claims of how he would bring on change for the better for every president-obamaAmerican, the people really wanted to believe him.  They hung on his every word and came to believe that here was a guy who could do what he said, so they elected him, believing that he would make a change.

After Mr. Obama was elected what changed?  We plunged into a huge recession with hundreds of thousands of jobs being lost; people lost their homes in greater numbers than ever before.

Over all, we, as individuals of a stricken middle class, have experienced change all right – negative change.  We’re constantly worried, frustrated, angry.   Pensions are gone; we work two or three part-time jobs just to keep life together; there are no extras.

The guy who told us there would be change, forgot to mention it would be ugly change.  Instead of being seen as someone who changed us for the better, under Mr. Obama’s watch, things have gone further downhill.

That being said, here’s the idea I couldn’t let go of:  Are people taking out their frustration and anger on innocent people of color over Mr. Obama’s negative changes ?  Could that be what’s really behind all these killings?

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