Monday, June 22, 2015

Scary Questions, Not Enough Answers

As I write this, there is a body draped across the sofa in the den. The television is on, but from my vantage point on the sun porch, I suspect TRUE DETECTIVE is playing to a snored-out crowd. The senior son is in residence for a couple of days. What was meant to be a surprise for Zayde has turned into a huge help for me. Happy to have the pitter-patter of size 10 and half sneakers on the stairs. 

Beyond that, I am in a perennial state of pissed off over the last week's news cycle. The incipient political circus has come to town, and by town I mean from sea-to-shining-sea....and then some. Which is pretty annoying all by itself, but when you couple it with a mass murder in a southern state, you really have to wonder about this country.

Question #1:

So this guy posts a manifesto on a website called THE LAST RHODESIAN. It's interesting reading in the worst possible sense of the word. It's not nutty, which makes it even more heinous. On the surface, it is well thought out and structured. It says exactly what Dylann Storm Roof wants to tell the world. It is a cold essay, devoid of emotion or rage or anything else. It's practical and matter-of-fact, and that's what makes it so scary. He deeply believes in what he is writing. Almost cogent, it lacks the "depth" of Ted Kaczynski's Unibomber Manifesto; that doesn't make it any less compelling.

Don't get me wrong, this is not in praise of Roof's Manifesto; just the opposite. This is about the clarity of this thinking that created his outline of destruction. It's didn't just happen. It didn't just fall off a bookshelf and crack him in the head. No. Dylann Roof had to be thinking about this for a long while. How was he educated to this point?

That is not a specious question; it's a real one. Who educated this kid? Who becomes responsible for feeding and sustaining this kind of thinking? Someone besides the kid has to own a piece of this.

Question #2:

So a candidate for president of these here United States refers to the events in Charleston as "an accident."
This is the M.O. of this administration anytime there is a accident like this, y’know…I… know, The president's clear. He doesn't like for Americans to have guns, and so he uses every opportunity, this being another one, to basically go parrot that message. [transcript of the NewsWatch interview 1:40]
Perry went on to say that although he didn't have all the facts, he knew "these people" are medicated. According to Rick Perry, people commit mass murder because they taking meds....not illegal or illicit drugs. [2:36] Excuse me? 

Rick Perry's campaign flubbered a bit and backtracked, saying he meant to say "incident," not accident. Okay. Sure.  But how do they explain the rest of that absurd interview? Surely, Rick Perry's campaign cannot possibly apologize for the entire content? Or can they?

Question #3

Everyone is talking about the Confederate flag these days. People are demanding that it be taken down and removed from government offices et al all over the South. I've heard it compared to having the Nazi banner raised over German government buildings, and yes, I get the comparison. So when the EKG tech doing Mom's emergency EKG on Saturday afternoon (and yes, Mom's doing just fine, thank you) said she had grown up in Mississippi, I asked the exceptionally lovely young African-American woman what she thought of the controversy and her answer damn near knocked me to the ground.

Me: Should they take down the Confederate flags in the South                     
Her: NO! Definitely not.
Me: [astounded] Really?
Her: You don’t accomplish anything by taking them down besides making people angry.

She went on to explain that flag is a part of that history, and that you can’t rewrite history without doing more damage. She said they have to leave it alone because those people who support that stuff are dying out. Why get them angry so you can start all over again trying to fix it? No point in alienating everyone.

Her answer made me really wonder if the greater African America community has the same or similar response to the question. After all, it's about perception and I imagine the African American community has no more unity than the Caucasians around here. Does one call this a terrorist act by a single person, or is it the culmination of years of subliminal suggestion fostered by the reverence to a lost cause by a crazy person? Is the flag issue just being used as a convenient excuse so more African Americans believe the GOP has their best interest of that community at heart?

The murders in Charleston were heinous. There is nothing one can say, no explanation one can offer, that can explain why Dylann Storm Roof did whatever it was he did. 

The one thing we do know is that he was able to purchase a gun. And bullets.  We do not live in the Wild West. We do not live in a war zone. We do not live in a place where we are under constant threat of attack by roving armed militias. 

If We, the People continue to refuse to allow the development and implementation of sane gun laws, massacres like Charleston, Sandy Hook, Columbine, Centennial, and Fort Hood will continue to happen. When compared to other countries, the statistics are startling.
Schildkraut and Elsass: Mass Shootings between 2000-2014
Someone has to ask the question. We, the People must demand that the conversation begin now, not later. If We, the People go into this election cycle as slaves to instant media and the 1-second-sound-bite cycle, we are opening ourselves to more violence, more mass shootings, and a greater racial divide.

Shouldn't we be past this already?

The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
Never call GE's Customer Care line expecting anyone who cares. 


  1. Perhaps someone will find Rick Perry's manifesto under a name like "The Last Texan" or something. Really, there are too many people in our country who are like this. How are they different from someone searching for some explanation to a violent and chaotic society and finding ISIS has all the answers they need? The internet has made it worse allowing for so many of these types to feel comfort in their racist ideas much like Fox News has brought comfort for white folks who are certain that our President has a hidden life and agenda and is "un-American" and that black people are mostly "thugs" and "welfare queens". It's not by accident that Roof found his teachers on the internet like "good Germans" discovered their world-view through propaganda and books like "Mein Kampf. Roof writes: "The first website I came to was the Council of Conservative Citizens." Now there's a great place to learn about black folks...even if it ran counter to his own personal experience growing up with black people... you can always find out "the truth" on the internet....right?

  2. As a no longer lovely or young African-American woman, I am no less shocked at the response you received. That the Confederate flag is a legislated component of state government in South Carolina, or any other state in this Union, is unacceptable. The government must represent We, the People, all of us. Therefore, the symbols of the government must do the same. Seems simple enough, especially in 2015. Yet here we are "discussing" the pros and cons. Energy better spent demanding to know who is making and selling all these guns and ammunition so readily available in this country. The NRA sputters on about protecting the right to own these weapons and so we focus there. But, what of the regulation of the armaments industry? I can think of any number of restrictions and tariffs that might pave the way to a more sensible conversation about guns in America. Follow the money.