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Charelston

I want to post this piece my friend Emily wrote on her blog Em-i-lis regarding the senseless murder of Innocents in South Carolina. I am sure that you share the outrage and sadness at this senseless loss of life. This is a food blog and I generally stay away from “political” issues and concentrate on, well, food, but what happened in Charleston rips at the heart of our country and the laws that in my humble opinion need to change. I get it really I do, the right to bear arms is a constitutional right but we need laws in place that make it impossible or at least very hard for people to obtain these weapons.

Posted today

Charleston

Early this morning, I posted this message to my Facebook page: 

If anyone continues to feel that we need more relaxed gun laws in this country, I say to you that you are crazy. Slaughter and murder are happening all around. Let’s get our collective head out of our collective, fraidy-cat ass, and make some change. Holding #‎charleston in the light.

Twelve hours later, I concur.

I just don’t know what it’s going to take for our country to move on the issue of gun regulation, nor do I understand why we appear to be marching backwards in time towards an ugly past. Racism and guns are a combustible mix. They aren’t causal but the connections are clearly there.

Black Americans are “killed at twelve times the rate of people in other developed countries.” (Nate Silver, FiveThirtyEight, 18 June 2015) If you want to see how we compare, read this piece from FiveThirtyEight that was published today. A sad comparison within is this: the homicide rate per 100,00 people for black Americans is 19.4; for white Americans it’s 2.5.

I am so angry and demoralized about the lack of government leadership on gun control. Columbine happened in 1999. Since, there have been more than 40 more school shootings, including that at Sandy Hook which killed more than 25 and seemed so horrific that I thought change might actually come.

In the meantime, there was the Aurora, CO, theater massacre, the Fort Hood disaster, Oakland, Santa Monica, as well as all the many individuals shot dead. 

Last year alone, there were “283 separate incidents in which four or more people were shot.” (Gary Younge, The Guardian, 18 June 2015)

Gun-regulation rhetoric grows louder but nothing happens. Citizens and government leaders who have no real idea what the Second Amendment was written to protect scream like feral beasts about their rights to bear arms. Instead of restricting where those arms can be brought, we expand their reach by allowing them in bars, churches, airports and college campuses. We enact bullshit legislation like Stand Your Ground and we elect racist assholes like Sheriff Joe Arpaio. 

All of this serves as a hideous veil behind which killers hide and then get away. They are police officers who murder unarmed citizens and are then acquitted. They are bigoted punks who promote themselves to neighborhood guardians and shoot and/or report suspicious -read: “of color”- others in their midst. Some are mentally ill, but not all; some are just hateful and mean. They are racist and ignorant. They shouldn’t have guns in the first place.

More guns does not a civilized society make.

We watch again and again and again as the tears of mothers, fathers, children and friends are prayed for and then forgotten. We wring our hands in sympathy and outrage but when the dirt covers the coffins, our attention shifts. 

This is shameful. It is not leadership, and it is not compassion. It is immoral and cowardly and weak, and all who do not vociferously insist on change are culpable in the continuation of such unnecessary tragedy and inexcusable disregard. 

If we cannot simply say “NO MORE” after children are slaughtered and families are ripped apart and welcoming church congregations are shot up during a prayer group, then we are a pitifully impotent country. 

Not a day after Dylann Roof murdered nine black people (including three older than 70) at the Emanual A.M.E. church in Charleston, right wing pundits ignored the racial dimension and asserted that his rampage was an attack on faith. They asked whether pastors should be armed. And the Confederate flag at the South Carolina capitol building continued to fly high. 

I don’t understand how these images don’t haunt change into our leaders. I am outraged and heartbroken and ashamed. 

photo courtesy NY Daily News

photo courtesy NY Daily News

53 Comments Post a comment
  1. Thank you for sharing this post on your blog, Suzanne.

    June 19, 2015
    • What happened to those poor people in Charleston brings me to tears and I am ashamed to say that I live in a country that has the ability to legislate change and refuses to do it It’s a very sad day in Americal Thanks Jess.

      June 19, 2015
  2. Deana #

    Sometimes it feels like we’re in a time machine….going back..back..back in time 😦
    I cannot comprehend such hate, we are all God’s creations, all equal in his eyes….and mine.

    June 19, 2015
  3. queensashy #

    Suzanne, thank you for sharing, and thank you to Emily for her words… We are not moving a needle. I am too, outraged and heartbroken and ashamed. And I am scared…

    June 19, 2015
    • I am too, scared, ashamed and outraged. America is a country that is based on freedom but this freedom without some strong guidelines and rules is allowing those with bad or sinister intentions to run amok.

      June 19, 2015
  4. I don’t understand what is happening here either, it is very sad. We need to do something!

    June 19, 2015
    • I don’t either Cheri, maybe we as bloggers, should put our heads together and think of something that could effect some sort of change.

      June 19, 2015
  5. Likewise, I tend to stay away from political issues…what’s happened is so incredibly sad though 😦

    June 19, 2015
    • Thats right, I like to blog about food not political stuff but this is so outrageous and it keeps happening here over and over yet our government does nothing to curtail or stop it. I am at a loss.

      June 19, 2015
      • Which I completely understand, it’s nonsensical. I can only imagine that there is a certain amount of constant fear in the US, that’s how I would feel!

        June 19, 2015
      • It’s absolutely true. Here in NYC we are experiencing a constant barrage of senseless subway attacks one after another, beatings, slashing a it is getting so that it is truly frightening going outside.

        June 19, 2015
      • OMG! That sounds awful! You must be constantly on your guard??

        June 19, 2015
      • Constantly on guard, right now some wacko is targeting young Asian woman. He carries something weighty and hard in a plastic bag and beats these women with it. There has been 4 attacks in less than 2 weeks. They caught the box cutter guy in the subway just randomly slashing people both in the subway and near the subway stations. It’s getting worse and worse then there are the horrible incidents like Charleston. Sad days here.

        June 19, 2015
  6. Just awful. As much as I love the US, the gun laws are something that I’ve never been able to come to terms with.

    June 19, 2015
    • I cannot come to terms with that either. I love the U.S. It’s my home but the gun laws must change.

      June 19, 2015
  7. Thank you for sharing Suzanne. What happened in Charleston is such a tragedy. My heart breaks for all involved. Not sure what’s happening to our country and our ” democracy.” Hard times

    June 19, 2015
  8. I have school teachers in my family and I am frightened for them during any school year. I watch my children like a hawk daily. I do not take our safety for granted even in a beautiful small community beach town! I refuse to carry a weapon/own one! I can not say the same for family members. The continuance of violence anywhere USA is of great concern to me. Suzanne I do understand…Hugs to Nando.

    June 19, 2015
  9. This is awful and we must change our gun laws. There is no other way.

    June 19, 2015
  10. I agree that after Sandy Hook it just seems impossible that sweeping changes were not made. It was a nightmare — almost unreal that something like that could happen. Did people just decide it was all a bad dream and nothing needed to change? All that and yet people still buy their kids guns…
    > Sending you good thoughts, Suzanne.

    June 19, 2015
    • Sandy Hook was in my opinion the most horrific scene outside of Sept 11 2001. It haunts me to this day and I can’t for the life of me understand why the powerful NRA lobbyist are able to keep stricter gun control laws at bay. It boggles the mind.

      June 19, 2015
      • I totally agree, how can they get away with this?

        June 19, 2015
  11. Thank you for sharing my words here on your beautiful blog, Suzanne. I am grateful and touched. My heart is so heavy today, with outrage and disgust and sadness and worry.

    June 19, 2015
    • Em, your words are hauntingly real and should be published so all can read. Thanks for allowing me to blog your post.

      June 19, 2015
  12. Thanks for sharing Suzanne, no words can describe what we all feel in this country – something has to be done, and done soon!

    June 19, 2015
  13. I agree wholeheartedly Loretta.

    June 19, 2015
  14. Thank you for sharing this post on your blog, Suzanne. What happened in Charleston is such a tragedy…

    June 19, 2015
  15. Thanks for sharing Suzanne, I´m far away, yet we were deeply saddened when we heard about this shocking event.

    June 19, 2015
  16. I was so sad to hear about what happened in Charleston. This and all the many other attacks that have been happening are so tragic.

    June 20, 2015
    • Yes, so very tragic and I think if there were tougher laws and gun regulations this was avoidable.

      June 20, 2015
  17. Our gun laws here in Australia changed quite dramatically back in the late 1990’s after a massacre down in Tasmania. It seems to have made a big difference…
    So heartbreaking to hear of what occurred in Charleston. It’s deeply concerning… and I can totally understand why you’re sharing this post Suzanne.

    June 20, 2015
    • I heard about that and wish the US would enact such a law. It’s such a horrible tragedy that this keeps happening here, It’s much to easy for criminals and the mentally ill to obtain a weapon of mass destruction, Thanks Margot.

      June 20, 2015
  18. Gun law is a complicated issue. Not simple. Agree of course that this is sad. Also, I must say…Charleston is the first time I’ve seen people respond & react more intelligently, compassionately, classy & productively than since MLK was alive. God, love…coming together & prayer will bring us much further than violence, more hate & more crime. Charleston is an exemplary example of all those positive traits above.
    As for guns…besides that I carry and want/deserve the right to protect myself and my family, the criminals still get guns no matter what any laws are. Agree for sure that there should be STRICT background laws, including MENTAL records!
    But in this case (like the Sandy Hook shooter who murdered little children) the parent gave them the gun! #CRAZY #STUPID

    June 21, 2015
    • Thank you and I agree with you. Stricter background checks including mental records is in order but what do you do when a parent or friend or whatever decides to gift this person with a gun. Crazy Stupid is right!

      June 21, 2015
  19. Btw…homicide rate is a larger part a black on black crime. Again…criminals will get guns or whatever way necessary to cause harm or death dduring criminal activities. 😦

    June 21, 2015
  20. Sheriff Joe tries stopping the illegals. He can not do that by pulling over white or black people. So thats considered racial profiling. Like we cant track terrorists for same reason. Even though we are being attacked. And a white officer was cleared from what happened to a criminal who refused to comply and follow the law.

    June 21, 2015
  21. petra08 #

    I am so often tempted to voice my opinions but it is very rare that I do as I tend to want to stay away from politics. Saying that sometimes we just have to speak up and I love this post!

    June 22, 2015
    • Hi Petra;

      I stay away from politics on the blog as a general rule but after reading Emily’s post I was compelled to post this. Thank you so much.

      June 22, 2015
      • petra08 #

        I totally agree with you and am glad you posted it 🙂

        June 22, 2015
  22. There is a saying to not be afraid of what’s news, but to be afraid of what is no longer news. I noticed in the Times’ coverage of Charleston, the focus was on a hate crime. And yes, racially fuelled hate crimes are a terrible thing, but no longer does it seem shocking that a young man can go to the store and buy himself a gun with his birthday money. That’s not news any longer. And while I grieve for these innocent people and their families, the root of this issue isn’t race, it’s young, disenfranchised men who show great signs of mental disease and are emboldened to act on it at around the age of 20-25. The common thread is their access to guns. None of these young men are evil. They are very, very ill and they need help, not access to guns. Their access allows them to destroy themselves and the lives of others. I agree so deeply with this post and wish I could find a way to do more to change this terrible reality.

    June 22, 2015
    • It always comes out after a tragedy like this that there were signs of their mental illness, relatives or friends knew, Good God, he posted his rantings all over Facebook. It’s become an all to familiar occurance here in the USA, sick individual, people know, nothing is done, guns are readily available and then they murder innocents. So so sad.

      June 25, 2015
  23. Thank you for sharing the article. I am totally against bearing guns. I grew up in a country (Japan) with no guns allowed and I don’t get the law that you can shoot if anyone steps on your property either. A few years back, a Japanese student was shot and killed because he was trying to knock on someone’s door to ask for direction. My heart bleeds for families who lost their loved one due to any mentally deranged person can have an access to gun. What can we do when the constitution is shoved in our faces. Constitution must change.

    June 23, 2015
    • I agree, and thank you Fae, It’s a sad and I am so sad for the families of the victims it’s happening much to often here It has to change.

      June 25, 2015
  24. Thanks Suzanne. This make so much sense.

    June 25, 2015

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