Sunday, June 21, 2015

A Shattering of Innocence in Charleston

I am having some serious difficulty wrapping my head around this latest round of violence. I am, of course, talking about the murder of nine individuals of the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, North Carolina, including the minister on June 17, 2015. As I'm sure everyone knows by now, a white 21 year old by the name of Dylann Storm Roof, walked in and asked to participate in a small bible study group, where we was warmly welcomed. As the bible study was wrapping, Roof, allegedly, calmly pulled out a 45 automatic pistol and gunned down these nine individuals in cold blood. Not that their ages especially matter, they ranged from early 20's to late eighty's. The reason, according to Mr. Roof, was that he saw blacks as "taking over" and it was his desire to instigate a race war. The police had no difficulty capturing Mr. Roof, who had parked by a surveillance camera in the Church parking lot and left the Church in no apparent hurry. It was after he stopped at a convenient store (and again photographed by the surveillance camera) and used a credit card, that he was stopped a few miles away and surrendered without any resistance. He makes no effort at any point to conceal his identity, Later, when being arranged, he freely admitted to the crime and declined an attorney (though the court will most like appoint one anyway).

I have to say that I've been pleased and more than a little relieved that there hasn't been the usual violence by members of the black community or any attempt by the usual race baiters to get something started...thus far. However, individuals like Obama have already started in about not just increasing gun control, but requiring individuals to turn in all firearms. Naturally, the corporate media is doing its best to push Obama's proposal, but they are trying to make much ado about nothing regarding the fact that North Carolina still flies the Southern Cross and that the fact the Mr. Roof is shown in self posed pictures with a Confederate Flag, which they are quick to jump on, not to mention its use by the KKK and Neo-Nazi's, that it should go. Perhaps they believe they can accomplish two goals at the same time.

First, to Mr. Obama--there will be no confiscating of our guns. No event---real or manufactured---or even "court ordered" is going to result in the American People surrendering their guns. The reasons have been discussed and debated ad nausem going back to at least Bill Clinton's Presidency (and I'm sure would be a part of Hillary Clinton Presidency as well). It has been the subject of fictional presidents in popular movies and TV shows such as "The American President" and "West Wing" as a way assure the People that the forfeiture of their Second Amendment will be painless. Efforts to demonize gun owners as some kind of genetic throwback or as mentally deranged potential psychopaths (especially former military personnel) isn't going fly. The American Public will reserve the right, duty, and obligation to maintain weapons to defend not just this nation from tyrants foreign and domestic, but ourselves, our family, and our possessions from all those with bad intentions as long as this nation exist, and especially after it ceases to exist when it will be needed the most.

As they say, guns don't kill, people do. And societies do. We've become desensitized to death. It's become almost as gratuitous in movies, video games and television shows as nudity and vulgarity. We used to joke about "bloodless" bullets, or phony way actors who feign being shot in the old black and white movies. Today's acts of violence leaves nothing to the imagination; the more gory the better. Video games let players "practice" killing in all it grizzly life like details to their glazed over delight; relieved from the consequences of their actions thanks to the reset button. And then parents---yes, parents---fail to take any control over what their children do, watch, and listen to---especially so-called "gangsta rap" which glorifies brutality, including rape and abuse of women, drugs, murder, and criminal lifestyle, and more to the point of this article, it reinforces a hostile attitude toward authority.

Now please don't misunderstand me. I've never been exactly known for by love of authority, but I know better than to attack, argue with, yell at, attack, or attempt to kill cops. I know it's really not in my best interests to attack other first responders, like firefighters or ambulances since the next time I'm in need of one and they don't show up. I think this goes back to a societal function where basic values are not being taught or reinforced. Threatening behavior toward the police is not likely to end well for you. Remember, the police are rolling up on a situation which they know very little about. They don't know the good guys or bad guys. They don't know the history of why someone is mad at someone else. Aggressive behavior or ignoring a cop's instructions is going to have repercussions. You don't know what scene they just came from (and you have to accept the fact that they are human and no different emotionally that you are). Mistakes can and will happen. Tensions are almost always running high. There's no two ways about it. Listening to "gangsta rap" or watching some movie about tricking a cop or outrunning them most likely put you in a mahogany box and six feet in the ground. Nothing more. Do what you're told and you can be on your way. Don't and you may become just another white cross on the side of a road.

Parents are afraid or simply unwilling to take charge of their children. Naturally, we hear about how "busy"
they are or how "tired" they are. Well, it's called responsibility and it seems to be behavior which is becoming increasingly in short supply as we try to shift it, and any blame, on to someone else or allow the government to take charge. If something went wrong, it always someone else's fault. If we order hot coffee and we drop it in our lap, it's their fault because we didn't realize the coffee was hot; the cheese on the pizza was to hot and burnt the roof of our mouth and so on. People seem to act as if they are "entitled" to this or that or somehow has special "rights" simply because they exist (or, to hear them tell it, because of what may or may not have happened to their distant ancestors or their sexual preferences and so forth). I hate to be the one to break to you, but you're not entitled to diddly squat. All you get is an opportunity to succeed. Yes, there are a few natural rights or Constitutional rights, not many, but basically what you get out of life is what you put into it. However, we've managed to pervert laws and their original intents to get things we think are "free" when in reality, it's your fellow citizens footing the bill for you.

Remember the next time you get something without earning it and think "oh well, it's free. I got it from the government". Well Bozo, "WE" are the government (or at least were before becoming an oligarchy). The government doesn't earn a copper-filled dime. It gets its money by taking it from the people and uses some of it to pay for salaries and such. However, the bulk is redistributed to whom it thinks needs it. So, every time you get a welfare check, unemployment, subsidy, loan, grant, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, or food stamps, you're getting a handout from strangers from your fellow Americans (which is another reason to lose that "you owe me" attitude. You're living off of handouts from your fellow citizens not "Uncle Sugar").

As for Mr. Roof's stated desire of wanting to start a race war, I have to ask: really? Is that what we need? Is that going to make this country or this world a better place to live in? Of course, I guess I have to give him points for being his honesty. Racism is a fact of life. We can pretend it doesn't exist, but it does and it's not solely a "white" issue. Racism comes in all shades not just white---black, brown, yellow, red. It's been around probably since the very beginning, though not necessarily involving skin color. I imagine the first form of racism was directed toward other humanoid species such as Neanderthals or Denisovans. Perhaps it's original purpose was to protect the integrity of the tribe or social clan. Later, it was directed toward different tribes with different cultures, gods, and languages. The Bible, Koran, and other so-called "religious" books are full of instances where some god ordered their faithful to go out and butcher some other group because they were perceived as different. Eventually, it came to be applied mainly to skin color because the color was an easily observable outward representation of the difference.

Perhaps this was, in reality, a good thing in the sense that racism doesn't appear to be a part of our genetic makeup; we're not born hating someone else simply because they're different. It appears that racism is a taught or acquired value, though obviously a negative one. Apparently, we learn a bias toward certain groups, in most cases, as young children and often in subtle and non-verbal ways such as observing a facial expression or physical reaction by a parent or other adult. Therefore, we can "unlearn" the same behavior. How? Well, ignoring it like it doesn't exist usually doesn't work and neither does forced behavior. Even trying to legislate out of existence isn't going to work. People will, by nature, gravitate to like individuals, be it in terms of values or skin color; we seek and find security in the familiar.

I think the only way to end racism is by excepting its existence, and by that I mean excepting that we, as a species, have
differences. Our deep ancestors evolved in different climates and developed specific survival skills and behaviors, however those are minute, even trivial. Teaching and encouraging our offspring to be different, usually culturally or linguistically, are the key precursors in developing racism. By overemphasizing differences through behavior, dress or refusal to accept general societal norms such as educational performance, language skills or other values in order to create an intentional sense of separateness of a group, I think, are the core to at least creating the breeding ground for racism. If you take two races and teach them the same societal values, there is less likelihood of racism developing compared with taking two individuals of different races and teaching them different societal values since this "difference" will be perceived as "not belonging", which in turn, will be viewed, even at the subconscious level, as a potential threat and after all, isn't that what racism is in the final analysis---a threat by one group to another group? Even if these two have differing values, as long as they understand there is no potential threat to the other, there is less likelihood of conflict to develop.

As for peripherals such as the Confederate flag, these really don't have anything to do with racism any more than they do with the real reasons individuals like Mr. Roof murder. The flag does not represent slavery or hatred, though that's what we're taught by individuals and groups with their own agendas. It had everything to do with the Founding Father's original intent on the relationship between the federal and State governments (as an aside, most of the descendents of the Founding Father's supported the Confederate State's reasoning for succession). Was slavery an issue? Absolutely, but it was not the central issue, nor was it confined solely to the South. Everyone understood that as an institution, slavery was outdated and failing; it was assumed at the time that it wouldn't have lasted another ten years. Ultimately, the flag came to symbolize the lost cause of independence. The fact that hate groups or those with mental problems have tried to co-opt it for their own purposes doesn't make it so anymore that neo-Nazi's adopting the old imperial German flags connects Nazism with the Kaiser or the use of the Gadsden flag by these groups makes it a symbol of bigotry (or for that matter, the use of the African symbol by black hates it so) or the original national flag with its 13 stars in a circle.

Now, is slavery an issue with individuals like Mr. Roof? No. Hatred is, so why is it even being brought up now except as another way to divide us and keep from focusing on those who are pulling our strings. As I've repeatedly pointed out, the 1% which controls this country and has turned our nation from a democratic republic into an oligarchy has and continues to do everything in their power to distract us, manipulate us, mislead us, divide us along racial, sexual, gender, socio-economic lines in order to keep the American People (and indeed, the peoples of the world) from coming together and focusing on those who control this nation and the rest of the world. The last thing they want is to face a united people who not blindly willing to accept the "change" they offer us, but are united in making the change we need. I think that's the lesson we need to take from all this; to allow the deaths of these nine individuals to serve as a bridge to bring us together instead of being allowed to divide us.

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