Why do black lives only seem to matter when white people take them? Why does the president of the United States think it’s proper to take a horrible racial tragedy in Charleston South Carolina as an excuse to bash America as the violence capital of the “advanced” world, and a prop for Democrats’ lust for gun control legislation in a state that already has it?
Last year 82 people were shot over the Fourth of July weekend in Chicago. 16 of them died. The victims and the shooters were black.
Now two 15-year-olds have already been shot in a single Chicago neighborhood in two days.
These are tragedies every bit as terrible as what took place in a church in Charleston, but the mass shootings of black people doesn’t attract much national attention when white people aren’t involved.
Chicago’s bloody weekends show us that the politicians and reporters haven’t turned their attention to Charleston because they care about dead black people.
They are there for the psychotic killer, Dylann Storm Roof, not for his victims. They are there for a Southern state with a Republican governor who can be safely blamed the way that their Mayor of Chicago can’t. They are there to use the voiceless dead as convenient props in their campaign for gun control – in a state that already has some of the toughest gun control laws in the South. They don’t care about black people. They care about their political agendas.
Obama made that clear when he blamed Republicans for the shootings in his statement. The formatting of the statement on the White House website with its paragraphs about healing and the church in small print and the call for gun control and accusations of racism set out in giant bold type show with stark clarity what the president’s priorities are.
His priority is not, “Now is the time for mourning and for healing.” It is, “Someone who wanted to inflict harm had no trouble getting their hands on a gun” and “this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries” to impose his burden of collective guilt on all Americans.
By complaining that “the politics in this town foreclose a lot of those avenues”, Obama blamed the Charleston shootings on Republicans even as he was hypocritically calling for “mourning and healing.” Six and a half years of divisive politics and disregard for representative government should show that the last thing Barack Obama wants is a national healing.
It is a shameless new frontier in the political exploitation of a human tragedy diminishing both the black victims and their black and white mourners alike. But for Obama, politics is the priority. The mourning is secondary. And forget about the healing.
Obama and Hillary insist that the country needs gun control, but what it really needs is a coming together of its ordinary citizens. It isn’t just Charleston that needs a new unity. It’s Democratic cities Chicago, Baltimore and Detroit – all centers of violence, all zones where strict gun laws rule that need it as well.
The world’s worst mass shootings have happened in other advanced societies – not America as Obama claims. They happen in countries like Norway, a social democracy, France, a country ruled by anti-gun socialists and South Korea. Making guns hard to get does not stop a determined killer. It prevents his victims from stopping the rampage. Dylaan Roof stopped to reload his gun 5 times in the Charleston AME Church. If only one of the bible study members had possessed a firearm, most of the victims would still be alive. The demonization of firearms takes place in societies that let go of personal responsibility. It leaves even law enforcement helpless down to the disarmed Paris police officer cringing before the heavily armed Charlie Hebdo Jihadists and the fumbling Norwegian police who let Breivik kill 69 people in one shooting before he was stopped.
Despite Obama’s slander of the country of which he is the putative president, the difference between America and the rest of the world is not that they have mass shootings and we don’t. Mass shootings have taken place in European countries with very tough gun laws. The difference is that when two terrorists with assault rifles dressed in body armor came for the Mohammed cartoonists in Texas, they were stopped by a middle-aged man with a handgun. Or when a jihadist beheaded a woman in Oklahoma and was slicing off the head of another, he was stopped by an individual who appeared with a rifle and took the law into his own hands.
America is a country where it is easier to buy a gun and where it is easier to stop an armed gunman. The victims in the church followed the law in South Carolina and didn’t bring their guns into the church.
The gunman didn’t follow the law and killed them.
America is a nation with a boundless generosity of spirit as we have seen in Charleston and with leaders who are unworthy of their people as we have seen in Washington D.C.
Hillary Clinton decided to use the tragedy in her stump speech, insisting, “In the days ahead, we will again ask what led to this terrible tragedy and where we as a nation need to go. In order to make sense of it, we have to be honest. We have to face hard truths about race, violence, guns and division.”
The hard truth that Hillary does not want to face is that our division does not come from disturbed lone gunmen, but from politicians like her who turn every tragedy into a campaign speech. Hillary, who ran a divisive racial campaign against Obama, now wants to lecture the country on race and division.
Obama and Hillary managed to pull off a divisive racial campaign within their own party and now they sound as if Dylann Storm Roof represents a racist nation that needs their hypocritical lecturing.
While people in Charleston, black and white, have generously come together, Obama and Hillary selfishly pursue a divisive attack on the Second Amendment and their usual divisive racial program.
Obama paints America as a terrible place of mass shootings that is, as usual in his skewed view of the country, substantively worse than the rest of the world. Unlike the mass shootings in Europe, our mass shootings are a burden of collective guilt that he uses to reinforce a negative image of America. And, unlike the mass shootings in Chicago or Detroit, they are also a burden of collective racial guilt.
The solution to gun violence won’t be found in waging war on the Bill of Rights. The Second Amendment does not kill people. America is not a violent place because of the Constitution.
And the solution can’t be and won’t be found in the rejection of personal responsibility.
Personal responsibility means accepting that Dylann Storm Roof was responsible for his actions, as the gang members in Chicago are responsible for their actions and as we are all responsible for our actions.
And it also means believing that black lives and all lives matter everywhere; not just when they’re convenient for scoring political points.
The life of a black woman killed in a church by a white gunman should not matter any less than the life of a black woman taken by a black gang member in Chicago over another bloody weekend.
To send any other kind of message is divisive and only contributes to the problem.
No group of worshipers should ever be massacred in a church, but the best way to fight violent bigots is not by pursuing divisive political programs. It is by uniting law abiding citizens against violence and hate.
True leaders do not respond to tragedy by dividing the nation along the lines of race or into the camp of those who believe in the Bill of Rights and the camp of those who do not. These divisive instincts have only helped lead to a fractured society in which violent killers filled with anger and hate proliferate.
There was a time when Americans looked to Obama for unity. Unfortunately he chose the path of division. Hillary had the opportunity to urge unity among Americans after this horrible massacre, chose instead to put her own agenda first and subordinate the tragedy to the talking points of her political campaign.
If the politicians exploiting the Charleston shootings really care when black people are murdered, they will have the opportunity to show it this weekend in Chicago. And if they remain silent and unheeding, then they will have demonstrated that they don’t really care about the victims in Charleston. At least not that much.