Dylann Roof is just the latest example of hate with a bullet
The American face of evil was in clear focus at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina on Wednesday night, June 17. The scenario was all too familiar. A hate-filled young white man gets possession of a deadly weapon and massacres a group of innocents. Dylann Roof took a 45-automatic to a Bible study group and murdered nine African Americans.
Many Americans would prefer not to be aware of the reality of this evil. They don’t want to acknowledge that Americans are slaughtered on a regular basis because of the color of their skin.
Yet several American sicknesses are revealed in this horror. Foremost is the evil of racism. African Americans have been oppressed for centuries in this country. This oppression makes a mockery of the preamble to our Constitution: “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal.” To be honest, we would have to add the phrase, “except if you are aren’t white.” Politicians have used racial hatred to curry votes and to hold on to power, especially in the South. Their lapdogs in the media have winked at their thinly disguised hate speech.
The second evil unmasked is America’s love of guns. Gun worship is rampant. The NRA runs our federal and state governments and strongly resists any sane limits on gun ownership. With no limits, hateful young men like Dylann Roof can easily get a gun and murder anyone. After these horrible massacres, the NRA standard response is that gun massacres could be prevented…by having more guns. It’s like a doctor prescribing colon cancer to cure your lung cancer. The simple reality is that having a gun in your home makes it 42 times more likely that you or a family member will die rather than an intruder.
Thirdly, there is something wrong with America’s white families. Much is made of the problems of African American families, but what kind of families produce young monsters like Dylann Roof, Jared Loughner (Gabby Gifford gunman), James Holmes (“Batman” gunman), Adam Lanza (New Town), and Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold (Columbine)? Before white people critique African American families, they need to discover why white families are producing these young killers.
Lastly, this massacre reveals the extent to which the Republican Party has aided and abetted racism in the South. Before passage of civil rights laws, Democrats were the ones who pandered to racists. Now, that evil is firmly embedded in the Republican Party. White supremacy is alive and malicious—and we know that these people support and contribute big money to Republicans. The man behind the racist website that inspired Dylann Roof to murder contributed $65,000 to a variety of Republicans.
It’s time for Republicans to stop the racist “dog whistles” and stop pretending that hate speech is merely “politically incorrect.” The term “states’ rights” has long been code for the oppression of black people. Defenders of slavery, “Jim Crow” laws and segregation used the term to rationalize and perpetuate racism. Is pandering to racists worth the moral degradation?