Wednesday, June 24, 2015

And the Beast Goes On

Last week another shocking incident of racially-motivated gun violence didn't shock America. A deranged white gunman shot up a church in Charleston, South Carolina, killing nine people.  While it didn't shock America - at least not the white part of America, it did make the news. And in a number of unique ways.

 First of all, when compared to the Tsarnaev case, now winding-up in a Massachusetts courtroom, the counter points seem quite obvious.  Tsarnaev and his older brother planted a couple of home-made bombs at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. When the bombs exploded 3 people were killed and 230 were injured, some seriously. For that incident, a national hue and cry that eventually involved some 3 000 police and security officers ensued. The two brothers were tracked-down. One was killed in the initial attempted arrest and the other was riddled, but survived a police action the next day, before being arrested and charged with terrorism. The resulting investigation saw related charges laid against three other 'conspirators',  another of whom was shot dead by arresting officers. In Charleston, Dylann Roof, a 21 year-old, grade nine dropout and video game player, shot nine people participating in a Bible study session at that city's historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.  Like the Tsarnaevs, he was recorded on video security and within hours his face was on APB's issued nationwide. An Uncle identified him to authorities.  He was arrested in a traffic stop, early the next day, some 200 miles west.  Unlike the Tsarnaevs police were not shooting to kill, perhaps because, unlike them, he wasn’t also accused of killing a policeman. He waived his rights and was extradited back to S. Carolina where he confessed to the killings as an attempt to start a race war.

Given that the dead were all black and the shooter was white, and he told survivors why he was dong it., authorities labeled this a 'hate crime'. Perhaps if, like Tsarnaev's case, they hadn’t known the immediate motive, this would have been called an 'act of terrorism', too. Starting a race war isn’t as terroristic as fighting a religious one?  The mill of ‘justis’ will grind on and  - worst case scenario - another Charlie Manson is born - but we all know he’s just nuts.

 Speaking about ‘nuts’ is the second part of this story, the ‘fleg that made him do it’. For the national soul-searching, this time, has focused on the ‘battle flag of the Confederacy’ that "starry cross" featured on the Dukes of Hazzard’s Dodge and a thousand BassMaster tackle boxes. A relic of America’s great national ‘shivarree’ and ‘set-to’ - the Civil War over the darkies. A symbol of the ‘heart of Dixie’ and the culture of a ‘better’ time,  long-past. America wants the rebel flag removed from the national vexillology and consigned to the same place reserved for the ‘swastika’ and the ‘hammer and sickle’ (not in Moscow - that’s a nexus of nastiism).

The shootist was holding that flag in a photograph, along with his .44 cal Glock.  Pity he wasn’t armed with the flag that day last week. He might not be in jail to-day and 9 people might not be dead. But nobody ‘sensible' in America, remarks on the obvious.  Obama weighed-in on the shootings and he almost said it. But he’s been accused of stealing too many ‘freedoms’ already. It’s seems more sensible to ban that flag than it does to curtail a 20 year old getting a .44 calibre automatic pistol, from his Daddy, for his birthday. It's certainly more 'American' than controlling guns.

The President looked whupped. Maybe he’s just gone up against 'the great national stupidity' one time too many. Perhaps he’s come to beginning to realize the USA might just be that ‘sick puppy’ the Tsarnaev’s said helped them decide to bomb a footrace. But then he’s had a lot to do with helping it become a lot meaner, along with more stupid.