Pain and Anger for Charleston

How many more words can we come up with to reflect our pain and anger about tragedy?

In another week full of idiocy, there seemed to be only one way to keep the joking hashtags and stories of the sheer stupid at bay. There could only be one way that would once again shock senses we thought were dulled out over the last few years. It had to be another mass murder.

To be honest, maybe those are the only two words we need.

Pain.

Though the bullets didn’t strike us physically, they hit us emotionally and despite our differences in faith, those bullets struck us spiritually. Plenty of those who openly share their disillusionment with religion were struck by the violation of the Lord’s home because by and large, they understand the church is as much a social sanctuary as it is a spiritual one.

As I heard someone say yesterday afternoon, even the worst of the worst in the hood know not to mess with the church. (And those of us who grew up in one know this to be true.)

And yet, this wasn’t even about church or faith of any kind. This was about the true human exercise – and a remarkably American tradition – of racism. An historic church that, just as the millions of other spiritual centers around the world, believes so strongly in keeping its doors open for any and all to walk through. Through those doors, a depraved excuse of a man entered to act as his own agent of racial cleansing.

How can you understand that? You can’t. That in itself brings pain to our hearts today.

Anger.

Just listen to the frustration. Just watch the exasperation. Just feel the hopelessness.

And if you somehow can’t understand those emotions just yet, consider these three tragedies over the last four and a half years.

A congresswoman was nearly killed while several others were. Twenty elementary school children and six educators were killed. A movie theater full of people was bloodied. The three perpetrators were regarded by the law and Big Media as mentally disturbed and initially carrying no crystal clear motives.

If cries for tougher gun laws weren’t heard in the aftermath of cases where white Americans were victims in the same way those black churchgoers were on Wednesday night… if the NRA basically said “yeah, but” with every single bullet fired into those people… if there is still some resistance from Big Media (if not belated introspection) to this idea that a vile and despicable human being is anything but a vile and despicable human being… well, shit.

Besides condemnation of a broken system that can create such tragedy, what then, does the tragedy in Charleston get from us?

We know that there’s a structure that doesn’t give a damn about black people, but that is even more apparent when the same structure did next to nothing for others. That’s pretty damning when you think about it.

Beyond basic human decency, when you think about that disconnect, you should be angry.

I know I am.

Recommended: His Motive is Known – Shakesville

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