The tragic mass murder in Charleston, South Carolina has everyone talking, and it really has affected our national consciousness. When the ability to find safety and comfort in a house of worship is compromised in such a gruesome, savage manner, one has to wonder how the wounds ripped open can ever be healed. Still, something must be said and it may be uncomfortable for some to read.
Dylann Roof, to me, is an insult, an abomination. Still, he did accomplish something, though it was likely the exact opposite of what he set out to do.
Rather than ripping us apart, his evil may have brought us together as a nation.
Yes, there are fringe elements like him on both sides who want a race war, either for the power it brings them, or the money sure to be generated by the services they would peddle to one or both sides. Their kind must be rendered irrelevant. This does not mean banning hate speech, as it only serves to elevate it to martyrdom, and allow this sort of evil to work in the shadows where it can’t be seen until it’s bred in such manner it overruns us like cockroaches. Instead, we must combat this sort of hate and vileness with the one weapon at our disposal powerful enough to not only bring those like Dylann Roof to justice, but expose them for what they really are.
The light of truth and love must now be shone upon everyone who subscribes to and endorses this sort of toxic behavior.
We cannot, as Americans, attempt to ban or erase hate speech from our nation. If we do this, we become no better than those who wish to impose the tyranny and oppression of bigotry upon us all. We must, as citizens, collectively elevate ourselves above the anger and hatred that such a small segment of our society embraces as acceptable and useful. We are, as a people, better than this sort of behavior, and the services, memorials, vigils, and peaceful but spirited debate about the causes and solutions to this sort of tragedy are not only a natural byproduct of this tragedy, it is exactly what we need.
For white Americans, what is needed is a critical look at our own house. Too many of us have screamed about the behavior of blacks in this country, and have been pointing the fingers. Roof’s evil deed aimed the spotlight squarely back on the skeletons in our own closet. Now is the time for us to look at that closet and do some house cleaning. How on earth can we possibly lecture one subset on their behavior when someone of our subset admits to law enforcement he wanted to start a race war? It is the height of hubris and hypocrisy to claim a moral mantle on this issue. To those who claim to be such cultural authority figures that they see fit to go off on another rant about how white culture is so superior, they would do well to recognize that before one can prattle on about one’s superiority, one must be absolutely certain that the evil of another not come out paint us with such a broad stroke.
Dylann Roof’s sort of evil is doing something no amount of political grandstanding or debate could ever do – it’s forcing us white Americans to take a long look in the mirror and think about what we can do to be the solution to the problem. Until we do that, we have absolutely zero room to complain that others aren’t doing their part.
So yes, this young man is a monster, a vile, hateful monster, but the Almighty does use evil to serve a purpose, and perhaps, just perhaps, that purpose was to remind us that pride truly goeth before a fall. This isn’t about “white guilt,” but instead the basic outrage all Americans, all human beings should feel for this violation of one of our society’s most cardinal rules, that any house of worship is a safe haven, a place of refuge in a ever maddened world. For the sake of our nation, we must see this violation as a call to arms to expose those who see a house of worship as little more than another target in a du jure paramilitary campaign of hate.
For those of us in white America, our pride will be our undoing unless we use Charleston, South Carolina as a rallying cry for change in our own backyard. Let us all pay respects and tribute to the memory of those nine souls who perished at a murderer’s hand not as victims, but as martyrs to the cause of peace, harmony, and the pursuit of a nation which we can, regardless of race, creed, or gender, ultimately be proud of. Those before us who paid with their lives for this dream would surely expect nothing less.