On June 17 at approximately 21:00 at a bible study group, Dylann Roof entered the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. He sat there for an hour and then opened fire killing nine people including the church’s pastor, state Senator Clementa Pinckney.
One may ask why did this happen? Racism is still rife in the south and it’s a cultural issue where generations seem to pass down their beliefs. There are reports that the shooter was given a gun as a gift for his birthday. Can we blame the easy-going gun laws? Yes, he may have been able to acquire one illegally, but to be given one as a present, one must question what kind of person gives guns as gifts? Whatever happened to gift cards?
If these are the issues; racism and gun laws, then how does society solve them? First they need to admit they are issues and not everyone will admit they are. People say they aren’t racist and they say it’s not guns that are responsible, but the owners. Well, prejudice always exists, even in the mind, then you need to stop people owning them when they don’t need them. The answer given is the right to bear arms argument in the Second Amendment. It exists as a freedom and a right to protect and defend oneself (enacted because of the threat of the British). It’s a weak argument that those in power have convinced themselves is correct as with armies established (they were still being formed back then) citizens have no cause to bear arms. The Supreme Court upholds this outdated amendment and it has cost the deaths of many, including recently children who have accidentally killed or shot their parents or siblings.
Racism is morally wrong and laws to create equality still struggle to be enforced today. It’s one thing to have a law, but to get people to accept it is another. How can you stamp it out? Things begin at home and school as well as the influence of peers and the environment. The media has a large part to play, especially with the accusations of racism when black men have been shot by the police who were white. This was an expected event; one that the government and the police have been trying to avoid and even go so as far to implement extra rules to alleviate any tensions between the different communities. However, they cannot control what goes on in the home. Those who have racist families and follow propaganda and media dedicated to racist bias cannot be controlled. Many countries have banned such journals, but in the USA the freedom of speech allows opinions to be heard, but it blurs the lines of racism and the freedom of religion. There is nothing to stop racist groups setting up their own religion and use that as a guise. Again the First Amendment was geared towards religious freedom as that is why the Puritans had landed in the New World, to avoid persecution for their religious beliefs, not for racists to hide behind and incite hatred.
The problem is three-fold; racism exists and while humanity evolves, prejudice will remain, guns and weapons are too easy to come by and are not used to defend, but to attack, and the media influences the communities and divides them rather than bring them together. The people responsible could do something, yet either or both ignorance and or arrogance prevent them from seeing the destruction to society they contribute to.
The victims should have been in a safe place; that was violated and may their Souls rest in peace. From their deaths, may it teach humanity that racism needs to be halted for society to survive in harmony.