18 June 2015

These Will Likely Never be Referred to as The Good Old Days

Prayer vigil for Charleston victim

You'd think that at some point we'd become a bit numb to all of this. These mass killings. These -- what's the world the politicians always trot out? -- "senseless" acts. But the latest in Charleston, South Carolina really hits home for a lot of us. Nine people killed in a church by someone who pronounces that he is there "to kill black people. Anyone who tells you that we live in a post racial America is a frickin' idiot. But then there are a lot of idiots spouting utter rot today -- as in most days -- and they serve to aggravate our country's problems.

Speaking of idiots, Fox News. Some of those morons have averred that this was not a racial crime but an attack on religion, specifically christianity. Which is contradicted by his stated intention to "kill black people." He further said, "You rape our women and you’re taking over our country and you have to go." Think he was talking about African Americans or christians? The claim is further contradicted by what we know about this scumbag. He was a virulent racist who on his Facebook page wore flags representing apartheid era South Africa and the former white supremacist nation of Rhodesia. There seems to be nothing anti-christian in his background. But the blithering idiots at Fox will never miss an opportunity to cloak themselves in the martyrdom of the persecuted christian. Yes, poor christians have it rough in this country.

Presidential candidate Rand Paul said that we should not look to the government for help in these types of situations. In other words a President Paul would say: "say folks that's a shame, well you're on your own, good luck with that, huh?" I don't suppose a Paul government would want to waste precious government resource on tackling "problems" especially when they don't concern the elite.

It is also predictable that the gun lobby has pointed the blame squarely where it belongs. I'm kidding of course. They hold gun free zones responsible. There should have been someone there, they argue, with a gun. In their minds (they do have them, don't they?) we need more people with guns in more places at more times. What could possibly go wrong? We're most of us responsible citizens who are well trained in firearm use and are only to happy to shoot a wrong doer on the spot. For example, the alleged Charleston killer owned a gun, legally. Wait, that's a bad argument. Anyway if pastors toted shootin' irons they could mow down anyone who interrupts a prayer service with their weapon. Arm everyone, except potential mass murderers. Easy peasy.

It has also been duly noted that most mass murderers are young white males. This goes back at least to Charlie Whitman who killed 16 people and wounded 32 others from a Texas tower in 1964. The list of white mass murderers in the last few years alone is nearly all white. Also, as President Obama pointed out, this is a peculiarly American problem. The young white American, not so much a menace to society as lethal killing machine.

Memorial set up in Berkeley near balcony collapse. Photo by me today.
Earlier in the week Berkeley made the news as six young people fell to their deaths when the balcony they were on collapsed. Five of them were Irish nationals here on student visas.  It was a horrible tragedy. The next morning I walked by the site of the calamity, a solemn experience indeed. In the face of this tragedy I was struck by some of the comments on Berkeleyside a website which provides local news. Berkeleyside is very good at covering local stories, be they about restaurant openings, murders, new high school principals or local theater. However for some reason an appalling number of the comments on their stories are made by malicious cretins who seem to hate humanity as a whole and local institutions in particular. Reading the comments section one would think that Berkeley is a post apocalyptic cesspool run by mutant fiddler crabs. I weep for humanity whenever I read the comments which is why I generally avoid them. But I was drawn to them during Berkeleyside's excellent coverage of the balcony collapse. (I'll never make that mistake again.) Here is some of what I learned from the depraved malcontents who commented: the police were at fault for not responding to a complaint of excessive noise shortly before the collapse; the Irish are rowdy drunks so what does one expect? (what, this is 1903?); the Irish tend to cram themselves in to small places; the Irish come to the United States merely to party; this was really a tale of alcohol abuse; being asked to be respectful of the recently deceased is an abridgment of free speech; and the following which I quote: "Most kids today are nearly savages when outside their homes the result is car crashes, fights murders, shootings, bullying, unwanted pregnancies, and general dissipation resulting in loss of personal respect, and in the end overweight and complete failure." (One supposes the writer longs for the days of white picket fence America where children were well-behaved and attended church socials or stopped at the malt shop.)

If you have any interest in the fair community of Berkeley, California I can heartily recommend bookmarking the Berkelyside website. I also strongly urge you to avoid the comments following its stories, they are not for the faint of heart -- or the intelligent.

I close with these words from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. "I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality... I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word." 

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