Charleston as Paradigm

June 21st, 2015 19 Comments

AME church


As it did everyone else, the shooting in Charleston, South Carolina left me sick to my stomach. So, equally, did the predictable, poorly-timed, shrill and tasteless politicizing that followed, most notably and most dishonestly by our Commander-in-Chief, who stated that such horrors only happen in America and then only because of our lax gun laws, conveniently forgetting that there are already redundant laws in place that didn’t do a damn thing to stop that evil, racist lunatic; also forgetting the recent Charlie Hebdo shooting in Paris that left twelve dead and eleven wounded and another five dead and eleven wounded again the next day; or the Norway shooting in 2011 that left sixty-nine dead by gun and another eight by bomb; or the recent multiple mass shootings in Finland, or Azerbaijan, or Germany, or…

Oh, never mind.

Instead, let’s concentrate on the good that came out of this horror. I have never seen such dignity, grace, restraint, and eloquence, as that shown by the people of the city of Charleston generally, and by the families of the victims in particular. All the natural and completely understandable reactions one might have expected, that I, for one, might have given vent to under those circumstances, such as rage, desire for revenge, hatred, none of those were shown or expressed. Instead, there was only love and forgiveness. If this is an example of the kind of Christianity taught at the AME, we should all join that church. God bless them all for setting such a fine example for those of us who aren’t as good. May God bless the rest of us with equal dignity and grace.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    JP any type off horror like that makes me ill. He is white young and likely declared mentally ill. In my
    eyes he is a terrorist just like the ones with the Boston marathon and 911.

    Tena French Halifax Nova Scotia Canada

  2. Anonymous says:

    Our hearts go out to the city of Charleston we offer up prayers for the families that lost loved ones . I have rode by that church many times going to see my uncle in Beaufort and have always thought what a beautiful church. May God guide them in the days ahead. God Bless Them

  3. Anonymous says:

    Amazing Grace with lyrics.

  4. Anonymous says:|main5|dl1|sec1_lnk2%26pLid%3D932289103

    They held the Church service today. That takes a large amount of courage and grace.

  5. Anonymous says:

    J’ai entendu aux informations qu’un carnage avait eu lieu dans une église à Charleston et que 9 personnes noires avaient été tuées. Lorsque j’ai entendu votre Président dire qu’il n’y avait qu’aux Etats Unis qu’il y avait de tels actes, je m’attendais à votre réaction !!!! Je commence à vous connaître.
    Mais en voyant les images de ces personnes noires, blanches, se donnant la main et chantant en chœur, j’en ai eu des frissons. C’est un réel exemple de courage et de tolérance !!!!
    Comment peut-on avoir un esprit aussi tourmenté que celui de ce jeune assassin à peine sorti de l’enfance !!!! C’est dans de telles mains que les armes sont dangereuses. Il aurait pu également utiliser un véhicule pour foncer dans la foule comme l’a fait dernièrement une personne en Autriche et tuant 3 personnes !!!!
    En effet, de tels actes barbares ont lieu un peu partout dans ce monde et pour nous français, nous ne pourrons jamais oublier ce qui s’est passé à Paris !!!!
    Je me rends en juillet en voyage en Norvège et j’avais oublié le carnage qui s’y était produit !!!! Pourtant 69 morts, ce n’est pas anodin !!! brrrrr……

  6. Anonymous says:

    Let it Be by the Beatles.

  7. Anonymous says:

    If anyone thinks things such as this only happen in America they aren’t paying much attention. It happens everywhere with or without guns.
    As for their forgiveness it amazed me. Even some of the killer’s own family members aren’t being forgiving of him and I found myself wondering how are the victims families and fellow church members able to be so forgiving.
    You might be right Jameson maybe we all should go join that church they seem to be real examples of the love and forgiveness that Jesus tried to teach. Hopefully one day I will be able to learn that same quality the people of Emanuel AME have exhibited where this tragedy is concerned. They are to be commended.

    Nancy Darlene

  8. Anonymous says:

    I figured that you would opine on this tragedy and once again tout your pro gun stance. My first issue with your post is that you skewed Obama’s remark to fit your agenda and had you included the next sentence by Obama your stance would not seem as solid . The quote was “At some point, we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries. It doesn’t happen in other places with this kind of frequency”. And with that second sentence, he is absolutely correct.

    The second half of your post, if left standing by itself, in which you acknowledge the dignity and grace of the victims’ families and of the citizens of Charleston, would have shown greater integrity on your part. Instead you “..did the predictable, poorly-timed, shrill and tasteless politicizing..” yourself, and sadly, after being a longtime reader of your blog, that’s more the rule than the exception. Reading your criticism in the first half felt like the pot calling the kettle black.

    I’d hoped for more from you but in the end you fulfilled all my expectations.


    • Elizabeth,
      I am not the Commander-in-Chief. It is not my job to bring the country together. My job is write a blog, and tell the truth as I see it, as best I can. I found the President’s comments to be distasteful, politically motivated, and divisive. Since then, far better minds than mine, on both the left and the right, have thought and expressed the same thing.
      As for the second half of the President’s sentence: I did not reference it because it is disingenuous. Great Britain, to take one egregious example, has a lower rate of gun crime than the United States, but it has a far higher rate of violent crime overall, and that is in spite of British law enforcement’s deliberately attempting to skew violent crime statistics by both under-reporting or re-classifying reported crimes. (I believe it was the Manchester Guardian that broke that story, but I can’t find the link at the moment.) And when it comes to violent gun crime in America, if you remove four cities (Baltimore, Detroit, Chicago, and New Orleans) from the equation, America has one of the lowest violent crime rates of any kind, of any nation on earth. The reason those four cities are significant is because the gun-related crime there is black-on-black violent crime driven by turf wars over the illegal drug trade. So explain to me, please, how the President’s demonizing firearms brings us together or resolves the inner-city black crime issues he promised to resolve when he came into office?

      • Anonymous says:

        This happened in Detroit last Saturday. Also, Chicago has some of the toughest gun laws of any city and it still has rampant shootings.

        • Anonymous says:

          I could really go to town on the flaws in your logic, your bending of the truth to suit your agenda, and even your use of language, but what really prickled my sensibility was not really the question you posed at the end but slipping in the phrase ..”the President’s demonizing firearms..”
          As full disclosure let me say that I’m not American, but I do watch, read and follow with keen interest your country’s serious problem with gun violence. I’ve not heard or read, nor interpreted anything from Obama that indicates that the actual firearm, that piece of metal is inherently wicked or de monistic. I have heard him say America has a gun problem, that there are too many guns in the wrong hands, such as those with mental illness or criminal records, or youths. I’ve heard him say America has a serious problem with gun violence, especially among blacks. But so far, I have never heard him say that guns are evil.

          In answer to your ill worded question, I really only have one response. Obama HAS tried to improve the “guns in the wrong hands” problem, but it seems your country isn’t ready for that change.

          • I’m not sure how I have bent the truth, but let me point out some things that most Americans neither know nor understand, so it’s no surprise you should be unaware of them.
            First, there are over 22,000 laws on the books at the federal, state, and local levels that regulate firearms in America. At the moment, there still seems to be some confusion about whether the racist lunatic’s prior drug charge was a felony or a misdemeanor in South Carolina, but if it was a felony, he was not legally permitted to have a firearm of any kind. It didn’t stop him. Nor would any law have stopped him. Neither evil nor madness can be legislated against.
            Second, contrary to what many in the press (and many politicians who should know better) keep saying, there is already a universal background-check system already in place. (The National Instant Background Check System, know as NICS.) The problem is that the federal government fails to prosecute people who lie on the federal form in an effort to obtain a gun. (I can get the actual statistics and percentages, if you want; they are shocking.) If laws are not enforced, who is going to pay any attention to them?
            Third, Barack Obama talks a very good game, but he doesn’t follow it up with actions. The societal issues that cause young black men in impoverished inner-city neighborhoods to turn to crime have been well-documented. As a black man, Obama stood in a unique position to help ameliorate those issues, but neither he personally, nor he through the auspices of the federal government, has (have?) done anything. What he has done, by talking about “America’s gun problem” is shift the focus from the underlying issues onto a convenient specious scapegoat. Should approximately 100 million law-abiding gun owners be punished for the actions of a handful of evil law-breakers? If you remember, Abraham argued a similar issue with God, and Abraham won that argument.
            Finally, what very few Americans know is that President Obama has tried multiple times to circumvent the law and regulate gun ownership in unconstitutional ways. Two quick examples:
            Fast and Furious was a botched attempt to cause public outcry that would allow the administration to pass more laws regulating gun sales. You cannot claim Obama was guiltless there because he stated on public television that he had never heard about Fast and Furious, yet two weeks later, he placed all communications on that issue under immunity from congressional scrutiny through “executive privilege,” a privilege that extends only to communications made directly by the president, or a member of his staff speaking on his behalf. So either he lied when he said he’d never heard of Fast and Furious, or he lied when he protected those communications. He then used executive order to pass the law he wanted (a limit on long gun sales per month in the border states) anyway.
            The other example is his attempt to limit ammunition availability, specifically the most popular ammunition in America (.223) for the most popular gun in America (the AR15). The ATF quietly tried to re-classify that ammo as non-sporting so that it might be regulated by the government. When the intended legislation came to light, the ATF claimed it was just an “oversight” that they hadn’t formally announced it as required by law. They also had to back down because of public outrage. Is there anyone so naïve as to believe this was done without the administration’s knowledge?
            It is fine to not like guns, as I assume you do. While I might disagree with you, it is also fine to attempt to have laws changed to reflect your beliefs. That’s America. What is not fine is to lie about the issue (as Bloomberg and Moms and Brady et al regularly do; check what they say and compare it to the published FBI statistics) or to attempt to circumvent the law and the constitution because you lack the clout to influence congress, as Obama has done.
            One last comment: I do not fault Obama for not taking on the issue of mental illness and gun ownership: that is a thorny issue that will take years to resolve and, in any case, both it and the issue of cross-communication between different branches of law enforcement rightly fall under the aegis of state’s rights, so there’s not a lot there for him to do. I do fault him for trying to assign blame rather than trying to heal a horrified nation.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Hello JP,

    I’ve seen Obama’s speach, too. My God – what a nonsense! Does he really believe a stricter law will solve the problem? This time the gun was a present from the boy’s (21?) father. In Winnenden the schoolboy’s father hadn’t locked his guns away safe enough. Criminal minds aren’t stopped by the the mere thought that it’s prohibited. It is really ridicoulous. But although I’m not an expert in politics, particularly not american politics, I’m nevertheless convinced Obama will not be able to pass put such a bill through.
    And I take my hat off to the people in Charleston. One of the concerned female family members actually said to the perpetrator he was forgiven. Imagine. She moved me deeply. You’ve expressed my hopes wonderfully in the last sentence of your blog. It couldn’t be said any better.

    Best wishes


  10. Anonymous says:
    We shall overcome. Deep in my heart I do believe that we shall overcome one day.

  11. Anonymous says:

    by Kevin D. Williamson June 24, 2015 4:00 AM @kevinNR A progressive panic attack begins as the Obama era wanes. If it seems to you that the Left has, collectively, lost its damned mind as the curtain rises on the last act of the Obama administration, you are not imagining things. Barack Obama has been extraordinarily successful in his desire to — what was that phrase? — fundamentally transform the country, but the metamorphosis is nonetheless a good deal less than his congregation wanted and expected. We may have gone from being up to our knees in welfare-statism to being up to our hips in it, and from having a bushel of banana-republic corruption and incompetence to having a bushel and a peck of it, but the United States of America remains, to the Left’s dismay, plainly recognizable as herself beneath the muck. Ergo, madness and rage. We have seen an extraordinary outburst of genuine extremism — and genuine authoritarianism — in the past several months, and it will no doubt grow more intense as we approach the constitutional dethroning of the mock messiah to whom our progressive friends literally sang hymns of praise and swore oaths of allegiance. (“I pledge to be a servant to our president” — recall all that sieg heil creepiness.) There is an unmistakable stink of desperation about this, as though the Left intuits what the Right dares not hope: that the coming few months may in fact see progressivism’s cultural high-water mark for this generation. If there is desperation, it probably is because the Left is starting to suspect that the permanent Democratic majority it keeps promising itself may yet fail to materialize. The Democrats won two resounding White House victories but can hardly win a majority in a state legislature (seven out of ten today are Republican-controlled) or a governorship (the Democrats are down to 18) to save their lives, while Republicans are holding their strongest position in Congress since the days of Herbert Hoover. The Democrats have calculated that their best bet in 2016 is Hillary Rodham Clinton, that tragic bag of appetites who couldn’t close the deal in the primary last time around. “Vote for me, I’m a lady” isn’t what they thought it was: Wendy Davis, running for governor of Texas, made all the proper ceremonial incantations and appeared in heroic postures on all the right magazine covers, but finished in the 30s on Election Day. With young people trending pro-life, that old black magic ain’t what it used to be. RELATED: Behold the Cultural Power of the Left For the Left, it feels like time is running out. So it isn’t sufficient that same-sex marriages be legalized; bakers and florists must be locked in prison if they decline to participate in a gay couple’s ceremony. It isn’t sufficient that those wishing to undergo sex-change surgery be permitted to go their own way; the public must pay for it, and if Bruce Jenner is still “Bruce” to you, you must be driven from polite society. It isn’t enough that the Left dominate the media and pop culture; any attempt to compete with it must be criminalized in the name of “getting big money out of politics.” Not the New York Times’s money, or Hollywood’s money, or the CEO of Goldman Sachs’s money — just the wrong sort of people’s money. Every major Democratic presidential candidate and every Democratic senator is on record supporting the repeal of the First Amendment’s free-speech protections — i.e., carving the heart out of the Bill of Rights — to clear the way for putting all public debate under political discipline. ADVERTISING Like it or not, you will be shackled to hope and change. The hysterical shrieking about the fictitious rape epidemic on college campuses, the attempts to fan the unhappy events in Ferguson and Baltimore into a national racial conflagration, the silly and shallow “inequality” talk — these are signs of progressivism in decadence. (Mladen Antonov/AFP/Getty)(Mladen Antonov/AFP/Getty) So is the brouhaha over the Confederate flag in South Carolina in the wake of the horrific massacre at Emanuel AME Church. For about 30 seconds, the political ghouls of the Left were looking to pick another gun-control fight, swooping in, in their habitually indecent fashion, before the bodies had even grown cold. But that turned out to be a dead end, since the killer acquired his gun after passing precisely the sort of background check that the Left generally hawks after a high-profile crime, regardless of whether it is relevant to the crime. We might have spent some time thinking about whether law enforcement was too lax in the matter of the murderer’s earlier encounters with them — the South Carolina killer had a drug arrest on his record but was able to buy a gun because he had been charged only with a misdemeanor. But the Left isn’t in any mood to talk about whether the cops aren’t being hard-assed enough. So, instead, we had a fight over a completely unrelated issue: the Confederate flag flying at the state capitol in Columbia. RELATED: Don’t Tear Down the Confederate Battle Flag You have to credit the Left: Its strategy is deft. If you can make enough noise that sounds approximately like a moral crisis, then you can in effect create a moral crisis. Never mind that the underlying argument — “Something bad has happened to somebody else, and so you must give us something we want!” — is entirely specious; it is effective. In the wake of the financial crisis, we got all manner of “reform,” from student-lending practices to the mandates of Elizabeth Warren’s new pet bureaucracy, involving things that had nothing at all to do with the financial crisis. Democrats argued that decency compelled us to pass a tax increase in the wake of the crisis, though tax rates had nothing to do with it. A crisis is a crisis is a crisis, and if a meteor hits Ypsilanti tomorrow you can be sure that Debbie Stabenow will be calling for a $15 national minimum wage because of the plight of meteor victims. If you can make enough noise that sounds approximately like a moral crisis, then you can in effect create a moral crisis. I bear no brief for the peckerwood-trash cultural tendencies that led Fritz Hollings, then governor, and the rest of the loyal Democrats who ran segregation-era South Carolina to hoist the Confederate flag in 1962. My sympathies are more with John Brown than with John Calhoun. Yet Lost Cause romanticism was very much in fashion for a moment, and not only among Confederate revanchists; Joan Baez, no redneck she, made a great deal of money with her recording of “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” in 1971. About every third Western of the era had as its hero a conflicted Confederate veteran, his wounded honor and stoicism in defeat compelling him to roam westward in search of a new beginning. That story lives on into our own time: Who are Mal Reynolds and the Browncoats if not another remnant of the Lost Cause relocated from Virginia to the frontier in space? RELATED: The Confederate Battle Flag Is Far From the Only Worrisome Symbol in America Today Of course the Confederate flag is a symbol of Southern racism. It is a good many other things, too, none of which was the cause of the massacre at Emanuel AME. It is strange and ironic that adherents of the Democratic party — which was, for about 140 years, not only the South’s but the world’s leading white-supremacist organization — should work themselves up over one flag, raised by their fellow partisans, at this late a date; but, well, welcome to the party. Yet Democratic concern about racist totems is selective: The Democrats are not going to change the name of their party, cancel the annual Jefferson-Jackson dinner, or stop naming things after Robert Byrd, senator and Exalted Cyclops of the Ku Klux Klan. Hillary Clinton is not going to be made to answer for her participation in a political campaign that featured Confederate-flag imagery. More Charleston Shooting The Dignity of Charleston Flies in the Face of the Left’s Uninformed, Anti-South Bigotry Yet More on the Confederate Battle Flag Behold the Cultural Power of the Left The Confederate flag, and other rebel iconography, is a marker of Southern distinctiveness, which, like American distinctiveness, is inextricably bound up with the enslavement and oppression of black people. But only the South is irredeemable in the Left’s view, and it has been so only since about 1994, when it went Republican. Which is to say, the Confederate flag is an emblem of regional distinctiveness disapproved of by 21st-century Democrats. Their reinvigorated concern is awfully nice: When the South actually was a segregationist backwater that African-Americans were fleeing by the million — when Democrats were running the show — they were ho-hum. Today the South is an economic powerhouse, dominated by Republicans, and attracting new African-American residents by the thousands. And so the Left and its creature, the Democratic party, insist that Southern identity as such must be anathematized. The horrific crime that shocked the nation notwithstanding, black life in Charleston remains very different, in attractive ways, from black life in such Left-dominated horror shows as Cleveland and Detroit, and the state’s governor is, in the parlance of identity politics, a woman of color — but she is a Republican, too, and therefore there must be shrieking, rending of garments, and gnashing of teeth. Get Free Exclusive NR Content This is a fraud, and some scales are starting to fall from some eyes. Americans believe broadly in sexual equality, but only a vanishing minority of us describe ourselves as “feminists.” “Social-justice warrior” is a term of derision. The Bernie Sanders movement, like the draft-Warren movement of which it is an offshoot, is rooted in disgust at the opportunistic politics of the Clinton claque. Young people who have heard all their lives that the Republican party and the conservative movement are for old white men — young people who may be not be quite old enough to remember Democrats’ boasting of their “double-Bubba” ticket in 1992, pairing the protégé of one Southern segregationist with the son of another — see before them Nikki Haley, Bobby Jindal, Susana Martinez, Carly Fiorina, Tim Scott, Mia Love, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, Elise Stefanik. None of those men and women is bawling about “microaggressions” or dreaming up new sexless pronouns. None belongs to the party that hoisted Dixie over the capitol in South Carolina either. Governor Haley may be sensitive to the history of her state, but she is a member of the party of Lincoln with family roots in Punjab — it isn’t her flag. What’s going to happen between now and November 8 of next year will be a political campaign on one side of the aisle only. On the other side, it’s going to be something between a temper tantrum and a panic attack. That’s excellent news if you’re Ted Cruz, Scott Walker, Marco Rubio, or Carly Fiorina. It’s less good news if you live in Baltimore or Philadelphia. — Kevin D. Williamson is roving correspondent at National Review.

    • Anonymous says:

      Dang, man, I bet you feel a LOT better now! You musta had a LOT of stuff blocking that colon, sounds like–maybe some obstruction? Nice to have some place to evacuate at last, that’s for sure! Keep you from, say, getting a gun(or knife, or machete, or hammer, or axe, or automobile, or airplane, or poison,–heck, a nice chunk of rock has been used since Neanderthal days….) and going berserko on us all! Maybe we need less gun laws, and more BLOGS where folks can VENT! …..L.B.

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