Standing on the backs of dead people to promote a political agenda

The most rancid aspect of mass shootings like the Charleston, SC tragedy is the spectacle of special interest political groups from both sides elbowing their way into the glare of the media's kleig lights to promote their political agendas.

It's become all too predictable; the pro and anti-gun control advocates each making their case against a backdrop of dead shooting victims. And what would a white on black killing spree be without the racialists stoking the fires of hate against white people while piously calling for peace.

And in this particular tragedy, the anti-Confederate flag brigades have seen an opening and pounced.

Last night, Dylann Roof walked into a Charleston church, sat for an hour, and then killed nine people. Roof’s crime cannot be divorced from the ideology of white supremacy which long animated his state nor from its potent symbol—the Confederate flag. Visitors to Charleston have long been treated to South Carolina’s attempt to clean its history and depict its secession as something other than a war to guarantee the enslavement of the majority of its residents. This notion is belied by any serious interrogation of the Civil War and the primary documents of its instigators. Yet the Confederate battle flag—the flag of Dylann Roof—still flies on the Capitol grounds in Columbia.

The Confederate flag’s defenders often claim it represents “heritage not hate.” I agree—the heritage of White Supremacy was not so much birthed by hate as by the impulse toward plunder. Dylann Roof plundered nine different bodies last night, plundered nine different families of an original member, plundered nine different communities of a singular member. An entire people are poorer for his action. The flag that Roof embraced, which many South Carolinians embrace, does not stand in opposition to this act—it endorses it. 

What does this have to do with the shootings? Nothing, of course - except that advocating the demise of the Confederate battle flag can be shoehorned into the picture created by general disgust and horror at the killing of 9 innocents. Dylann Roof is too ignorant to know what the battle flag stands for or even what the Confederacy was all about. The shootings were not an intellectual exercise in promoting white supremacy. They were the actions of an ignorant racist, not a calculating white supremecist. 

But none of that matters. And others on the left pushing their own political agendas include the pro-gun control lobby, who never miss the chance in the aftermath of a tragedy to stand on the backs of dead people to promote their cause. This time, President Obama has joined them:

Since then, though other shootings have occurred, the President has not resurrected the same effort to achieve gun reform, an unlikely prospect with the GOP-controlled Congress.

But other Democrats sought to highlight the cause in the wake of Wednesday's events, in which nine African-American parishioners of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church were killed, allegedly by 21-year-old Dylann Roof, who is white. Authorities say they are investigating it as a hate crime.

"How many innocent people in our country, from little children, to church members, to movie theater attendees, how many people do we need to see cut down before we act?" said Hillary Clinton, the Democratic frontrunner for the 2016 presidential nomination, at an unrelated event in Las Vegas.

"In order to make sense of it, we have to be honest. We have to face hard truths about race, violence, guns and division," she said.

The NRA declined to comment on Thursday on the Charleston shooting.

"The NRA will not be making any public statements until the facts are known," spokesman Andrew Arulanandam told CNN.

Rep. Mark Sanford, R-South Carolina, told CNN's Wolf Blitzer on Thursday Obama and Clinton were out of line to push for gun reform in the days after the killings.

"Too often in the wake of tragedies like this, advocates on both sides of the debate, use the debate towards their own end," Sanford said. "Moving to a large debate on gun control I don't think is what should come in the immediate aftermath, within 24 hours, of this tragedy taking place."

Second Amendment advocates like John Lott suggest that gun free zones are partially to blame for the shootings. That may be a valid argument, but one that shouldn't be made 24 hours after a tragedy like this.

And conservatives who are ignoring the race angle to this horrific crime and positing the notion that it was an anti-Christian act are no better than liberals who are seeking to overturn reality in favor of advancing a political crusade. Dylann Roof hated black people, and claiming anti-Christian motives for the slaying without evidence is counterproductive. 

But the biggest transgressors against respect for the dead and for the community that is suffering as a result of this tragedy are the racialists who are selling their own brand of hate by suggesting that virtually all white people are racist and potential murderers.

There is much we don’t know about this horrible crime, but as Mona predicted, the politicization has begun. Indeed, it began well before Dylann Storm Roof was caught. Writing in Salon (where else?) Chauncey DeVega decried the “racial double standard” allegedly at work in the (hours-old) coverage of the attack, declared that “White right-wing domestic terrorism is one of the greatest threats to public safety and security in post 9/11 United States of America.” and then posited a series of bizarre questions that were irrelevant to the still-emerging facts of this crime. The questions, however, are deeply revealing of a certain radical mindset, one that seeks to use isolated horrific events to offer sweeping indictments against an entire ideological and cultural enemies list (anyone remember the aftermath of the Gabby Giffords shooting?) A crisis, after all, is a terrible thing to waste.

In a media age such as the one we live in, it becomes paramount to rush before the cameras and establish your narrative before the facts get in the way. This leads to a bonanza in fund raising, media exposure, and an elevated position among radical activists. The racialists, who never fail to see the entire world through the prism of race hate, are once again front and center, drowning out voices of reason and dictating the terms of the debate.

It's an all too familiar scenario that we will see the next time a tragedy occurs.

Note: The spellingof the name of Second Amendment activist John Lott has been corrected.

 

 

The most rancid aspect of mass shootings like the Charleston, SC tragedy is the spectacle of special interest political groups from both sides elbowing their way into the glare of the media's kleig lights to promote their political agendas.

It's become all too predictable; the pro and anti-gun control advocates each making their case against a backdrop of dead shooting victims. And what would a white on black killing spree be without the racialists stoking the fires of hate against white people while piously calling for peace.

And in this particular tragedy, the anti-Confederate flag brigades have seen an opening and pounced.

Last night, Dylann Roof walked into a Charleston church, sat for an hour, and then killed nine people. Roof’s crime cannot be divorced from the ideology of white supremacy which long animated his state nor from its potent symbol—the Confederate flag. Visitors to Charleston have long been treated to South Carolina’s attempt to clean its history and depict its secession as something other than a war to guarantee the enslavement of the majority of its residents. This notion is belied by any serious interrogation of the Civil War and the primary documents of its instigators. Yet the Confederate battle flag—the flag of Dylann Roof—still flies on the Capitol grounds in Columbia.

The Confederate flag’s defenders often claim it represents “heritage not hate.” I agree—the heritage of White Supremacy was not so much birthed by hate as by the impulse toward plunder. Dylann Roof plundered nine different bodies last night, plundered nine different families of an original member, plundered nine different communities of a singular member. An entire people are poorer for his action. The flag that Roof embraced, which many South Carolinians embrace, does not stand in opposition to this act—it endorses it. 

What does this have to do with the shootings? Nothing, of course - except that advocating the demise of the Confederate battle flag can be shoehorned into the picture created by general disgust and horror at the killing of 9 innocents. Dylann Roof is too ignorant to know what the battle flag stands for or even what the Confederacy was all about. The shootings were not an intellectual exercise in promoting white supremacy. They were the actions of an ignorant racist, not a calculating white supremecist. 

But none of that matters. And others on the left pushing their own political agendas include the pro-gun control lobby, who never miss the chance in the aftermath of a tragedy to stand on the backs of dead people to promote their cause. This time, President Obama has joined them:

Since then, though other shootings have occurred, the President has not resurrected the same effort to achieve gun reform, an unlikely prospect with the GOP-controlled Congress.

But other Democrats sought to highlight the cause in the wake of Wednesday's events, in which nine African-American parishioners of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church were killed, allegedly by 21-year-old Dylann Roof, who is white. Authorities say they are investigating it as a hate crime.

"How many innocent people in our country, from little children, to church members, to movie theater attendees, how many people do we need to see cut down before we act?" said Hillary Clinton, the Democratic frontrunner for the 2016 presidential nomination, at an unrelated event in Las Vegas.

"In order to make sense of it, we have to be honest. We have to face hard truths about race, violence, guns and division," she said.

The NRA declined to comment on Thursday on the Charleston shooting.

"The NRA will not be making any public statements until the facts are known," spokesman Andrew Arulanandam told CNN.

Rep. Mark Sanford, R-South Carolina, told CNN's Wolf Blitzer on Thursday Obama and Clinton were out of line to push for gun reform in the days after the killings.

"Too often in the wake of tragedies like this, advocates on both sides of the debate, use the debate towards their own end," Sanford said. "Moving to a large debate on gun control I don't think is what should come in the immediate aftermath, within 24 hours, of this tragedy taking place."

Second Amendment advocates like John Lott suggest that gun free zones are partially to blame for the shootings. That may be a valid argument, but one that shouldn't be made 24 hours after a tragedy like this.

And conservatives who are ignoring the race angle to this horrific crime and positing the notion that it was an anti-Christian act are no better than liberals who are seeking to overturn reality in favor of advancing a political crusade. Dylann Roof hated black people, and claiming anti-Christian motives for the slaying without evidence is counterproductive. 

But the biggest transgressors against respect for the dead and for the community that is suffering as a result of this tragedy are the racialists who are selling their own brand of hate by suggesting that virtually all white people are racist and potential murderers.

There is much we don’t know about this horrible crime, but as Mona predicted, the politicization has begun. Indeed, it began well before Dylann Storm Roof was caught. Writing in Salon (where else?) Chauncey DeVega decried the “racial double standard” allegedly at work in the (hours-old) coverage of the attack, declared that “White right-wing domestic terrorism is one of the greatest threats to public safety and security in post 9/11 United States of America.” and then posited a series of bizarre questions that were irrelevant to the still-emerging facts of this crime. The questions, however, are deeply revealing of a certain radical mindset, one that seeks to use isolated horrific events to offer sweeping indictments against an entire ideological and cultural enemies list (anyone remember the aftermath of the Gabby Giffords shooting?) A crisis, after all, is a terrible thing to waste.

In a media age such as the one we live in, it becomes paramount to rush before the cameras and establish your narrative before the facts get in the way. This leads to a bonanza in fund raising, media exposure, and an elevated position among radical activists. The racialists, who never fail to see the entire world through the prism of race hate, are once again front and center, drowning out voices of reason and dictating the terms of the debate.

It's an all too familiar scenario that we will see the next time a tragedy occurs.

Note: The spellingof the name of Second Amendment activist John Lott has been corrected.