As the City of Charleston buries it’s dead there is an emotional yet misguided response that is sweeping across the country.
I’m not talking about the sudden politically motivated rush to remove the confederate flag from government facilities. It's about time.
Word is that black churches, particularly those in the south, are beefing up their security measures to ensure the safety of their parishioners. Some are going so far as to enlist armed security guards to ward off would be intruders.
First our schools…now our churches. Once thought to be safe havens now serve as killing fields. Now it appears that we will turn them in to armed camps.
There has been a lot of talk since the Charleston massacre about the Confederacy, its flag, and the part they may have played in the taking of nine innocent lives. There has been all too little discussion about the epidemic of gun violence that is rampant in our society and the part the “gun culture” may have played in those murders.
I guess politically it is much easier to take down a flag than to deal with the root cause of the problem.
We are a nation awash with guns. The NRA would have us believe that the only way to curb the gun violence is to add more firearms to the mix. A simple review of the violent crime statistics in every other modernized nation will tell you that is simply not true.
The purpose of the NRA is to promote the interests of gun manufacturers and gun enthusiasts. There is no doubt that the NRA is extremely good at its job. I don't believe that the NRA condones violent crime or the shooting of innocents. But they are not above using highly publicized incidents like the one in Charleston to promote their narrative.
Background checks for all gun purchases would be a good first start in reducing violent crime in our country. 90% of the country favors background checks on all gun purchases. Even the NRA claims to be against placing firearms in the hands of felons and the mentally ill. But they want no part of background checks. Using Charleston as an example; they say that a background check would not have stopped Dylann Root from purchasing the gun that he used to commit his crime. That is true. But of the 400,000 gun related deaths that have occurred in this country since 9/11; 40% of them were committed by persons who would have failed simple background checks and therefore been denied purchase of a firearm. Certainly there are lots of illegal ways to get a gun. Background checks is not a perfect solution...but it is a good start. However 40% fewer guns means 40% less revenue to the gun industry. Therein lies the true incentive. Sure, the NRA is all about protecting the constitutional rights of its members. But at the core of that narrative is keeping the lucrative revenue stream flowing.
The NRA mantra is simple...the only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.
Unfortunately the good guys rarely seem to be around when you need them.
And so rather than make the hard choices we pat ourselves on the back for removing a symbol of hatred and violence from our midst.
Meanwhile our churches and schools arm themselves for protection.
More and more guns are sold.
The gun violence escalates.
More guns are sold in response.
The NRA is smiling.