If you read this, know this journal is a personal space that helps me work out my own thoughts and feelings. I use it to create some sense of order in my brain or to facilitate conversations with people I trust and respect, even if our opinions differ. I have no intention of engaging in arguments with irrational people. I'm not a pundit or columnist. I'm not perfect, but I'm trying to find out how to be better, or at least more articulate. But in my earlier thoughts about the violence in Charleston, I didn't articulate a very important aspect of this event. Actions and issues are complicated; they can be about more than one thing at a time.
These are the victims of the horrifying Sandy Hook massacre. We owed them justice. We owed them some change. As a nation, we were unable to get past our well-entrenched positions on gun control. No change.
These are the victims of the Charleston tragedy. There is an obvious difference between the two groups, yes?
That was the part of my frustration that I didn't articulate well. My anger and cynicism tell me that, if our country could not come together when white children are murdered how can we expect them to really dedicate themselves to political change when the victims were not white. Specifically, when they were black.
Please, please stop with any insistences that this was a crime about religion. It's disrespectful and distracting. The murderer looked his victims in their eyes and told them he was ending their lives because they were black. There were no addendums to his statement. A known racist committed a violent act against a group of people he hated. Individuals he hated, even after he'd spent time with them and had opportunities to realize their humanity.
This is a complicated issue, that's certainly true. Our nation is a violent one that has had no success at addressing the issue of gun violence. We are in the middle of a heated national conversation/crisis about racism - one that many will not engage in (or admit exists).
These issues collide with one another daily, but in this case it happened in a place of worship. It happened to people that it's hard for the media to smear or try to make guilty of their own murders. It's messy.
The best way to honor the dead, in all cases, is to remember their lives mattered. Or matter. They were individuals and not symbols. We owe them respect. We owe them honest conversations. We owe them change. I believe there are too many guns in this country. I believe that fervently, but I fear I have no voice. I am sometimes afraid to speak. I fear what voice I have will be silenced by those with louder voices. I am broken hearted.
I believe our country is not confronting the many-tentacled issue of racism because we don't want to believe we are racist. I see voices around me being shouted down daily. I continue to try to understand how I can be a real ally. I feel helpless. I am broken hearted.
That's where I stand today. I'm no closer to any revelation. I just woke up from my sleep because my dreams were violent and they took me to a dark place. I'm sure I said all of this wrong. I fear everything I say is not articulate enough.
This is a nation that takes great care to honor their dead, unless we kill them ourselves. Then we have trouble finding the right ways.