I’m having a hard time with the news this week. I was heartbroken over the terroristic murders at Charleston’s Emanuel AME church, but I felt uplifted by the families’ faith and courage. And I was encouraged by the community’s response, thousands of them walking in unity over the Ravenel Bridge to show that hate wouldn’t win in their city. Then the state legislature found the courage to stand up to bullies and got the rebel flag off Statehouse grounds. So I was still very sad but I felt strengthened by the stand so many people took against hate.
Then came this week. Another angry young man. With a gun. A history of drug abuse. A hate-filled heart. And a belief that anyone who did not share his beliefs or background wasn’t even human — didn’t even deserve to live. Four U.S. Marines and a Navy sailor dead; others injured and fighting for their lives. Women widowed too young; children left without fathers. Damn right I’m mad.
Meanwhile, back in South Carolina, forty or so Klan supporters rallied today at the Statehouse, where the assassinated state Senator and minister Clementa Pinckney, also a beloved husband and father, lay in state and was mourned less than a month ago. They were not only waving Confederate flags, they were wearing Nazi insignia, some of which were included on their flags. They shouted racial epithets. They trampled on an Israeli flag. I don’t see much difference between them and the Islamists who spout hatred and slogans, or between the Charleston killer and the Chattanooga killer.
Half of my family are veterans. They have served in the Air Force, the Army and the Navy. They fought the Nazis and many enemies of America before and since. They too were and are beloved husbands, fathers, brothers and sons. They went to war not out of hate, but to restore peace and protect the families and nation they love. They, and we, and our children, deserve so much better than these acts of hate.