It never ceases to amaze me the way many Americans immediately look for something, or someone, to blame for an act of violence. If there’s a school shooting, there’s an attack on our Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. If someone is offended by a word we use or something that’s said, we immediately decide it’s time to censor what we can say to others, in violation of our First Amendment rights.
Now we have a horrific massacre in a church in South Carolina, and rather than accept that this was an act of pure evil perpetrated by a man who quite obviously was looking for an outlet to express his violent feelings we blame a Confederate battle flag as if that sent this kid into a rage, armed him and told him to go into that church and kill.
I grew up in Memphis, Tenn. and quite honestly had as many black friends as white. I played with, ate with and hung out with black families in a small country community. As an adult I worked for 10 years at an historic black radio station as a conservative white Talk Show Host. I do not consider myself racially prejudice in any way and never have. I’d be a fool to believe racism doesn’t exist in America. It does and it travels both ways.
Taking down Confederate flags is not “fixing” any racism that exists. If anything I believe it will stir up those old feelings. The flags are flying off the shelves in the stores that still sell them after this knee-jerk reaction. Those who have displayed them (for the most part) simply do so out of southern pride and they are now angry. We’re so wrapped up in symbolism in this country rather than dealing with substance.
Anybody who believes that taking the flags down will change anything is a fool. The flag isn’t the issue, it’s what’s in the mind and heart that causes problems. I’d be willing to bet that 75 percent (at least) of those taking a stand on either side of the flag debate didn’t even know the flag was being flown at the South Carolina Statehouse. As a matter of fact I bet most of those complaining believe the Civil War was just fought over slavery.
There’s no question hateful individuals and groups have used (and do use) the Confederate flag as a symbol of their misguided feelings. Guess what; there are groups and individuals who use the American flag for those same off the wall expressions. Do we want take it down and never display it again? I don’t think so.
Yes, rather than find the true cause of violence, deal with it and punish those involved we take the easy way out a look for somewhere to place the blame. We think banning guns or taking down flags will fix everything.
That fixes nothing. And the problem with using that solution process is that at some point in time, having not dealt with the problem head-on, we run out of things to take down and blame. When we have to actually do something to really deal with it, we’re lost.