Tragedy Doesn’t Have to Be Politicized


It’s nothing short of vile or disgusting how gleefully the Left has jumped on this Charleston tragedy as an opportunity to advance their agenda.

It’s also nothing short of vile or disgusting how the Right has responded to the death of nine people by rabidly and blindly shouting “2ND AMENDMENT” at the top of their lungs.

Is it absolutely necessary to view this event through the eyes of your chosen political overlord? Do we have to get our pre-created talking points from the news organization of our choice? Or can we just put all that aside and just be heartbroken for the families, the church, and the communities that were torn apart by this act of Evil? Because that’s what it was.

Dylann Roof is Evil. He’s a terrorist. I hate to even type his name, because he had a stated agenda of starting a Race War in America, an idea forged in his mind by the media coverage of George Zimmerman and Mike Brown, and we don’t need to be giving him an ounce more of celebrity. He isn’t a Republican. He isn’t a Democrat. He is a White Supremacist. It’s tempting to call him “mentally ill,” but he could be as sane as the next person—having bizarre, incomprehensible thoughts doesn’t make one ill. It just makes one Evil.

Don’t let yourself get caught up in these discussions. Nine people are dead, and they were murdered in a place of worship by a stranger whom they invited into their church with open arms for a bible study. They didn’t see race. They saw a young man who appeared lost, a potential new member of their flock. They showed him such kindness and love, he almost changed his mind. They were valued members of their communities, some of whom were in their eighth and ninth decades of life.

My church is also called Emmanuel Episcopal. I call it my church, but the reality is that I haven’t been since Easter. We also have a weekly bible study, one which I used to attend fairly regularly. I haven’t been in a long time. I make excuses for not going—I don’t like the church’s politics, I’m busy, I’m traveling—but, in honor of those good people in Charleston, I plan to attend the next one that I can, and to pray for our sister church in South Carolina. I’ll pray for those who died, but if anybody is going immediately into Heaven, it’s those who were murdered by Roof.

That’s how this should be remembered.

32 Replies to “Tragedy Doesn’t Have to Be Politicized”

  1. Ronnie Schreiber

    I’m not so quick to divorce this particular case of evil from crazy. Some people and groups are both evil and crazy. Someone once told me that there are two kinds of prejudice, one is normal, the other is literally insane because it involves believing quantifiable lies. Xenophobia is normal human behavior. He’s different from me and I don’t want him sleeping with my sister. I’m not saying it’s moral, just normal for humans to regard outgroup people as suspicious. The other form of prejudice is crazy because no evidence will disabuse adherents of those beliefs from their lunatic ideas. In fact everything becomes evidence of grand conspiracies. Some delusions need mobs. When there is a group to reinforce those beliefs socially, it can become very dangerous. I’d include groups like the KKK, Nazis, and jihadis as meeting the definition of insane.

    Just because someone ascribes to crazy ideas doesn’t mean they can’t effect those ideas in a “rational” manner, carrying out their plans. Almost all mass shootings in U.S. history have taken place in “gun free zones”. The killers deliberately pick soft targets.

    I was recently discussing firearms with Jack and he said that for personal protection you want a very reliable gun. I told him that I rarely worry about my personal safety, but that I’m often in groups of Jews. The Guardian of Israel may not slumber nor sleep, but I still feel more comfortable praying in a synagogue where there are congregants who are armed. I don’t think that the rabbi will say so publicly, but I kinda prefer that some potential jihadis in Dearborn Heights know that the Young Israel isn’t a soft target.

    • Bark M Post author

      There’s a tendency to describe white mass murderers as “insane” and minority mass murderers as “terrorists.” I think both labels equally apply.

      • Steve Taylor

        An act such as this is an act so far of out of the bounds of decent human behavioral norms it is insane on its face. As for Obama I expected the pandering speech he gave. The same old— crap.Worship what you want ,where ever and whenever in peace my friend. Obama has truly made Jimmy Carter look good.

  2. Domestic Hearse

    I’ll be at church this Sunday, like most always, guitar in hand, and we’ll pray. Pray for those families. Pray for that church. Pray for the community. Pray for our country, for us to be decent to each other, to reach across, to appreciate, and even, to love.

  3. Jack Baruth

    An underreported aspect of this is that he had previously been caught in possession of meth and LSD and that he had considerable amounts of suboxone on his person at the time of his arrest.

    • Bark M Post author

      Yeah, that’s where the mugshot is coming from. He was at the mall, asking a bunch of very strange questions of employees like “how many people work here” and “when do you actually leave” and things like that. The cops showed up and arrested him for possession.

      • Ronnie Schreiber

        It will be interesting to see if any “depraved indifference” type charges are filed against his roommate, who apparently had an inkling something like this was going to happen.

  4. bkl

    I though of three things:
    “He that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.” Psalm 121:4
    ” ‘Vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord. I will repay.’ ” Romans 12:19
    And a favorite saying of the woman who taught me the above…”God has no hands but ours.”
    So. while the perpetrator gets ready to rot in health I beg you go to church synagogue white mask go to Bible study , attend your house of worship, but, above all….practice your faith in peace. Please practice your faith in peace

  5. michal

    thank you Bark M. for a very well stated and refreshing POV. Politics on this started from the time of the shooting. Not giving anyone a chance to even being to process, grieve or give respect. Getting a political shot at your ‘enemy’ (fellow American) is now more important then giving the dead a chance to RIP.

  6. jz78817

    I just hope the NRA doesn’t respond the way they did after Sandy Hook. Better to say nothing than to have LaPierre stick our collective feet in his mouth again.

  7. Dr. Doug

    Some day, when we are long gone, eye color and skin color will be of equal non-import. Racism will be dead, simply marking a time in history that we fouled with our collective lack of basic human decency.
    Future humans will learn from our tragic mistakes and misplaced focus on self over the plight of others. Their lives will be far improved for it.
    Too bad for us that will be their then and this is our now. But we have earned it-yes we have.

    Teach your/our children……..

  8. Pch101

    It isn’t politicizing anything to point out that guns make people more lethal.

    If guys like this had the same bad attitudes and/or mental problems but were armed only with slingshots and some whipped cream, then they would do less damage — the murder rate would not be zero, but it would be lower than what it is. This should such an obvious point that it isn’t even necessary to state it, yet here we are…

    • Ronnie Schreiber

      Humans make guns lethal, not the other way around. Most of the genocide in Burundi was effected with machetes, not guns.

      The worst school massacre in U.S. history took place in Bath, Michigan in 1927, after the perp spent a year wiring the school with explosives.

      If someone is evil or crazy enough to think, “I’m gonna go kill a bunch of people”, do you think lack of access to a gun is going to stop them?

  9. kvndoom

    This isn’t a gun issue. This isn’t a religious issue. It’s not even a race issue.

    I think Orwell just needs to be paraphrased to sum up the whole deal. “All humans are fucked up, but some humans are more fucked up than others.”

      • kvndoom

        What you call a cop-out, I call accepting the proven truth. For as long as humans have roamed this earth, they have killed each other. Sometimes solo, sometimes en masse. So short of extinction, tell me how we stop the killing? Folks can pray all day long, but I’ve yet to see prayer stop a bullet. People pray because they are acknowledging their helplessness and want someone else to fix the world.

        If we start a “lock up crazy people” campaign, where does it begin and end? Who decides the definition of “crazy?” I personally think anyone who believes in a magic city in the sky where people fly around with wings and blow trumpets is a wee bit crazy, but obviously billions of folks disagree. Does that therefore make me the crazy one? Every religion can’t be right, since so many contradict. So who’s right and who’s wrong? And if you’re wrong, are you crazy? What’s the punishment? Asylum? Euthanasia?

        I work for War Inc. and it pays the bills, but it’s a weird thing to know how profitable it is for strangers to kill strangers. There’s no profit in peace.

        I don’t care for guns, but I respect their usefulness as tools. But you only hear about them when they get used as weapons. Taking guns away solves nothing. Then those who wish to kill will resort to explosives or knives or stones or whatever the hell else they can get their hands on. That’s what they used to do before guns were available. Human nature hasn’t changed.

        So please, counter my cop-out by telling me what needs to be done. Because I can’t see any black or white to even define the problem, much less solve it.

        • WiredChuck

          Honest question: can you name another industrialized nation that has the same level of mass-killing as the United States? I’m not including genocide or ethnic cleansing, but individuals walking into a public place and killing and injuring large numbers of people.

          Perhaps the answer lies in looking at what other nations are doing with regard to mental health, social services, gun control, law enforcement, etc. that leads to them having far fewer incidents of this. Or do you think we simply have more fucked you people in the U.S. than other industrialized nations?

          • kvndoom

            Good question! I think we are more apt to scream “you’re taking away our freedom!” in this country when social changes are proposed.

            And maybe that goes back to the revolutionary war, abolition, the civil rights movements, women’s suffrage, etc.! America has a lot of fighting for rights and equalities in a very short period of time. I almost dare say we industrialized in spite of ourselves. Even now non-heterosexuals are fighting for recognition, but their struggle at least isn’t a bloody one.

            Point is, we might be more resistant to change (I’ve hated using that word since 2008) simply due to having to fight for every crumb we get. And maybe such an issue as reasonable gun control (“reasonable” being yet another term which needs better definition) automatically triggers feelings of oppression.

            The government is scared of visibly pissing off too many people at once, so it walks on pins and needles instead of making sweeps when necessary. Instead it does lots of underhanded and behind the door Shit that the people don’t notice till it’s too late. And politicians care more about re-election than helping people, so they never want to endanger their next term.

            Then there’s also the money angle to treating mental illness when there’s no crime attached to it, and that’s a huge can of worms. Not to mention having to discern what is true mental illness, and what is just pure evil? Can a child be born truly evil?

    • Pch101

      Right. Some people die of heart attacks, therefore cancer is no big deal and there’s no need for a cure.

      Incidentally, the US homicide rate is more than five times higher than Austria’s. Winning!

  10. WiredChuck

    Perhaps this would not be politicized if the right could call it what it is – an act of racist terrorism – instead of staring at the evidence we all see and saying “we cannot know his motives.” Perhaps would not be politicized if the left could see that sensible and effective gun control, though necessary, is not the panacea some believe it to be. And maybe it would not be politicized if mass shootings like these have not become commonplace, and our reactions to them impotent.

    Yes, let us grieve for and pray for and sing the praises of those who died. But let’s truly honor them by coming together collectively to demand a comprehensive approach to making sure such acts of terrorism do not happen with such regularity. What does that mean? I do not know. But I am willing to do my part, should someone decide to lead.

    If Dylann Roof were a Muslim killing in the name of Allah, we as a nation would rise and demand action. We would demand retribution. We would demand our elected leaders protect us. His actions would, rightly, be called what they are – an act of terrorism. And they would bring a response.

    Instead, we collectively shrug our shoulders, utter platitudes, and go on with our lives. We as a society talk a good game, but ultimately, no one truly cares. Sandy Hook proved that.

    No one is politicizing the killings in South Carolina. We are doing something far worse. We are making theater of it.

  11. Don Curton

    We live in a 24 hr+ news cycle where everything – EVERYTHING – is politicized and discussed ad naseum. And our usually filters – racism, sexism, celebrity-ism – are forced onto situations that may or may not apply.

    Yes, the killer was motivated by some extreme white supremacy racism. That doesn’t mean Fox news is racist, or that all white people are racist, or that racism is the leading cause of murder is the USA. No matter what the commentary suggests. It means the single, lone wolf attacker was possessed of anti-social views that drove him to an act of madness.

    Yet one group will use it to smear another group, and that second group has no choice but to jump up and play defense (sometimes jumping a bit early, but it’s still defense). It’s sickening, but it won’t ever stop.

    • kvndoom

      You are exactly right! The problem is how do we get the news without watching the news? Everything, EVERYTHING has to be presented with a damn slant!


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