In remembrance- church shootings and access to guns

In remembranceI was planning to write about something else today. But I can’t. I hardly know where to begin. I spent most of yesterday trying to carry out my life while watching the news, sharing Facebook posts, Tweeting and making phone calls about the heinous shooting at the Charleston AME church. We are all saddened to sickness. We are again, in America, in shock over yet another mass shooting. And we are numb. But we should not stay numb. Lives are lost every day. This time it was 9 innocent black Americans praying in their church. This time it appears to be a hate crime carried out by a young man who, according to some reports and photos on Facebook, has sympathies to the White Supremacist movement.

It’s unimaginable. It’s about race. It’s about guns. It’s about hate. It’s about intolerance. It’s about domestic terrorism. Racial injustice is among us and it’s evil and hateful.

There is so much to say. There is nothing to say.

The conversation about race in America is too important to ignore. The conversation about the role of guns and gun violence in America is too important to ignore. One of the commenters on a news show this morning said that if you can’t be black while attending church, where can you be black? Good question.

It is an evil act. It’s the act of a “lone wolf” or is it? It was perpetrated by someone who should not have had a gun. His roommate said he had been planning this for a while. Why didn’t the roommate say or do something in time to stop him? Do we just shrug our shoulders when people talk like this and we know they have guns? What is wrong with us? From the above article:

Meek said Roof recently used his birthday money to buy a Glock pistol. When the two of them were drinking together a few weeks ago, Roof began railing about black people and remarked that he had “a plan,” Meek said. He did not say what the plan was, but Meek said it scared him enough that he took the gun out of Roof’s car and hid it in his house until the next day.

What is wrong with our country when young people express those kind of sentiments?

What is wrong with our leaders? President Obama held a press conference today and commented with resignation. He knows we need to do something but he knows we won’t. He knows our leaders have no spine. He knows our leaders run the other way when the issue of doing something about gun violence comes up. He understands and he doesn’t.

The world thinks we are crazed and a dangerous place to live. We can’t go to church to pray without a gunman shooting innocent people. We can’t go to movie theaters without a gunman shooting innocent movie goers. We can’t send our kids to school in the morning knowing they will come home alive in the afternoon. We can’t send our kids to college without fear of a mentally ill student with a gun shooting up the campus and maybe, just maybe, our child will be one of the victims. We can’t even work on an American military base without fear of a gunman shooting up people who have given their lives to protecting us from harm. We can’t go to a spa without a domestic abuser who gets his gun on line with no background check shooting up his ex wife and many innocent others. We can’t go to a Sikh Temple without a gunman who doesn’t like people who are not like him shooting them in his hatred. We can’t go to shopping malls without a deranged gunman shooting people for no apparent reason. We can’t work in a police station without an anti government nut case shooting up the station hoping to kill those he hates. We can’t sit in a restaurant without fear of someone shooting us up or accidentally dropping his gun ending in the body of a patron just out to eat. We can’t be at home without fear of young children getting their hands on a gun and shooting themselves or a sibling. We can’t walk down the street in some neighborhoods without fear of being shot by a stray bullet. For that matter, we can’t even sleep at home without fear of a stray bullet making a hole in the house walls and shooting a sleeping child. We can’t be in a city hall without a gunman who got a gun through a straw purchase shooting at police officers in the building. We can’t be at gun ranges either or gun shops without fear of people getting shot “accidentally.”

Why? Why? Why did this shooter have a gun? He got it as a gift from his father. Was that a good idea given that he may have had some problems? He had been arrested twice in recent months. Why did he have a gun? He had been expressing white supremacist and racist sentiments.

I say it’s crazy. I say it’s time for our leaders to stop crying and whining and saying they are sorry. If they are so sorry why aren’t they doing something about it? For they can if they want to. Why don’t they want to? Questions have to be asked.

We can do better. For God’s sake- in the name of these latest 9 victims and the many others who have gone before them to their early deaths, stop the violence. We are tired of this. Enough now. Common sense needs to happen in order to save lives. Dan Gross of the Brady Campaign has some heart felt sentiments along with some concrete solutions to at least some of our senseless gun violence:

When we talk about solutions, we don’t spend enough time talking about the real things we can do to keep guns out of the hands of the people who commit these crimes. Solutions that almost everybody supports, like:

  • Expanding Brady background checks to all gun sales, so that felons, domestic abusers, and the dangerously mentally ill can’t walk into gun shows or go online and buy guns with no questions asked.
  • Shutting down the 5 percent of “bad apple” gun dealers that knowingly do business with gun traffickers and straw purchasers and supply almost all crime guns in our nation.
  • Educating parents about the risks of unsafe access to guns in the home, knowing that nine kids are shot unintentionally in America every day and in more than two-thirds of school shootings, the gun comes from the home of the attacker or a relative — including the shooting at Sandy Hook.

We need to educate America that guns are dangerous weapons. Not everyone should have a gun. Indeed, there are plenty in our country who shouldn’t for various reasons. But they have them anyway.

It’s not just about laws. It’s about a culture of guns that is unique to America. It’s about thinking differently about guns.

We need to stop being insensitive to the real problem of gun violence in our country. When the Charleston Post and Courier newspaper ran the story about the shooting in the morning paper, they also included a sticker above the headline advertising a gun sale. Really? Cognitive dissonance. The two worlds of guns and gun violence in America. This is the problem with our gun culture. There’s a world of guns out there that doesn’t include the idea that people can get killed by them apparently. Here’s an image of the newspaper. sticker on newspaper ad

So let’s get this straight. When the corporate gun lobby stops all reasonable measures to stop some of the shootings, we have daily carnage on our streets, in our churches, in our homes and everywhere else. And when our leaders subscribe to the idea that they can’t stand up for the victims, the carnage continues unabated. And when we don’t make it difficult for people to get guns or use those guns once they get them, we see regular mass shootings and shootings every day that take the lives of 80 Americans.

As President Obama said, “it is in our power to do something about it.”

“We do know that once again, innocent people were killed in part because someone who wanted to inflict harm had no trouble getting their hands on a gun,” Obama said at the White House. “At some point, we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this kind of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries. It doesn’t happen in other places with this kind of frequency. It is in our power to do something about it.”

Let’s do something.


We grieve with the families and the Charleston community.

In memory of the victims. Let us pause to remember the lives lost. Let us remember the people whose families and friends are grieving and will miss them forever:

Rev. Clementa Pinckney

Susie Jackson

Rev. Daniel Simmons

Cynthia Hurd

Sharon Singelton

Myra Thompson

Tywanza Sanders

Rev. DePayne Middleton-Doctor

Ethel Lance


This article just published by the New York Times is showing evidence that, indeed, this was a hate crime and one of racism. It’s time for those who are in denial, like one of my commenters here, to admit what this is really all about. From the article:

“I have no choice,’’ it reads. “I am not in the position to, alone, go into the ghetto and fight. I chose Charleston because it is most historic city in my state, and at one time had the highest ratio of blacks to Whites in the country. We have no skinheads, no real KKK, no one doing anything but talking on the internet. Well someone has to have the bravery to take it to the real world, and I guess that has to be me.”

In one picture, Mr. Roof is shown posing with wax figures of slaves. In others, he posed with a handgun. He is alone in all the photos, which appear to have been taken at a slave plantation, Sullivan Island, S.C., and at the Museum and Library of Confederate History.

The website links to several pages of long racist rants. Some describe Hispanics as enemies and say that “Negroes” have lower I.Q.s and low-impulse control. The writings are not signed.

16 thoughts on “In remembrance- church shootings and access to guns

  1. J. Edwards says:

    Pretty sad day for the folks in Carolina. What I noticed though is that a lot of these mass shooters are reported to be on some kind of anti-depressant medication. I wonder if anyone has ever done a study as to the correlation between violent tendencies and anti depressant medication.

    1. Yes. There are many studies- some suggest it is possible for anti depressants to cause violence. But I think you are suggesting that mass shootings are due to people on anti-depressants for which there is no evidence. Where do you get the idea that “these mass shooters are reported to be on some kind of anti-depressant”? In fact in the case of the Charleston shooting, there is no evidence at all that this was the case. So if you trying to blame something other than racism and guns for this shooting, you are going in the wrong direction. Read this- You are dealing in a myth perpetrated by those who don’t want to admit that easy access to guns by people who shouldn’t have them is a major problem in mass and every day shootings.

    1. Considering that your source is a far right wing publication with an anti-Obama agenda and Rush Limbaugh articles, I reject it as anything neutral or scientific. Read something else that might actually get to the truth of the matter.

  2. J. Edwards says:

    Whatever the cause of these people’s violent “mommy didn’t love me” issues, I’ll just keep doing what I can in my own community and you can bet I’ll keep packing at church too.

    1. Go ahead but you are an unlikely target at your church considering this recent article about the shooter’s motives- racist for sure. He wanted to kill black people. “I have no choice,’’ it reads. “I am not in the position to, alone, go into the ghetto and fight. I chose Charleston because it is most historic city in my state, and at one time had the highest ratio of blacks to Whites in the country. We have no skinheads, no real KKK, no one doing anything but talking on the internet. Well someone has to have the bravery to take it to the real world, and I guess that has to be me.” The chance that you will be able to use that gun in a church at just the right rate moment that a shooter comes inside are slim to none. You are more likely to drop your gun and have it go off accidentally as has happened.

    2. And further- what’s the “mommy didn’t love me” comment? Where does that even come from considering the reason this shooter killed those 9 black people. It doesn’t even make sense.

  3. J. Edwards says:

    The “mommy didn’t love me” comment was just my way of trying to understand why someone would contemplate killing innocent people. I.E: “thier parent’s did not love them enough or whatever their delusional stem from. Your right, it had no relevance to the topic.

    However I have to disagree with you on the sentiment that I would not be there at the “right moment and time” to stop a shooter. As I said before, I am not looking to be a vigilante. The “right moment and time” for me is when I am there and have to defend my life. If a shooter walked in my church when I wasn’t there and was killing people, I would not attempt to rush in there and “defend” anyone. That is the police’s job.

    As for me “dropping my gun” and it “going off” that is something that will never happen. My gun is carried in a proper holster, not in a bag or in my pocket as some other dumb people are reported of doing. Furthermore, you could take my Glock, (or any other modern firearm that has termination bars or other drop safeties) and throw it against a brick wall all day long and it will never “inertia fire” or “go off” I could thow my loaded pistol on the ground and it never fire.

  4. J. Edwards says:

    Yessir, the article you provided shows many still have a lack of training. The Glock comes from the factory with a 5.5 lb. trigger pull. That is not the lightest pull around but it is definitely not the heaviest. Most double action revolvers have an 8 to 12 lb pull. So someone who is used to handling other firearms might believe it is OK to place your finger on the trigger of a Glock (they always do that in the movies right?). Bad move.

    If you notice in the article you shared, the fella intentionally pulled the trigger. When you place your “booger picker” on the “bang switch” the firearm will go “bang”. This is hard for some people to understand. Even cops. I’ve trained a few veteran police who had bad firearm habits. They are out there. The Glock has no external safeties because the safety you should be using is the one “between your ears”. if that one does not work, no amount of external safety gadgetry is gonna fix the stupid. in the days on the old Colt Single Action revolvers, the old timers carried the “six shooter” with only five rounds in the cylinder and the hammer resting on an empty chamber. The reason for this being that the gun could be dropped on either end and “inertia” fired if the hammer was resting on a sixth live round. They did not have external safeties then either.

    I have never had an accidental or as I call them, “negligent” discharge, (of the firearm type. lol). By following the discipline of : Treating every gun as loaded at all times, never pointing the weapon at something you do not intend to destroy, keeping you finger off the trigger until you are intentionally shooting, and knowing what your target is and what is beyond it, you will never have a firearm accident. If you break the rules you get hurt or killed or someone else gets hurt or killed and everyone involved has a really bad day.

    1. Too bad a good number of gun owners don’t follow these safety rules. That’s a problem. People should have required training with a gun before they walk out the door but that isn’t happening. I think you all should work on something like that. Doesn’t that sound like a good idea? And certainly it would be far more than a really bad day if someone is hurt or killed.

    2. But you did say it could never happen and apparently that is just not right according to the article I provided and several others I read. How do you explain that? They are saying it is not an operator problem but rather a problem with the gun that allows it to discharge easily.

  5. J. Edwards says:

    I am definitely gonna do what I can in my community to educate those that own firearms on how to operate them safely. I teach firearms safety classes free of charge and also give away gun locks for free to promote safe storage. (I get those from the local sheriff who also distributes them free of charge). It is my hope that the more folks understand about firearms, the more they respect them as a dangerous tool that is not to be handled candidly.

  6. J. Edwards says:

    As much as it would irritate some folks for me to say it, I do agree that there are many folks out there who do not have the discipline or mental assets to own and operate a firearm.

  7. J. Edwards says:

    You can bet that if I owned a gun shop I would make it mandatory to have safety training before I sold a firearm.

  8. Safety training would be a great idea. The gun owning public can be diced and divided many ways; hunters, sport/target shooters, collectors, etc. But another division is the serious gun owner versus the casual gun owner. I’d bet that the vast majority of gun accidents, and even gun crimes, are by the casual gun owners. Guns are so ubiquitous in our country, they’re like kitchen appliances. In peer countries guns are primarily owned by die-hard gun folks who are far more likely to be vigilant and safe in how they use, store & transport their weapons. And further, those peer countries mandate such safety measures.

Comments are closed.