First of all, my heart bleeds for the families and friends of the departed. I can only imagine how their lives will be affected because of this hate crime in the Charleston shootings. And let's call it that, because it is a hate crime. I'm not quite sure what the difference between terrorism and hate crimes are, but I'm going to land on hate crime here for the time being.
I have heard and read some peoples' thoughts on this. Some of those questions are, "Is this a Race issue" I would have to agree that it starts there, yet it is not confined to that. It is a Race issue and more. I can see at least 3 major violations in humanity in this case.
1) This is a race issue at the core.
Only when white people acknowledge that this deranged, young kid walked into a historic church in Charleston, steeped in Black history, and murdered them in cold blood because of their skin colour can the process of healing begin. Only when white people can acknowledge this without feeling defensive about Racism and attaching themselves to it, can this begin to be talked about as if it's not the pink elephant in the room.
There are hundreds of years of history of hate crimes and Racism in the United States, and white people need to acknowledge that without reservation. Racism is a learned response. This 21 year old kid is about the same age as the "new" South African flag which replaced the old flag and symbol of an apartheid country. So he was taught this racism, and it was passed down. This is the core issue. This is education, and education needs to be addressed as the focal point in the spread of Racism.
This is NOT a gun control issue, BUT gun control would help this issue. Unfortunately, guns are a part of the rights and freedoms of all Americans. This is thanks to a piece of paper written hundreds of years ago by a bunch of scared, slave holding, wealthy white business men, who didn't want to pay their taxes. So guns aren't going away, but creating a process of controlling how a deranged, 21 year old white supremacist gets a .45 hand gun for his birthday would be nice.
3) Mental Illness and Medication
I believe that the mental illness issue is another "pink elephant in the room" conversation. I think the future will disclose the chemical breakdown in the human brain in behaviour patterns, but for now, we are in the infancy of studying the brain and how it drives behaviour. I believe that the over medicated society we live in, combined with the lack of nutrition in the food chain has a direct impact into what goes into our bodies, and what comes out. So it's easy to hide behind the blanket statement of mental illness right now because we really aren't prepared to have that conversation. Until we want to look past the blanket of shame that surrounds it, and deal with the issues which literally feeds mental illness, will we fully understand it, in order to prevent it.
This 21 year old kid (I won't use his name) was steeped in all 3 of these issues, and probably a whole lot more. I won't begin to think I can have all the answers and data as to why he committed this heinous crime against Black people and Humanity, but I would think these 3 issues I have mentioned, open the start of a conversation, which is sorely needed.
To the people of Colour who are reading this, I would like to offer you my deepest sympathies. Not simply confined to the Charleston shooting, either. I can't imagine the hardships you have had to face on an everyday basis based on the colour of your skin. I can only aspire that more white people will exercise their white privilege in educating others to understand and address issue of Racism. If the Charleston shootings begins this conversation, I would like to think the people who lost their lives would not perish in vain.
Perhaps then we can begin a new conversation as to how we can all create true equality once and all.