A Sea Change Comes to America

Who knew? After all this time and after so much blood and so much suffering; after Columbine and Aurora and Tucson and Virginia Tech and Isla Vista and Fort Hood and Sandy Hook and countless other places that have been scarred forever; after so many “nine-year-old shoots four-year-old” tragedies; after so many husbands have shot their wives; after a sitting congresswoman was shot and gravely wounded; after presidents and senators and civic leaders have been taken down by gunfire; after so many sad and lonely people have taken their own lives, impulsively, in moments of profound despair, with guns. Who knew, after all of that, that what it would take for America to finally see the light was a deranged gunman shooting nine worshipers dead inside a 199-year-old South Carolina church?

Who knew that Charleston, South Carolina, would be the place, the incident that triggered a tidal wave of public sentiment aimed squarely at the real a real problem in this nation?  Who knew that upwards of 40,000 fatalities and countless injuries a year were not enough? Who knew that the deaths of babies and moms and 12-year-olds and grandmothers were not enough?  Who knew that a preposterous number of so-called “accidental shootings” every year were not enough?

None of that was enough, apparently, to compel America to change. But it’s finally come to this: the deaths of a state senator, the preacher at that 199-year-old South Carolina church, and eight of his parishioners, including an 87-year-old great-grandmother.  We now see that those nine lives were not lost in vain, because America has seen that she must change.  America recognizes that she needs to face up to her baser impulses and her shameful history and her tolerance of the intolerable. America has decided it’s time to act and to act boldly.

And so, remarkably, America has decided it is time to do something about this problem, the one civilized people just can’t understand, the one that marks a stain on our people, the one that allows fear and ignorance to ruin the lives of millions.

America has decided to take a serious look at gun control that the Confederate flag may not be an appropriate symbol for veneration.  America has decided that universal background checks will keep guns out of the wrong hands allowing the Confederate flag on license plates is wrong.  America has decided that semi-automatic weapons are best left to those who are qualified to use them t-shirts that feature the Confederate flag are in poor taste.  America has decided that licensing gun owners will help ensure responsible gun ownership flying the Confederate flag on government property is an insult to our nation’s history.

Who knew? America has really learned nothing from this most recent national tragedy. We still refuse to acknowledge that the real problem in our nation of 330-million is that guns are killing our people by the tens of thousands every year.  While I suppose it is admirable that we are addressing our strange historical acceptance of this blatantly racist symbol, the fact is the Confederate flag, abominable as it is, killed no one.

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