By now everyone has heard of the shooting that killed nine people inside a church last night in Charleston. As I am writing this, the news broke that the gunman has been captured. People were shocked that this type of violence, an everyday occurrence in America, happened inside a church. I’m not.
My dad is clergy and I can tell you that the number of violent people who walk through the doors on a daily basis, even sometimes as this gunman did, sit the pews, is astounding. My dad doesn’t keep a weapon but several members of his staff have concealed permits and carry a gun just in case something like this were to occur. In fact, their staff had a discussion about this very scenario the other day.
The fact though that people feel a necessity to be armed is a statement on society in America. There are few places as violent as this country and the violence never gets addressed beyond talking points. People come through my dad’s doors, ranting and raving about a bad marriage, a lost job, a custody battle – or as one person did a couple weeks ago, a wedding time that had to be shift back a couple hours due to a sudden funeral. The father of the bride went ballistic over the fact the ministers couldn’t make it from the graveyard back to the church by the original time (which the bride had already changed twice). People are always going to beat someone, kill someone or rain down their own version of hellfire and brimstone.
There are those who are like this shooter, they don’t like a certain race. There are church members – it is in the South – who hold those feelings. They don’t like blacks, latinos, certain whites, or little green men from Mars who they feel are upsetting their little universe.
What happened in Charleston is a tragedy. People of any faith should be able to have a simple study group without a lunatic who got a gun for his birthday barging through the doors and killing them. Am I surprised? No, I’m not. Neither were the people last night in Charleston and they repeatedly said so in front of the cameras. After all, this is America. We revel in our violence as though its disgrace is a badge of honor. Now, if you don’t mind, I’m going to lunch with my dad.