The self imposed news black out went into effect early last Wednesday. After three and a half plus years of near constant blogging and 636 posts it was time to hunker down and regroup. We loaded the rental car with some clothes and an ice chest filled with bottled water, Diet Coke, vodka, dry vermouth, and a jar of olives. I pointed the vehicle due west on Interstate 40 and somewhere around El Reno set the cruise control at 90 miles per hour.
A little less than seven hours later we hung a right onto US 285 and made the run up into the mountains and Santa Fe. The hideout was a 50's style motel located near the plaza in downtown. Between lazy meals taken on patios, museums, and rummaging through a mind boggling number of retail establishments I was able to avoid both the local and cable news outlets, not to mention the world wide web for days.
Then, as it always does, the itch returned and we beat a retreat from the land of turquois, silver, and over priced cocktails. As happenstance would have it, I landed back in town just in time for the latest installment of, The Never Ending All American Horror Show and Dance Revue.
Yes, it was just another day featuring a brand new vile whack job with a gun. This afternoon details of the latest nightmare are beginning to coalesce.
Yesterday evening a thin young white guy entered the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. There was a prayer meeting being held in the building, so steeped in civil rights history it is called by some of the locals, "Mother Emanuel." By all accounts he sat there for an hour quietly listening to the Reverend Clementa Pinckney. Then he abruptly stood and opened fire with a hand gun. According to one witness he reloaded five times during the rampage. He told the survivor, "I have to do it. You're raping our women and you're taking over our country and you have to go."
By the time he left eight people, including Pastor Pinckney were dead. A ninth would die at a local hospital later. Three people lived through the attack.
The accused shooter is a 21 year old named Dylann Roof. He was picked up this morning in North Carolina. Reuters reports an uncle described him as--does any of this sounds familiar--quiet, soft spoken, and too introverted. The uncle, Carson Cowles was quoted as saying, "At 19 he didn't have a job, a drivers license and stayed in his room." Others described him as withdrawn and troubled.
Right, so what did Dylann Roof's father give him for his 21st birthday? According to the uncle it was a .45 caliber handgun, because--you know--nothing helps a withdrawn and troubled dude come out of his shell quite like a deadly weapon.
Mr. Cowles also told Reuters, "I don't have any words for it. Nobody in my family had seen anything like this coming."
What they would have seen, if they'd looked on his Facebook page, is young Dylann Roof glowering at a camera. In the shot he is wearing a jacket adorned with the apartheid era flags of South Africa and what was then Rhodesia. Let's face it, someone in that family knew something--at the very least they knew about his attitude toward African Americans.
When contacted, Roof's mother, Amy told a reporter, "We will be doing no interviews, ever." Then she hung up.
Earlier today Barack Obama told the press, "I've had to make statements like this too many times." He then pointed out, "This type of mass violence doesn't happen in other advanced countries." CNN reports that in the six and a half years of his presidency there have been 14 mass shootings.
The NRA will go on the attack within the next 48 hours, howling that it wasn't the gun's fault. They'll claim if there had only been an armed guard at the door, or if the congregants had been packing weapons of their own none of this would have happened.
In addition vicious conspiracy theory rubes will begin posting on You Tube the shooting was a "black flag" operation perpetrated by Obama himself. Some will go so far as to contend that the attack didn't happen at all and the victims, including Pastor Pinckney, who was also a state senator, never really existed.
Think not? Go to the site and look up what they have to say about the killings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.
The guns need to go, but they won't. Too many people out there are afraid they won't be able to have sex if they can't own one. That and the NRA owns congressmen and women like they are nothing more than baseball cards.
It should be obvious to everyone now, too many of us believe the right to own a gun trumps the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. And--those innocent people who are dead in Charleston and dozens of other places are nothing more than acceptable collateral damage when it comes to that right.
Hey, who says the constitution isn't a living, squirming like a toad, document?
sic vita est