The Charlotte News
Tuesday, June 22, 1948
Now that South Carolina appears poised finally to emerge from the Nineteenth Century and remove the Confederate flag from the grounds of its State Capitol, it can undertake the decisive step which would finally help to stem this routine massacre we endure as a nation about every six months or so, the banning of sale of handguns and possession of one outside the home, under penalty of a felony carrying a potential sentence of 25 years in prison for mere possession. Zero tolerance of handguns and assault weapons is the only way to stop the continuing parade of Wild West gun violence in the 21st Century. The facts are a disgrace to any democracy, to any developed nation, indeed, even to the Wild West, which at least had its countervailing vigilante and instant hanging justice to deal with the gun nuts in their midst.
Handguns and assault weapons are not going to protect you or your family from an intruder or armed violence in public. The assailant always has the advantage because he or she has planned the violence deliberately to catch the victim or victims off guard. The only way to protect yourself and your family, if you care at all about them, is to stop playing a movie hero or heroine like an idiot, get rid of the guns that you may own and do not ever purchase one. As we know, the individual who killed the elementary school children in Connecticut in December, 2012 surreptitiously obtained the gun at home from his mother who had bought it for her protection, before he killed her with it.
Handguns and assault weapons of any type have one purpose, to kill or seriously injure human beings. They are not for hunting, and all that baloney goes by the boards when it comes to this sort of firearm. They are for ignorant fools who do not think and, sooner or later, will become the instruments of their own destruction. Pop stars and fools on talk shows be damned when they advocate guns under the pretext of the Second Amendment, which, obviously, they have never bothered to read or consider. If you want handguns or assault weapons, move to Latin America where you can have a field day, until someone with more firepower takes a pot shot at you and blows your head "clean off", just like in the movies.
We are fed up with gun violence. Almost every day we are asked by the media to be in mourning for some unknown American we never met. That is an absurdity. It is diminishing of the national spirit and ultimately, by repetition, desensitizes human beings to one another, rendering tragedy nearly a perverse joke in the very frequency the tragic scene is repeated. Get rid of the handguns and assault weapons.
Talk of tougher gun registration laws is useless. We have had gun laws in the country, in one form or another, since 1968, in the wake of the two assassinations of that year. The only way to end the epidemic of gun violence is to ban handguns from sale or possession outside the home and institute a complete ban on assault weapons, with mandatory prison sentences for violation.
This society has taken a zero-tolerance attitude toward drugs and impaired operation of automobiles for the last 35 years, with stiff sentences and confiscation of property for violation. Why have we not done so with respect to handguns and assault weapons?
You cannot kill several people at once with a knife or blunt instrument. And knives, other than dirks and daggers already made unlawful, and blunt instruments of various kinds have utilitarian purposes, are not intended as weapons. There is no utility to a handgun or an assault weapon. The only persons with any business with these instruments of death are law enforcement officers and active duty military personnel, i.e., the "well-regulated militia", as the Founders meant the phrase.
The simple answer as to why we have not banned these useless death devices is the N.R.A. and its lobby, welding palms of politicians, interested only in perpetuating their own political hides, with filthy lucre in the form of campaign donations. To hell with that and to hell with their crocodile tears every time one of these tragedies occurs. We recommend voting any politician out of office if he or she dares to advocate "gun rights" and does not advocate an absolute ban on handguns and assault weapons.
Guns of any type have no recognized utility in the 21st Century, have not since the 19th Century. We are not, and have not been since before 1900, a hunter-gatherer society, not even in the remotest regions of the country. Supermarkets abound.
Those who advocate gun ownership have blood on their hands and are aiders and abettors to the type of mass violence which took place this past week in Charleston. Those who so publicly and adamantly advocate "gun rights" ought be prosecuted for aiding and abetting such gun violence.
Don't talk self-righteously about racism and the Confederate flag if you advocate guns. That is to avoid the ultimate issue and dwell on ephemera concocted, in this instance, by the man-boy who did the violence. Racists target specific individuals for perceived specific acts, as in lynching, do not usually engage in indiscriminate violence of this type. By dwelling on these self-promoted aspects of the individual's persona, he is glorified in his own self-immersed image, carefully created and scripted recently for public consumption after the fact. A racist persona and the Confederate flag were just the self-brainwashing excuses, by way of indirection away from himself, of a young individual who had obviously lost touch with all reality, had lost all meaning in life, who was seeking ultimately only to kill himself, and resorted to the rationale which nearly all of the mass killers do, to provide themselves with the inescapable excuse, by killing first others, to overcome finally the survival instinct and commit suicide. In this instance, the man-boy failed in his ultimate "mission", to kill himself. As a witness recounted, he put the gun to his head and pulled the trigger but was out of bullets, having exhausted them on his nine victims.
Ironically, a person who might have helped him find the self-worth he needed to reverse his downward spiral in life, the Reverend Clementa Pinckney
The man-boy with the gun appears to have been living out a movie of some description, one in which he was the vainglorious character set to eliminate himself in some twisted final act of self-martyrdom, of self-immolation, while leaving one witness alive to tell the story. In the end, racist verbiage in his "manifesto" and racist comments at the scene were merely part of his recently adopted escape vehicle, a persona, a myth he created deliberately, a role as in a movie—but obviously not one which he had lived, by all accounts of those close to him, including that of his close black friend. Racism does not develop in a period of six months out of the ether. When it becomes violent, it is evident as a driving animus for a long period of time, a way of life, as with the Klan.
This note, however, is not about the man-boy per se, but rather regards the need for absolute bans of handguns and assault weapons and getting over the Wild West mentality, which, in actuality, was never as violent as present-day America, was primarily about pioneering and establishing new lives in the West apart from Eastern conventions of the day. The rest is largely Hollywood fable for mass entertainment. The gunfighters were notorious because they were few and far between, as were the towns, as were the people, adrift in a sea of prairies.
So, South Carolina, do something now which will be lasting, bold and creative for the memory of the nine innocent people who lost their earthly lives in peaceful worship last week in Charleston at the historic church on ground where, in 1820, a slave rebellion took place. Pass the toughest, meanest gun law the United States has ever seen. Begin to free us thereby from the tyranny and shackles of the gun. The potential of gun violence in any public place attacks everyone's sense of well-being and renders all of us subconsciously suspicious of nearly everyone else, while subtly chilling free speech and interchange of ideas in the process, certainly chilling of active, intelligent debate. Set the example in the state where the last fatal legal gun duel in the country was fought, July 5, 1880, and do thereby a true service to the nation. The rest will follow that example.
We read that Walmart, in the wake of the Charleston tragedy, has decided to stop carrying all representations of the Confederate flag. Why not, Walmart, do something much more honoring of these dead and ban from your store shelves, once and for all, in all your stores this time, the instruments which took their lives, guns and ammunition?
It is not interesting or funny to be a character who stepped out of the Wild West, replete with guns. That is for the movies, an edited, scripted entertainment and escape, where the "dead" get up and live for another role in another movie. It is patently stupid in reality to try to live it. How many actors and actresses have ever acted out those movie roles in reality and shot up the place?
Links-Date -- Links-Subj.