My heart is heavy tonight, as it has been since I heard the news about the shooting in South Carolina. Here we are again. Talking.
There are a lot of writers who have already put things better than I could ever hope to do. That this is not about mental illness; that making it so excuses--even condones--societal illness, and on the other hand, does damage to our approach to mental illness. That it wasn't just a massacre, and that it isn't unspeakable or unthinkable; in fact, we need to speak, because without speaking these names, and this terrible crime, we have no hope of moving forward, and because someone did think long and hard about how that night would unfold. That maybe it's time we turned the words "thug" and "terrorist" upside down, and used them where it applies. That we might want to compare the way in which a white man who shot nine people is arrested with the way that a black man who was selling "loosies." (Then there was Jon Stewart, whose comments brought me to tears: "I am confident that by acknowledging it, by staring into that [abyss] and seeing it for what it is ... we STILL won't do jack shit.")
All of these are astute observations about deep and pervasive anti-Black sentiment in the U.S.
But nothing changes from one blog post to the next.
What if we knew that the suspect had been inspired by ISIS training to commit his terrorist act? Why is that no different than someone who has been inspired by white supremacist movements, or even more subtle cues about white privilege and the value of black lives?
How many more people are going to have to die, just because they're black?
Why don't we wage war on the real terrorism in our own back (or front) yards?
What am I going to do about it now?