I, like so many, don't understand how a person could be among good people for an hour and then shoot them. I don't understand what is in the mind of someone so filled with hate. Some have said that the confessed killer should not be called "mentally disturbed". I see anyone who hates as mentally disturbed. Not as a defense for an action but simply a statement that those who spend so much energy filled with hate are depleted in their humanness. I am tired of the hatred expressed in social media, on TV, and radio shows--the threats and ignorant jokes about the President, gays, liberals, and anyone that doesn't espouse the same ideals.
I was born in the South. I grew up during the time of early integration. And I was appalled at the hatred shown towards people of color. Nothing much has changed. Racism was still festering and for many years in this country, people were not overt about it. There was forced politeness. But in the last decade, especially since President Obama has been in office, hatred and intolerance of those who believe, look, or act different from someone else has exploded.
I have read so many political comments on social media and in print over the past few years that I have been shocked and appalled at the hatred out there. I know who they are too. They are people that I went to first grade with, people who live in my community, people who I have known for years. And yet to them, I am a Libtard, a socialist, a "nigger" lover. It hurts my heart.
Very sad that such an appalling tragedy has visited our community. We cannot live in a racially divided country again. No more. Stand up and speak up when you hear or see intolerance. I refuse to listen to slurs and hateful comments about anyone. I refuse to be passive when faced with overt bigotry and racism. I want to make my actions clear so that there is no doubt about my boundaries.
I feel numb about what has happened here. Yet, I am not shocked by the events in this city and state that I now call home. It was just a matter of time that the picture perfect post card of a city would revisit its violent past. Charleston is touted as number one in tourism. It is a beautiful city, and there are good people who live here. But there is another side of this old city that isn't beautiful. I sadly don't expect much from anyone anymore. All I can do is try to shed a little light and do my best on this journey to show compassion and love.