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Est. April 5, 2002
June 25, 2015 - Issue 612

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The Dust Clouds
of Charleston


"White males are the ones who created
this system of death, destruction, injustice
and inequality. You cannot expect them
to repair it. That’s our job."

Now that the shooting is over and the Kumbaya moment is waning, real issues are hitting the fan. As always, boot-wearing cowboys kickin’ up dust…so that you can’t see what’s really important. Now that the shooter has been quickly outed as a lone-wolf racist, other issues are being bandied about as solutions to the problem fade into the sunset. These are the dust clouds of Charleston: the cowboys diverting the conversation, the lone wolf, and the ‘other issues.’

Last week’s mass shooting in Charleston, South Carolina—where a white gunman entered and sat [and sat, and sat] inside the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church before he massacred the nine Black people praying, also inside—is being labeled by investigators as a hate crime. The label has clouded the real issue at hand: guns. It has re-ignited debate over the Confederate flag, which flies atop a 30-foot flagpole outside the state Capitol building in Columbia. Though relevant to the conversation, removing the flag won’t halt murders by fearful white males.

This fear that fueled 21-year old Dylan Storm Roof, is the same fear that fuels Republican Conservatives in legislatures that terrorizes Black people. Week after week, we witness another American killed by firearms in numbers that mystify the rest of the “developed” world. In the case of Charleston, the gun lobby is disarmed of their usual defense, mental health. Roof has no history of mental instability but has been shown to be a quick study—in Aryan supremacy delusions.

You know something is wrong when the judge in this case, Charleston County Magistrate James Gosnell, Jr., spends significant time and energy in the bond hearing directing those in the courtroom to have equal sympathy for the shooter’s family What? If that judge finds no fault with his statements, then think about the BLACK defendants who appeared before him!

As a matter of fact, the state Supreme Court in 2005 reprimanded that same judge for telling a Black defendant in 2003, "There are four kinds of people in this world: black people, white people, rednecks, and n******." There’s no sane person in America who believes that judges routinely demands sympathy for the perpetrator’s family.

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley on Monday said the Confederate flag should be moved from the grounds of the state Capitol, taking a stand on an emotional issue that has sparked sharp debates in the state, and that is a reversal from her past stance. Keep in mind that she claimed to not want to “politicize” the shooting with issues about the flag; she wanted the people of South Carolina to heal—you know: She wanted to “Kumbaya it!” Now, she hopes that by removing a symbol that divides citizens of South Carolina, the state can “move forward in harmony.”

So what does “move forward” mean? I’ll tell you what it means: get lost in the dust clouds, that is, obfuscate—darken, muddy… be evasive, unclear, or confuse. The issue at hand is this killer’s M.O. was race-based. This is obvious to most Black people in America when Black people are gunned down regularly by perpetrators, some who ‘look like’ Roof, some who look like the victims.

Black-on-Black crime is a direct result of guns manufactured by white business owners who anonymously distribute them to any- and everybody. Those guns end up in irresponsible, insecure hands in Black communities. That’s one of the reasons the citizens of DC don’t want guns in our city-state, but since we’re denied statehood (by white males in the US Congress), we are subject to having our laws overturned and re-written. Gentrification in DC also means Black people are being displaced and replaced by fearful, white men …and you know what they bring with them for protection.

What a Catch-22 for Conservatives; they have to swallow the pain of watching their symbol of “supremacy” (Robert E. Lee’s Rebel flag) go the way of “stanky” garbage in exchange for not having to address gun control. Obfuscation. That works for white, gun-toting males. As long as we can stay blinded by smaller issues (Confederate flag in South Carolina), we can miss tackling the fact that access to guns is the root cause that nine Black people were murdered while praying in church.

Last month, we were talking about a white officer killing Walter Scott, a North Charleston resident. You may recall he was shot multiple times in the back—while fleeing—from a white male policeman—who initially used the cover story of “fear for his life” before he was exposed as a liar and fraud, as opposed to the “hero” the system usually gets away with planting in our collective minds. That’s the same story Michael Dunn used when he shot and killed Jordan Davis; the same story with John Crawford, Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin. Do you get it yet?

Heck, a Utah man shot and killed his wife and two young children before turning the gun on himself on Father's Day, stunning neighbors and relatives who said the family missed an outing that day but otherwise showed no outward signs that anything was amiss.

The wife's brother found their bodies after going to check on the family at their home on a quiet, suburban street in Roy, a city of about 38,000 and roughly 30 miles north of Salt Lake City. Who could’ve thunk it? The dead woman’s mother said her son-in-law had hunting weapons, but there were no signs of violence before the deaths. There never is…white males are usually the “law-abiding” gun owners.

You really need to understand—and admit—who the true enemy is. White males are the ones who created this system of death, destruction, injustice and inequality. You cannot expect them to repair it. That’s our job. White males need to work with everyone else instead of standing in denial and kicking up dust. Guns are the #1 problem. If we can get real with that fact, the other issues will fall like dominoes and we can emerge from this dust cloud of denial. Columnist, Perry Redd, longtime activist & organizer, is the Executive Director of the workers rights advocacy, Sincere
that currently owns the FCC license for WOOK-LP 103.1FM/ His latest book,
Perry NoName: A Journal From A Federal Prison-book 1, chronicles his ‘behind bars’ activism that extricated him from a 42-year sentence and is now case law. He is also the author of As A Condition of Your Freedom: A Guide to Self-Redemption From Societal Oppression, Mr. Redd also hosts a radio show, Socially Speaking, from his Washington, DC studio. Contact Mr. Redd and BC.

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is published every Thursday
Executive Editor:
David A. Love, JD
Managing Editor:
Nancy Littlefield, MBA
Peter Gamble