To call the most recent tragedy in South Carolina a hate crime – as some media types have done – or to treat it with inward looking labels of intolerance, man’s inhumanity to man, racial bigotry, severe prejudice, class bias, etc., is to cover the ordeal with soft soap and furnish a snow job. The mass shootings that have made startling headlines not just in the USA but around the globe all seem to be aimed at those who can’t fight back; church-goers, school children, students, all unarmed and unprepared for gun violence. It follows that the perpetrators are not just mentally unstable and lacking human decency but the lowest in the ranks of cowards.
A similar class of cowards is being recruited by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant. Given that they are armed with American weapons granted to Iraqi forces and then abandoned, it would seem that a new wild west scene is being opened up with some delight in the Middle East. The question arises as to how the ISIL recruits are to be treated when they are eventually brought to justice. Those same recruits are labelled terrorists and guilty of public beheadings (to mention but one international crime).
As in the original wild west, law enforcement – using brave souls, the rule of law and posses – eventually brought some order to the west. Would the “eye for and eye” old testament justice suit in the Middle East? Why are those perps who resort to gun violence against the unarmed in churches and schools not labelled homeland terrorists? Are they not every bit as guilty of terrorism and crimes against humanity as their ISIL brethern? Semantics? Perhaps. The children of Sandy Hook and the congregation at the Emanuel church felt terrorised!
It is variously reported that the perps are recruited via internet sites such as KKK, Aryan brotherhood, etc. and that there are some 800 such hate groups plying their poisonous doctrine world wide via those sites. Are they not all offering a route to terrorism? Free speech mantras are one thing but such freedoms surely carry some responsibility and accountability to recognise that not all free speech is good or welcome. So much is known to law enforcement entities about those groups at federal, state and local levels that it should be a no-brainer to shut them down permanently. Just as ISIL is treated by the international community, so too should like remedies be levied against our homegrown terrorists.
The ranks of cowardice also extend to the legislative branches of government. To make armaments available to the mentally unstable and registered felons sans background checks and to offer the nonsensical audacity that the availability is a right is to invite chickens to come home to roost.
In the 1950s and 60s, the UK was forced to face up to racial profiling and prejudice. The national conversations that followed brought stringent laws to bear on all cases of discrimination in the workplace and in rentals and sales of properties: People of colour were offered the same rights in public as their local born citizens. Perhaps a similar round of conversations is long past due in the home of the brave.