“I do believe this was a hate crime,” Charleston Police Chief Gregory Mullen said early Thursday near the scene at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church after nine people were shot and killed in Charleston, South Carolina, during a Bible study session.
When I first saw this pop up on social media, my first thought was that some idiot had taken a gun, misusing it by shooting down innocent people. My first fear was that the 2nd Amendment was about to come under attack yet again.
My next thought was to realize this could be an attempt by some White bigot trying start a ‘race war’ by attacking a Black church. I finally went to bed, praying that American’s are better and smarter than to fall for such a blatant attempt at inciting blood shed and hatred.
The following morning, I got up knowing it was time to reframe the anger, the hurt, fear and the desire for vengeance into something more powerful. I realized this is an opportunity for the good and decent people of Charleston to take the capacity away from those modern-day segregationists who would divide us into race, gender, sexual orientation, etc.
It’s time to send those persons packing, who continue to spread their venom, using others pain and anger, to line their pockets and fulfill their agendas. It is time to take their ability to manipulate our feelings, by feeding evil to us, away for good.
Instead of a ‘race war,’ lets attempt to make this a pivot point, turning away from that which tends to divide us to find those things that bring us together. We are far from the 1860s, we are far from the 1960s; we are no longer those people in those times, so lets relegate the past to history where it belongs.
Let us not necessarily worry about what might come tomorrow, instead let us focus on today. Let us be one people, one nation, one family – acting with love, to comfort and serve each other in these times of sorrow and pain.
Nine people are dead and it doesn’t matter in the end whether it’s labeled a ‘hate crime,’ ‘terrorism,’ or what have you – arguing over such things serves only to spread animus. Look instead to caring for the hundreds of people left hurting emotionally and who are spiritually struggling with the senselessness of this horrible crime.
As Abraham Lincoln so famously stated, “With Malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds.”
Now is the time to find that quiet place to hit your knees, asking God in His grace and will, to wrap his loving arms around the victims, their families, the members of the church, all of Charleston, the alleged killer and us.