I haven’t been to many of the Southern states of the USA. I’ve met a number of people from the Carolinas, well-mannered, fiscally conservative folk who don’t exercise their Second Amendment right to bear arms. It was the English who enshrined the right to carry firearms for self-defence and legally defensible right to life in a turbulent and unstable period of English history; the American fledgling state simply copied the idea.
Even the most trigger-happy Americans are getting tired of having to defend the indefensible statistic that far too many people suffer mortal injury because of gun crime.
The image shows twenty-one year old Dylann Roof. He is holding two objects, both of which are venerated and highly dangerous. One is a Confederate flag, the other is a semiautomatic .45 calibre Glock 41 pistol, obtainable to almost anyone without a violent history at a cost of just over six hundred dollars. Designed for the Austrian military, it is used by police forces all over the world. This particular one took the lives of nine black churchgoers in Charleston a few days ago. Over sixty thousand died under the Confederate flag in Virginia and North Carolina alone during a war motivated primarily by a desire to end slavery. For the moment, it still flies in the grounds of the South Carolina Statehouse, a grim reminder to the black population that the white man’s wishful thinking is alive and well.
It is not enough for the State of Mississippi to remove the Confederate flag from its license plates, nor is it enough that the President makes yet more sympathetic noises. White supremacist websites radicalise those of fragile mind and limited intellect, deluding people into thinking that a race war is just around the corner and it is their duty to prevent it by violent means. If firearms are so easily obtained, it is hardly surprising if such people use them. Labelling this boy as a white supremacist terrorist, therefore not ‘one of us’ won’t do since it distances his actions from a wellspring of US opinion that justifies the use of lethal force by private citizens by allowing them, any of them, to carry a weapon of mass destruction. It’s time, just time, to reconfigure the software, update it for a new time and a different morality where we come to the realisation that private citizens do not need handguns. Only then will the Dylann Roofs of this world no longer be provided with the means to enact their warped, twisted fantasies.