Part I of “American Violence” dealt with the link between violent movies, television shows and video games and their influence over society. After extensive research the conclusion was that they are not to blame when violent acts occur. A teenager who shoots up a school, a terrorist who bombs innocent civilians or a mass murderer who snaps and kills are the ones to blame. However, due to recent events, the violence plaguing Our Beloved America needs to be addressed. But has this act of racial hatred sparked A New Hope?
As everybody knows by now, on June 17 at approximately 9:00 at night, suspect Dylann Roof opened fire killing nine people in a vicious attack on a Charleston, South Carolina church. After police released surveillance photos, both Roof’s father and uncle called in to identify him as the suspect. The 21-year-old was taken into custody after police were tipped off by a civilian who followed Roof for 35 miles until she was certain the authorities took him down in a traffic stop in Shelby, NC – nearly 250 miles from the crime scene – at 10:44 a.m., the morning after the shootings. A .45-caliber handgun was found in the glovebox, and after waiving extradition he was flown to Sheriff Al Cannon Detention Center in North Charleston and arraigned the following day on nine counts of murder and one count of possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime – for the firearm possession the judge set bond at $1 million dollars and no bail for the murders.
And while this is one of the most troubling cases of recent months, the aftermath of this tragic massacre is the real story. This article is not about the shooter – no, it’s about the message that he failed to achieve, the strength of that community and our great nation that have said “Enough is enough. No more violence, and no more tolerance for these acts.” Instead, a call for peace in every community, every city, town, borough, state and country.
There have been numerous cases within the past year or so that have triggered serious concerns over the state of violence in our country. Wrongful shootings and arrests have triggered riots across the country and activists standing for equality have been caught up in that violence. Rioting, looting and burning down buildings, tearing apart cities … all this has been reckless and without merit. A young black man gets shot and that triggers protests and demonstrations. There’s nothing wrong with that, however when these “demonstrations” turn violent, what should be said about that? Just like this nation shouldn’t stand for the hate, bigotry and anger from a senseless murder, it should also not stand for the aforementioned violent riots.
And this is where the latest mass shooting at the Charleston church becomes relevant, because the response this past week over these terrible and hate-filled murders is a complete one-eighty from the responses of other white-on-black violent acts. The victims, families of the victims and the entire community at large has transformed South Carolina into the position of being a role-model for the entire nation. During Roof’s bond hearing, several family members of the victims expressed forgiveness, and Roof’s plan to spark a “race war” was extinguished before it could even begin. Don’t get it twisted – there is, and has been, hundreds of years of hatred towards black people; and just because this case yielded forgiveness and had citizens of all colors standing together as one, there is still hate in this country.
But maybe this is the start of something new, perhaps a glistening beam of Hope From Above.