I should be talking about what the half-year in review for 2015, both the good and the bad. I should be talking about stuff like the hilarious Melissa McCarthy-led espionage spoof, Spy, or my honest thoughts about Mad Max: Fury Road.
Today, I'm not. I can't.
It honestly doesn't feel right to me, given the latest tragedy in Charleston, South Carolina, where a young white man went into a historical black church and slaughtered 9 people (thankfully, the police found the perpetrator today and have placed Dylan Roof under arrest).
As Rachel Maddow pointed out tonight, there are several ways we can put this senseless act of violence into context.
We can say that this is another tragedy where a person who had no reason to have firearms, shot and murdered innocent people in cold blood, and you wouldn't be wrong: from Columbine, to Tuscon, to Auora, to Sandy Hook, this act of senseless savagery keeps happening because of our nation's reluctance to talk about our fixation with firearms and why we don't do more to keep guns away from psychos.
We can look at the killer himself, and how, also revealed today, he was deep into the idea of white supremacy; that he had patches of apartheid-era flags of South Africa and Rhodesia, which is now know as the country of Zimbabwe; how his friend, Joseph Meek Jr., told the Associated Press that Roof had talked with him about how "blacks were taking over the world," and that "Someone needed to something about it for the white race"; and how this idea that the white man is the superior race and how this mentality is still acceptable and influenced in our society.
We also know that the killer had the licence plate of the the Confederacy and had told Meek that he believed that "He wanted segregation between whites and blacks"; that his remarks and actions are another sign that we need to have a serious conversation on not just the Confederate flag, but a discussion on the issue of racism in America.
Each point of context is valid, and you could easily state a case for it being the focus of what the conversation should be. And yet, each time something like this comes up, there has always been opposition to having that painful and vital conversation on race, on guns, on a flag that holds deep scars to millions of people of color.
How do I know this? Because this kind of diversion is happening as we speak.
Here's conservative commentator Dana Loesch's thoughts on South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley defending the Confederate flag:
WTF? @BFriedmanDC How does this help? Are you accusing Nikki Haley? Absolutely classless.— Dana Loesch (@DLoesch) June 18, 2015
And here's Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy, who's shocked that the tragedy in Charleston is being classified as a "hate crime", despite the fact that police chief of Charleston, Gregory Mullen said in a press conference that the department was treating the act as hate crime, and even going as far as to calling it an attack on faith, because Roof was really going after poor, innocent, consistently persecuted God-fearing Christians; black folks just happened to be in the way by massive coincidence, despite all evidence that would say otherwise.
And here's Fox Nation's headline (along with the comments) on Obama's remarks on the tragedy: 'Obama Goes Political, Calls For Gun Control in Wake of 'Senseless' S.C. Church Murders'.
Every time some tragedy happens, we're told that "The federal government wants to take away our right to bear arms!", or that "Liberals and race-baiters are trying to make a hate crime/unnecessary police brutality on unarmed black men & women an issue on race, when in all reality those 'thugs' (see: niggers) probably had it coming!", or whatever spin being propped up, the goal is always the same: to steer us away from difficult conversations, or trying to find meaningful solutions to complex and systemic problems, or to simply acknowledge an ugly truth about our history.
And every time, the issue or the the conversation fades away, and the status quo is upheld.
We do nothing on banning automatic weapons or having background checks on people who want guns, because a body count and nutjobs having 2nd Amendment liberties is the price ha not only we have to pay, but is also an acceptable one.
We don't have a conversation on race, or talk about police brutality because we did hat 'civil rights' thing back in the 60's and racism is now over: you have a black president that we gleefully disrespect on a daily basis! Plus, bringing up racism or shining a light on race-bating is really reverse racism because we say so.
We accept these as truths, feel sorry about it, and go about our lives, as if nothing ever happened.
But don't worry: this will keep happening again. And again. And again. Whether we choose to listen this time is still an open question.