On September 15, 1963, the 16th Street Baptist Church was bombed, and four beautiful little girls lost their lives when a group of evil baleful and malevolent racists planted sticks of dynamite under the front steps of their church. Martin Luther King called the killings "one of the most vicious and tragic crimes ever perpetrated against humanity".
So what should we make of this latest terrorist attack and massacre on yet another house of worship in Charleston, South Carolina? It is not 1963, and the Klan (or so they would have us believe) cannot boast about having thousands of members and influence.
It is 2015, and we are supposed to be living in a "post-racial" country. So how could this happen? How could a gunman walk into a house of worship and slaughter nine people because he doesn't like the color of their skin?
Over the next few days you will hear a lot of pundits and "experts" try to explain what took place in Charleston on Wednesday evening. Some, like the president, will blame a culture of guns and the ease with which people can get their hands on them. Still others, like GOP candidates and conservatives, will blame the actions of this racist lunatic on his hatred for Christians. They will then make the ludicrous claim that there is now some kind of war on Christians raging in this country. But I am sorry, he slaughtered those people in that church because their house of worship is where they were most vulnerable. He would have shot them all to death in a Chuck E Cheese restaurant if it would have been more convenient for him to do so.
What we need to be asking ourselves is this: How could a millennial--- in a country that is supposed to be the "shining city on a hill" for the rest of the world--- commit such a horrific act? What (or who) is influencing the minds of individuals like this who was not even a thought back in 1963?
Many of us, of course, saw this coming. And I have personally written about it in the past. To be sure, there will be more to come. And I can only hope that those who are charged with keeping us safe will focus as much of their attention and resources on domestic terrorists as they do the people plotting to kill us from thousands of miles away under the banner of Isis.
"Michael, Rena, Nalin and I are praying for the victims and families touched by tonight's senseless tragedy at Emanuel AME Church. While we do not yet know all of the details, we do know that we'll never understand what motivates anyone to enter one of our places of worship and take the life of another. Please join us in lifting up the victims and their families with our love and prayers."
That was the governor of South Carolina, Nikki Haley, posting on her facebook page. Her statement offers a clue about what is currently wrong with America. "...we do know that we'll never understand what motivates anyone to enter one of our places of worship and take the life of another"
Ahhhm, hellooooo!! We do know what motivated this young man: His hatred for black people. For her to try and ignore that very glaring reality speaks volumes about the tenor of purposeful cluelessness that is so prevalent among a certain segment of our population.
Instead of posting messages on her facebook page, Nikki Haley should demand that the flag of hatred flying over her state's capitol be removed. That would be a profile in courage. That would go a long way towards letting the rest of America know that hatred and bigotry will not be tolerated, and that proudly flying an official symbol of hatred and bigotry is not how you stop the next massacre of innocent unsuspecting Americans in their house of worship.