It's Not Going To Stop

Why it's happened before. Why it happened again. Why it will continue to


Published:

Charleston Police Department

Save your thoughts and prayers. They’re meaningless.

Douse your candles.

This will keep happening.

This will keep happening because, nearly 40 years ago, a group of gun fetishists took over an organization for hunters concerned about safely using their weapons and turned it into a political and cultural death machine.

This will keep happening because the nation’s governing body responded to the massacre of 20 children at an elementary school two-and-a-half years ago by obstinately choosing to do nothing, and gloating about it afterwards.

This will keep happening because a certain segment of the population believes that the problem of gun violence can be solved with an indeterminate number of guns and a populace armed to the teeth.

This will keep happening because a certain segment of the population believes there is no such thing as “gun violence,” as if someone could easily and quickly snuff out a congregation’s worth of lives with an awl or can of spray paint.

This will keep happening because we turned the con game of a woman with obvious personal issues into a national racial issue, existential riddle, or platform for mockery when she was merely a woman with obvious personal issues.

This will keep happening because some of us, many in positions of authority, will look at a killer with a Confederate flag bumper sticker and a jacket with the flags of former European colonies turned African nations, and consider that he told a survivor, “You rape our women and you’re taking over our country,” and profess not to see any kind of racial or political motivation whatsoever.

This will keep happening because the American right has successfully rebranded “racism” as the acknowledgement that racism exists, and the observers of this basic fact as “the real racists.”

This will keep happening because people with media platforms and loudspeakers will rail against other people for “politicizing this tragedy,” as if what happened Wednesday night was a sacrament between a killer and his victims, no one’s business but theirs.

This will keep happening because politicians and pundits will cynically blame the deficiencies of the American mental health system while knowing full well that there effectively is no goddamned American mental health system.

This will keep happening because, on some basic level, the Civil War never ended.

This will keep happening because we fail to call terrorism “terrorism” unless it’s committed by an Arab Muslim, in which case it’s a matter of international horror and cause for war, but when it’s a goofy-looking white kid, it’s a shrug of the shoulders and “must be bad parenting” and “boy, kids these days, I dunno.”

This will keep happening because the actions of a disturbed white male are regularly dismissed as senseless outliers while the actions of a minority are taken as emblematic of a larger problem with the minority that needs to be addressed with force.

This will keep happening because Americans love their guns.

This will keep happening because one of the reasons why we love our guns is that there’s a heck of a lot of money to be made by selling them and the bullets they fire.

This will keep happening because we will expend our energy writing things like this and sharing links on Facebook and retweeting pretty images that say things like We Stand With Charleston.

This will keep happening because we will express our anguish and attend candlelight vigils and unearth our stop-and-start, running-in-place “national dialogue” about guns, violence, and racism because it allows us to delude ourselves into believing we’re “doing something about it.”

This will keep happening because soon enough, we will turn away, and we will forget all but the name, like all the others, like Aurora and Sandy Hook and Columbine and Virginia Tech.

This will keep happening because we will keep the victims in our thoughts and prayers, briefly, and then we will forget, and then we will be shocked and saddened and horrified when this happens the next time, as it will, as it has, again and again and again and again, even as we cry out every time for an explanation as to how and why this could happen, as if we didn’t know, as if it hasn’t been with us from the start, as if it happens anywhere else on Earth but here, in our homeland, in America.

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Poking the Hornet's Nest

Greg Lacour on Politics

Charlotte had a Democratic mayor that got rebuffed by a Democratic majority council before the president appointed him to his cabinet; a former mayor in the Governor's Mansion after an oh-for-infinity streak; membership in a state that sees Charlotte as, well, another state; a neighboring state where public officials do very, very silly things (and sometimes go "hiking"); and a county commissioner who specializes in insulting constituents yet can't seem to get himself unelected. Sounds interesting to me, so I write about it and other matters public. Hashtag #nestpoke. You want to yell at me, email nestpoke@gmail.com.

About Greg Lacour

Greg Lacour spent nearly 10 years as a reporter for the Observer, where he covered Charlotte and Mecklenburg County government, including the infamous Nick Mackey for Sheriff farce of 2007-08, which made him simultaneously homesick for his hometown of New Orleans and hopeful that Charlotte might yet attain "world-class" status. He has written several features for this magazine and took part in the Hurricane Katrina coverage that won The Sun Herald of Biloxi/Gulfport, Miss., another former employer, a Pulitzer Prize. Lacour is single and lives in NoDa.

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