Saturday, June 20, 2015

My Feelings on My Town

I know it's been almost forever since my last blog. I apologize. I'm a busy person. I do stuff. Anyway, I figured today would be a good day to share my feelings. However, I feel I need to lay down some ground rules. These are my feelings. You don't get to tell me how I should feel. You don't get to tell me that my feelings are wrong. You don't get to give me grief about my opinion and feelings. I'm being completely reactionary.

My first feeling was absolute fear. I called my mother immediately after I heard the news. I hadn't spoken to her in a while. We're both busy people, it happens. I was scared that there was a madman on the loose in my hometown. I worried about my friends. I worried about my family. I worried about other landmarks that I've seen and visited in Charleston since I was seven years old. What about Market Street? How about the Harbor? Was Waterfront Park on this kid's list? I was scared.

When I first heard the story of him targeting this church, it turned to confusion. Why would you go to a church to shoot people? Was there less guilt in sending Christians to Heaven? I was confused about what may have been his motive. I didn't want to believe the ultimate motive, but considering it was a very historical A.M.E. church (the first one in the South), it wasn't beyond the realm of possibility, which led to me next emotion.

I was pissed. I was angry that a person would target black people. I was angry that someone thought so little of black people that their only option was to shoot nine of them dead. After being welcomed into the fold by said black people. After being loved on enough to open the Word of God to him, he felt the best way to repay them was to spew some hateful garbage and then shoot them. It angered me that my Christian brothers and sisters were slaughtered like they were in a Muslim country. However, the anger didn't just stay with this situation.

I became angry at responses. People dismissing this man's sin and hatred as "just another case of mental illness." People even blamed Obama for this man's sin. I'm sorry, but I don't believe the President of the United States of America would encourage violence towards others. In fact, he made it a point to say that he's had to address a mass murder of some sort 14 times during his two terms. Think about that, then tell me that it's his fault. I was mad at Fox News for telling us that we shouldn't consider this a race crime because it might make some people upset. I was mad at some of my Facebook friends for their undying allegiance to any opinion that was similar.

I then became proud. I was proud because I watched on Thursday morning/afternoon a mass of Charlestonians singing "On Christ the Solid Rock I Stand." It made me so proud that I bawled. I bawled like a baby. I have no problem admitting that to you. It was a mix of pride in my city, love for my Lord, and sadness in my heart. I was proud of the Facebook friends that posted constantly about prayer, love, forgiveness, mercy, grace, and pride. It made my heart glad that there were people who felt like I felt.

I then became confused again. During those news reports that I watched vigilantly, a state politician made this eye-opening statement: "If we can't be black in church, where can we be black in America?" It was a good question. Church is supposed to be kind of a safe haven. That place where you can share your love for God, your struggles with life, and your support for your Christian brothers and sisters. It disappeared for those fleeting moments. I saw in my mind and in my heart black folks being terrified, nervous, or confused about church and the banner of love Christ puts over us. I could totally understand that. However, I was still confused as to how a place like that wasn't that place.

I then felt relief. When I heard the news that the shooter was captured, it calmed my spirit down. It's okay to be nervous. It's a natural emotion. Thank God for Debbie Dills and her quick thinking. She says she's not a hero, but she is certainly someone we can take an example from. Do the right thing, no matter what. God knows the right thing, He'll tell you if you let Him. She did, and he's in jail.

I then was angry again. I was angry because I saw an image that frightened me, but didn't overwhelmingly surprise me. I saw the Confederate flag flying high while the American flag and State flag of South Carolina was at half mast. It made my blood boil that the one thing that most black people consider to be the most offensive, divisive, evil symbol in America was flying high and proud as their people were in complete mourning over the atrocity that happened. You would think that the General Assembly (state law prohibits Governor Haley from any say in when and if the flag comes down, so she gets a slight pass even though she should use some executive powers, throw up deuces to the racists, and tear down that flag) would have some class about them. That flag flying high tells every black person that even when the worst happens to you, your feelings don't matter. They may not have said it, but it's a sentiment. That angers me. What angered me more was that there were people defending that flag. They say that it's a defense of a way of life. That way of life included going to a foreign country; either brokering a deal or flat out kidnapping people; dragging them on a boat and shipping them thousands of miles away from their home; parading them like farm animals at the county fair; selling them; and forcing them to do backbreaking work all because you'd rather sit on your front porch and drink lemonade. That's the right that the states flew that flag for. I'm sorry, but that's evil. Dragging people around, beating them, forcing them to work, bathe you, or have sex with you is fricking wrong. That flag tells black people that they are less than a person. The Confederate flag that was put on the state house in 1962 was a blatant middle finger to desegregation and the Civil Rights movement, case closed. My anger is geared towards anyone who defends dividing the country. And telling me to get over it, it wasn't you so don't worry about it, stop being offended, or anything like that is a one way ticket to me considering you dumber than mayonnaise. That's one of those opinions I'm asking you to let me have.

However my anger multiplied even more when I see Judge Idiot Face (stole that from WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins) demanding the victims' families to feel bad for the alleged shooter's family instead for themselves for just losing someone. I'm going to hope that this judge doesn't ever preside over a case again. He used the n-word during a bond hearing. I'm pretty sure he's one of those dumber than mayonnaise morons. How can someone say those kinds of things at that time. And it wasn't like he softly professed that this family was sad, I'm sure they were, but to demand that people just coddle the shooter's family is ridiculous.

However, now I'm at peace. I'm at peace because my God is strong. My God showed Himself in my hometown. My God is being magnified and glorified in the darkest time. I've had terrible feelings about Columbine, Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook, Jonesboro, and many other places. However, seeing the streets I've walked, rode past, or driven past affected by a tragedy is a special kind of hurt. However, I know my God is bigger than anything. I cannot hide my bias, Charleston just wrote the book on "How to Come Back from Adversity Before Sharpton Shows Up."

I said it before, I'll say it again. He shouldn't have messed with buckle of the Bible belt. Wrong church, wrong city.