Dylann Roof committed a heinous act in Charleston last week when he shot up an historic African-American church and killed nine people therein, presumably based on a racist ideology. When condemning Roof’s action, it is important to remember that Roof’s ideology itself did not commit the act. Rather, Roof himself acted with a depraved. murderous mind that even the most vile racists do not share. It is not wise or fair to use this act to silence those with what some perceive as similar views. Specifically, this act does not provide a compelling justification for banning or desecrating symbols of tradition and pride, such as the Confederate battle flag.
Throughout history, murderers have acted for various causes not limited to politics, but including religion, revenge, and even jealousy. The fact that such mindset-based crimes occur does not support attacking those underlying states of mind in nonviolent speakers. It is the depraved mind alone that convinces one to kill innocent people for a cause. That should be the only mindset scrutinized when tragedies like this occur.
While there are many good reasons to attack the logic of racial supremacy, Roof’s act is not one. Using this tragedy to malign certain viewpoints should be rejected. Using this tragedy to silence certain speakers should be condemned.
Roof’s act has nothing to do with the right of the American people to fly the Confederate battle flag. Though many see that flag as a symbol of oppression, for others it is a symbol of tradition and pride. There is not a right in America not to be offended. Therefore, the right of those waving the Confederate battle flag must take precedence over those trying to remove it from society. It’s a matter of free speech and that right must be respected above all.
Not now nor ever will it be the time to desecrate the past with revisionist history. If the Confederate battle flag stands only for slavery, then the American flag must too, since slavery existed under it for a much longer period of time than it did under the Confederacy. The fact is that only six percent of southerners ever owned slaves and some of those owners included free blacks. Many blacks too fought on the side of the South during the Civil War, which was waged not to expand slavery but to defend the Southern homeland against Northern aggression to the South’s right to secede.
The Confederate battle flag itself, those who fly it, and those who fought under it, including the many Generals whose statues are now being desecrated and names forsaken, should be respected for the defense of their homeland, a homeland of whites and blacks, not as a scapegoat for the act of a deranged killer.
Please do not use the shooting in Charleston to restrict free speech in America.