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June 25, 2015

Thoughts On the Confederate Flag

The confederate flag is demonstrably the symbol of a nation whose values included making other human beings property. I'm glad to see the trend of its removal from federal buildings. I'm giddy when I hear the staunch refutation of those who use anecdotal evidence in an attempt to legitimize any aspect of slavery.

It's wrong that the removal of a flag is the response America has to another violent racial tragedy. It's blaming the butcher for an underdone steak. The flag is a scape goat for the patchwork of players who egged on the alleged assailant.

Who should we blame, then?

Let us blame the Council of Conservative Citizens, a political group with roots in the White Citizens' Councils that fought public school integration following Brown v. Board of Education. The Council purports to "stick up for white rights" by crafting a distorted narrative of how the caucasian race is marginalized and tortured. The alleged assailant's manifesto mentioned their website by name, citing their "statistics" on black-on-white crime.
Legally, we can't blame the Council. In order for their speech to be considered incendiary, it must be "inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action". The Council of Conservative Citizens doesn't have the guts to make their true motives that public.

It seems that America's knee-jerk reaction to any mass shooting is to blame the gun. As a supporter of the second amendment (but not necessarily the NRA), I decry the laying of blame at the foot of firearms. We live in a society where the freedom to own a firearm comes with the responsibility to use it lawfully, but there's no objective way to measure an individual's capacity for that responsibility. The moment that a grieving parent or a politician suggests that we try, it's denounced by the NRA and ardent second amendment rights supporters as an attempt to revoke our constitutional rights.

Several of the assailant's friends have gone on the record to describe how he talked about shooting up a school, telling them "[the students at the school] ... got seven days" just a week before the shooting. An AP report states that the friends knew the assailant had a handgun and were concerned enough to remove the firearm from the assailant's car. Not surprisingly, the Council of Conservative Citizens points their finger at the inaction of the assailant's friends. If the friends felt strongly enough to remove a weapon from the assailant's car, why didn't they report that to the authorities?

In the end, it's people we have to blame. The assailant who pulled the trigger. The thinly-veiled white supremacist political organization churning out fodder for false incitement. The assailant's friends who were aware that he had serious, violent racial hatred and didn't intervene.

But we got the confederate flag gone, so thats good ...

Posted by Bryan on June 25, 2015 1:23 PM

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