To whom it may concernFrom Lloyd R McAnelly, Ph.D.
RE the South Carolina shooting
As we all reel from the disaster, the massacre, in AMF church in South Carolina, can we agree that something must be done to fight back against racial violence? Although symbolically it would be a good idea to remove the ‘stars and bars’ from South Carolina and other southern states, I don’t see that totally solving the problem, other than it being a grand gesture.
Calling white supremacists Nazis also smacks of finger pointing and name calling, but not solution seeking. The NRA and others point out that this was one idiot with a gun and worries that they will all be victims of a liberal attack and on owning and carrying arms.
I say these things not to inform you who already know this and more, but to solidify my own thinking so as to look deeper for root causes and potential solutions. In doing so I have reached the following conclusions:
Shooting and killing indiscriminate people is not the sole prerogative of white supremacists.
This massacre in South Carolina might not have happened if there were stricter gun control measures, certainly knives would not have had the same result, but dynamite has been used in the past to achieve the same results.
By focusing on this young man’s delusions regarding the need to shoot black people, we are ignoring other political and philosophical and cultural biases that lead to murder on this scale.
All of these proposed actions are merely attempts to salve the public and are not permanent deep changes required in our national culture to be aware and preventative of such disasters.
We must all find a solution to this problem by making it our personal priority and each apply our own solutions to stopping the violence.
In South Africa Mendella and others instituted a nationwide reconciliation activities and hearings to first bring issues to light and then seek resolution among disparate people’s, including a national day of reconciliation in which people’s of different races find ways to work together.
We have made no such effort on behalf of those murdered, their survivors, or those who find themselves choosing violence as the only way to solve problems. There is nothing we do now to: a. Acknowledge and describe the problem, b. Come together to seek mutual support and solutions for ourselves, and c. Stop finger pointing and find mutually agreeable solutions.
It should be clear to all citizens that there is a terrible problem of which we are all at fault, and therefore, we must all be part of the solution.
So this is what I think must be done:
Declare an annual national day of lamenting for all those affected by these shootings.
Provide funding for a think tank to research the problem and its causes and offer solutions.
Set up reconciliation centers like those in South Africa, Ireland, and other countries in need of bringing its diverse and opposing populace to identify and implement solutions.
Create a special panel who, like FEMA and Homeland Security, enter a community who is experiencing an attack of this nature, and whose job it is to:
Fully describe the event and those involved
Remain in the community to gather data about what happened which will be archived
Begin reconciliation by soliciting testimony from community members and other concerned citizens and presenting them to the country with recommendations to deal with root causes not only at individuals who may be guilty of instituting violent solutions to problems because other solutions have failed.
Train communities to seek out and find aid for those who turn to violence in the form of locally designed and implemented communication and sharing of perceptions of such problems as lead to violent solutions. Help citizens to identify behaviors that lead to shootings.
Finally, it must be clear to all citizens, officers of the law, news media, video game makers, the motion picture and television companies that violence should not be promulgated as the final fix for society’s ills. Instead an intentional effort is to be made to decry such actions and create an informed public that seeks non-violent means of problem solving.
Leadership is crucial. Let us learn from Ghandi, MLK, and Mendella and, as a nation stand up and ally ourselves with those who are victims and those who are perpetrators and those who watch and say or do nothing, to work together on our common problem.
We have gone astray of our founding principles and must together as a nation find a way to devise strategies to stop to stop the killing of the innocents.
Thank you for your attention,
May God bless us all.