Sunday, June 21, 2015

But It Is My Circus

One of my favorite funny, yet often appropriate, sayings is "Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys." For those who need an explanation, it basically means:  this does not concern me; none of my business; I don't have a dog in this hunt.

But I do have a dog in this hunt. And by hunt, I mean what happened this past week in Charleston. I am not African-American. I am not a church-goer. I don't live in Charleston or anywhere on the East Coast.

But this is definitely my circus. And all of mankind are my "monkeys," even the sick bastard who shot those lovely people gathered together for a Bible study.

I am a human being. I have a great love for all living things, no matter their species, race, gender, sexual preferences, and beliefs. When I first heard about the shooting in Charleston, I couldn't wrap my head around what had happened, it was so horrific. The same thing happened when I first heard about the bombing of the Boston Marathon. My initial response was: This can't be true.

Sadly, it was true, both the bombings and the shooting at Mother Emmanuel Church. Just as Sandy Hook was true and the shooting at Fort Hood and the movie theater in Colorado, to name just a few. More and more I am called upon to wrap my head around senseless violence, both overseas and here at home. Both pain my heart and bring me to tears, but especially the horrors inflicted here at home by our own.

My monkeys are killing other monkeys in my barrel. 
And I feel helpless to stop it. 
I weep for my helplessness as much as I weep for those killed.

Hatred is learned. The young man who took those lives in Charleston did not come out of the womb ready to shoot African-Americans and with a desire to start a race war. This isn't like me hating okra. Dylann Roof had to learn hate of that magnitude. Someone indoctrinated him into such vile beliefs and emotions. Either at home, or through groups who prey on disenfranchised young people, radicalizing them and filling their heads and hearts with pus and gangrene for their fellow mankind.

We hear about radicalization a lot on the news with regard to ISIS promoting across the internet to recruit young adults into their cause. But what about hate groups here at home? They are doing the same thing. In a time when we should all be embracing unity, these various groups are going after our young and turning them into a homegrown army of suicide bombers.

Roof may have confessed to the killings at Mother Emmanuel, but I sure hope the investigators continue to dig deep into his background and ferret out the sick evil bastards who filled his head with such hateful propaganda in the first place, and maybe even gave him his marching orders to take out the charismatic and forward thinking Rev. Clementa Pinckney.

Yeah, I said it. I personally do not believe this 21-year-old cracker decided on his own to drive for 2 hours to that particular church to take out random people. Not for a minute. The head of the snake is still out there and we owe it to ourselves and our future to investigate that to the fullest.

Forgiveness is not just a Christian principle. The inability to forgive causes emotional cancer, no matter your beliefs. I join the families of those slain in forgiveness for what was done.  They showed great strength of character addressing Roof as they did.  But forgiveness does not mean forgetting. And it does not mean we move on without change or without looking deep into the root of such carnage and excavating those roots.

Well, dammit, it is our circus and our monkeys!

Even those of us not involved personally in this tragedy need to become activists in spreading tolerance and love and acceptance and in stamping out ignorance. We need to raise our voices to fight the cancers plaguing our country. Only then do we stand a chance of beating the growing hate and violence. By remaining silent, we give passive consent. We are essentially saying: not my circus, not my monkeys. And that is unacceptable.

Let's honor the memory of these people,
who died because of hate,
by living in love and tolerance for one another.

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