The Insanity of Mass Shootings


Every few weeks our lives are interrupted by breaking news about innocent people being gunned down in classrooms, movie theaters, night clubs, churches and most recently an outdoor concert. During these highly stressful times, we stop what we are doing to reflect on the preciousness and fragility of life, we offer our prayers and condolences to the families affected by the tragedy and we tell ourselves this isn’t America. We recite this claim with the convictions people give to their religious mantras. We repeat this lie hoping to convince ourselves that we were somehow different, but this is America. This is who we are and we need to accept it. Insanity isn’t just doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result. Insanity is also denying the truth right in front of us.

Violence is a constitutive part of our history. America grew out of a violent revolution and hasn’t looked back. In the Gospel of Saint Luke, we are told that we can know a tree by the fruit it produces. In America, we scorn and rebuke our rotten apples, but we refuse to indict the tree that produced them. We have to quit using the same shocked language we apply to these tragedies and come to grips with the fact that this is normal. America is, and always has been, a violent nation.

Our culture has glamourized violence through novels, television, movies and video games. The spike in mass shootings over the last decade is a generational consequence of celebrating death more than life. America’s fascination with violence consciously and unconsciously affects many of us in different ways. It starts out as innocent games of cowboys and Indians or cops and robbers. We send these same kids to schools that have canonized our nation’s most historic battlegrounds and immortalized the soldiers who fought and died on those sacred grounds. We have Civil War reenactments where we simulate the experience of being on some of America’s most deadly killing fields. For every person truly repulsed by depictions of violence there are throngs of people cancelling out their voices.

Contrary to what we tell ourselves, the majority of mass shootings aren’t committed by people with a history of mental illness. These are meticulously calculated events designed to inflict as much pain and terror as possible. Too often we jump to the conclusion that the shooter must have been “crazy.” This is disingenuous. Saying someone is crazy is an easier pill to swallow than accepting the fact that our culture continues producing more and more people capable of committing these crimes.

There are so many Americans invested in the myths associated with America that (as a nation) we can’t look critically at this problem. Too many people are working overtime to systematically disconnect these shootings from each other- and often the motives behind them. America is under siege by the threat of random violence and we won’t accept the fact that our culture is complicit in some of the carnage we have seen.

America is stuck in a perpetual cycle of grief, inaction and denial. Our politicians don’t have the courage to stand up to the gun lobby and we won’t look in the mirror. These stories start with a hail of bullets and end in death and prayers. We keep doing the same thing over and over and have the nerve to question the results.




Why is Pat Robertson Still Relevant?

“The fact that we have disrespect for authority; there is profound disrespect for our president, all across this nation they say terrible things about him. It’s in the news, it’s in other places."

Pat Robertson 

This is a prime example of why so many young people are disenchanted with the church. For 8 years President Barack Obama and his family were ruthlessly disrespected by "Evangelicals" and "compassionate conservatives"; now, we are supposed to pretend like the serial philanderer and self admitted genital grabber has earned our respect? 

Pat Robertson's political and nationalistic theology is pushing more young people away from the church than the evils he drones on about every day. If holier than thou White Anglo Saxon Protestants keep defending the daily garbage produced by the 45th president the average age of parishioners at many of these churches will rise exponentially. Your kids and grand kids are watching you defend behavior you wouldn't tolerate from them. This hypocrisy is another reason for kids to duck church.

Please, miss me with the God sent Trump argument. If God sent him, then ipso facto he also sent the guy before him and that didn't stop y'all from disrespecting him and his family.

10 months into 2017, and none of the things Evangelicals warned us about happened. Barack Obama didn't:

1. Suspend the First Amendment and take your guns.
2. Didn't round up Christians and send them to Fema camps.
3. He didn't usher in Sharia law and force us all to convert to Islam.
4. He didn't declare Marshall Law to stay in power.

Pat Robertson and a host of "Religious" celebrities spread these lies with the same vigor they spread the Gospel. All of these claims were taken very serious and all of them were ridiculous, but not nearly as ridiculous as the church defending behavior that is antithetical to the teachings of Jesus. If any of Donald Trump's most loyal defenders in the clergy behaved like him on any given day they would be excommunicated or defrocked. 

Here's some free advice: young people will respect you more if you keep it 100 in the name of Jesus. 

#BlackOpinionsMatter: Jemele Hill


Donald Trump might not be a white supremacist, but he did hire a lot of them to work in his administration. Donald Trump might not be a white supremacist, but he has demonstrated white supremacist sensitivities over and over again.

No one made him try to destroy the lives of 5 innocent black kids. No one made him knowingly lie about President Obama's birth certificate. No one made him call Mexicans rapists and murders. No one made him open his mouth and spew his anti-Arab and anti-Muslim hatred. No one made him find the good in the self professed white supremacists who terrorized Charlottesville. No one made him pardon the virulent racist Joe Arpaio. Donald Trump alone chose to do all of these things.

I stand 100% behind Jemele Hill. For 8 years "real Americans" and "Evangelicals" believed (and spread) every ignorant conspiracy theory about Barack Obama. None of them were led to FEMA camps. None of them had their guns taken. None of them were forced to convert to Islam. These lies were spread by racists at Fox news and other conservative media outlets and accepted as facts.

Jemele Hill judged Donald Trump by his actions. He has no one to blame but himself. This time last year "real Americans" loved brash outspoken speech, hated the P.C. culture and weren't snowflakes. What happened?

Jemele Hill was reprimanded for calling a spade a spade. She was hired to give her opinion, and now that her personal opinions​ don't sync up with the powers that be at ESPN  she is in jeopardy. This is a prime example of why people of color need their own platforms. "Real Americans" elected a confessed pu$$y grabbing reprobate to the most powerful office in the world, but are ready to kick an opinion journalist out of her job for tweets she made on her own time.

"Real Americans" wonder why athletes are refusing to stand for this hypocrisy. #BlackOpinionsMatter

The Democratic Party: An Uneasy Alliance

The Democratic party's inability to move past the 2016 defeat and agree upon a cohesive message moving forward has given rise to a cottage industry of "think pieces" by racially isolated suburbanites who believe the biggest obstacle to their progressive economic agenda is social justice. 


These articles get published every few weeks anywhere leftist ideas are disseminated. The theoretical underpinnings of these "progressive" screeds hinge on the faulty notion that the Democratic party could abandon issues of importance to minority communities and maintain the same level of electoral support from these constituencies. This is a fallacy. The moment the Democratic party becomes indistinguishable from the Republican party on social issues apathy and disenchantment with the political process will reduce minority voter turnout.


When well-meaning suburbanites reduce political matters connected to identity ​to an inconvenience it creates dissention where none is needed. There are factions inside progressive politics willing to wager that pushing social justice to the back burner will entice more working-class white voters to leave the Republican party. This is also fallacy. Yes, there were Trump voters who previously supported Barack Obama, but they, like many dyed in the wool conservatives, were not waiting for scholarly arguments about Keynesian economic policies. Donald Trump sold them the idea that he could end the era of political correctness and multiculturalism. We have to be honest about how appealing that promise was to people made uncomfortable by America's changing demographics.  


The Democratic party is like a community that has undergone a major expansion. It grew big, but it didn't grow closer. The smaller our circle was the more we identified with those inside it, but as our community/party got bigger we found ourselves walled off from each other living in our own insular communities. Many of the authors of these articles suffer from living in a small circle. It's hard for some of them to understand how damaging their words are. When progressives view social justice and the economic interests of minority communities as distinctly different from the economic hardships working-class whites face it almost assures both problems will continue.


Just like every family has secrets, political parties also push hard truths to the side. There are progressives asking people of color and members of the LGBTQIA community to ignore systemic racism and bigotry. These allies are asking us to place their economic program ahead of our existence in America. This approach centers white feelings. No one would tolerate a doctor telling them that ignoring their pneumonia is a viable treatment for it, yet this is how some on the left seek to treat discrimination.


The left's electoral future will be bleak if ignoring the suffering of the Democratic party's most loyal constituency becomes an acceptable strategy. Democrats already have horrible mid-term election participation. There's no need to give social activists a reason to stay home. The Democratic party has to walk and chew gum at the same time. We have to stand strong against bigoted policies while offering progressive policies that make it easier to get access to capital, education and healthcare. Justice for people on the underside of institutional racism, sexism and class structures isn't negotiable. 









Birth of A Myth and Death of A Dream

Monday was the 54th Anniversary of Dr. King’s “I have a Dream” speech. Americans took to social media and proved once again why this speech is possibly the best and worst rhetorical device for confronting systemic racism in America.

Dr. King's speech was a mix of the Bible, America’s founding documents and some of his earlier sermons. His words were seamlessly woven into a message that condemned the status quo while simultaneously offering a prophetic vision of a better day. Dr. King talked about the hope that came with the end of slavery and the heartbreak that followed when Emancipation turned into a 100-year nightmare sponsored by Black Codes, Jim Crow and the Ku Klux Klan. His words aren’t the problem; the willful distortion of those words and his legacy undermine the events of that day.

Reactionaries use Dr. King to shame those involved in protests they don’t support. This is a reflexive response. Black people are bombarded with images of MLK anytime the nation is forced to talk about race.This method of deflection does nothing to address the issues at the center of a particular conflict. Almost fifty years after his assassination there are Americans who believe Dr. King didn’t cause the kind of racial discomfort they feel about Black Lives Matter or American Flag protests.

America has an uncomfortable relationship with black activism. There appears to be two acceptable forms of civil engagement: passive or past tense. Passive activists are America’s darlings.Their soft shoeing approach to race doesn’t ruffle any feathers. Often they​ place white feelings ahead of justice. This isn’t who Dr. King was. His indictments against the America he inherited were damning. Some of his tactics were just as violent as bricks crashing through plate glass. The yearlong bus boycott he helped lead caused just as much economic damage to the bus lines and businesses in Montgomery, Alabama as a riot.

Dr. King’s murder made him eligible for America’s posthumous resurrection program. When an activist dies their message is edited and made more palatable for future generations. Their critiques of America and white supremacy are replaced by a message that asks future generations of black activists to suffer in silence or follow a set of protest requirements that assure nothing changes. In other words, you can live and be ineffective or die and have your message appropriated.

The same people who chastise Black Lives Matter for not being more like Dr. King moved the goalposts of acceptable nonviolent protest far enough to exclude kneeling in silence. There is no acceptable way to draw attention to the continuing racial disparities in America. When we boycott businesses that discriminate against us we are called economic terrorists, when we write or talk about discrimination we are called race hustlers, and when black athletes refuse to pledge their allegiance they get blacklisted. America writ large has never endorsed any protest that forces us to look in a mirror.

There is a lot to be learned from the sermonizing and writing of Dr. King. His ability to weave secular and religious texts into road maps for the future was pure genius. The hope contained in that speech will live forever. The March on Washington is an immutable part of American history. That event can’t be scrubbed from history, but it is being distorted. If Martin's dream is to be realized the myths associated with his life need to be as violently assassinated as he was.