It has happened again. Assault weapons have been used to mow down American citizens in church! Twenty six-year-old Devin Patrick Kelley opened fire in First Baptist Church, in Sutherland Springs, Texas, with a Ruger AR-15 assault rifle. At press time, at least 26 people have been declared dead, which includes 12 – 14 children. Quite a few members of one family were killed, which took a heavy toll. The minister of First Baptist Church, Pastor Frank Pomeroy, and his wife, Sherri Pomeroy, were out of town during the massacre. Unfortunately, their 14-year old daughter, Annabelle, was among the victims. The perpetrator was said to be wearing black tactical gear and a ballistic vest. He was later killed, or killed himself, after a car chase which ended in a neighboring county. He was chased by local residents who took it upon themselves to pursue the shooter.
For quite a while, authorities held back on identifying the victims, which caused a lot of African Americans, no doubt, to hold their breaths, hoping that the victims were not Black. After all, this situation dredged up memories of what happened in South Carolina when Dylann Roof shot and killed nine African American parishioners after they had welcomed him into a Bible study class.
The mass shooting in Sutherland was the deadliest shooting in a house of worship in American history and the worst overall massacre in the state of Texas in recent history. President Donald Trump, currently on a mission overseas, attributed the situation to “mental health issues.” It is interesting to note that the president seems reluctant to use the term “terrorist” when it involves a white person.
When assessing this last atrocity, it becomes very obvious that something very serious is happening in America. It is as though the Karma that was predicted to visit these shores as a result of the violence that America has perpetuated around the globe is coming home to roost.
The numbers of Americans killed by domestic terrorists (which is what they are!) has been escalating in recent years. Three of the deadliest mass shootings occurred within the past 18 months. Mass shootings since 2012 include Las Vegas, NE Mandalay Hotel – 58 killed; Orlando, FL Pulse Night Club – 49 killed; Blacksburg, VA (Virginia Tech) – 32 killed; Sutherland Springs, TX, – 26 killed; and Newtown, CT (Sandy Hook Elementary) – 26 killed; totaling 191 people killed in mass shootings since December, 2012.
When looking at these numbers, it becomes very clear that violence is not owned by one race. It has become popular to blame the majority of violence in America on Black people. This is a confounding bias, however, when you see the violence that has been perpetrated by white male terrorists with assault weapons.
This brings to mind a huge problem; why are assault weapons allowed to circulate in America? Assault weapons have one purpose only, to kill people. Even though this is the case, there is an obvious lack of will to keep them out of the hands of individuals who will use them on other Americans. Conspiracy theorists might infer that people in the highest halls of power buy into the notion of an upcoming domestic war, and want to ensure that they are prepared.
Ultimately, because these weapons continue to fall into the wrong hands, more people will begin carrying weapons with the idea that they need to protect themselves. The question is, however, whether more weapons will result in peace? That is most likely a long shot (pun intended). Fighting fire with fire can ultimately ensure that everyone ends up being burned.
We must all wake up and realize that America, because of escalating violence, is careening headlong into certain chaos. Violence is terrorizing white America, but it is also terrorizing Black America, though with less spectacular coverage. We must wake up and realize that evil is evil, no matter its origin. As a community, we must eschew all violence in America as well as that which happens in Black America. We are all definitely connected; what happens in one part of our country impacts us all! A Luta Continua.