Nineteen children were shot dead on Tuesday at their school in Uvalde, Texas; 10 elderly Black people were shot dead on Saturday while shopping in their local grocery store in Buffalo, N.Y.
The rage of people is palpable but there are politicians who are bragging about how they support the Second Amendment, and there are some politicians who are threatening the life of President Joe Biden if he does anything to “take our guns away.”
The bodies of the children were so mutilated that their parents cannot identify them without DNA proof. They are dead because a crazed teen was able to purchase an assault weapon, made possible by the same government that is about to decide that women cannot decide if they want to — or can — carry a baby to term.
Many of these people call themselves Christian, although they ignore Jesus’ commands to love their neighbors “as themselves.” They have constructed a God who is “the author of segregation,” according to Bob Jones, who said the same in a radio address he gave in 1960 titled, “Is Segregation Scriptural?” The treatment of Black people might not have been good, some have said, but they believe their enslavement and second-class citizenship is the “established order of God.”
It seems they cannot or will not come face to face with the horror of these domestic terrorist attacks. But they never have. They want to control the narrative of racial history in this country, because they are critical of how the story is being told by historians and scholars. They don’t want their children to “feel bad” or “feel guilty.”
But they cannot conceive the depth of the pain or care about the lives and spirits of the parents of the Uvalde school students or of the survivors of the elders shot and killed in Buffalo. All that matters is their desire to have any kind of gun they want — even if it is a military assault weapon that leaves the bodies of victims mutilated beyond recognition.
I hope the rage increases — exponentially. I hope those who are tired of hearing about the injustices perpetuated on Black and brown people and school children refuse to back down and “shut up and dribble,” as Fox News host Laura Ingraham said to LeBron James when he voiced support for the protests after the murder to George Floyd.
I hope Democratic politicians step up and speak and campaign with fire and fury and passion, not worrying about how the Republicans will twist their words but align themselves instead with the hearts and spirits of people who for too long have been regarded as subhuman and unworthy of political and economic parity.
It was telling that when the governor of Texas held a press conference to express his “grief” over the murders of the children in Uvalde, he was surrounded by white men. When gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke challenged him publicly, his henchmen tried to shut him down. To his credit, O’Rourke did not back down. The entire Democratic field is going to have to exhibit fire and fury and refuse to back down. They are going to have to express the passion we share behind closed doors.
“There is no time to hold back and refuse to say the things we do not want to face.”
This is a fight for an end to this madness called white supremacy. There is no more time to tip-toe and tap dance around it. There is no time to hold back and refuse to say the things we do not want to face.
Nineteen babies were mutilated; 10 elderly people were shot dead while shopping. The assaults were 10 days apart, and both were carried out by 18-year-old teens, one white and one Hispanic, who also shot his grandmother.
It is time to get these AR-15s and other military weapons off the streets. I don’t think hunters use those types of weapons when hunting because the bullets rip flesh, bones and muscles apart.
God’s people — including Black elders and Hispanic children — deserve better.
Susan K. Smith is an ordained minister, activist and author. A graduate of Yale Divinity School, she is the director of clergy resource development for the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference. Her latest book is With Liberty and Justice for Some: The Bible, the Constitution, and Racism in America.
White supremacy and firearm idolatry: America’s Baal | Opinion by Bill Leonard
Rights, responsibilities and the two-fold commandment of love: A reflection on gun violence in America | Opinion by Greg Garrett
Mass murder and the soundtrack of our lives | Opinion by Justin Cox