Uncomfortable things that need to be said

Random thoughts precipitated by last night's events:

First off, the obvious: the murder of nine people in the AME church in Charleston, S.C. was an act of terrorism, committed by someone presumably Christian, who espoused extreme right-wing ideology. He is a terrorist.

If you believe that a guy who was photographed wearing a jacket with the flags of apartheid-era South Africa and Rhodesia, and who had a car with a front plate that said "Confederate States of America," shot and killed nine people because they were Christians and not because they were black, as South Carolina's Senator Lindsey Graham does, you're either completely delusional, an utter moron, or a disingenuous jerk.Just in case that wasn't clear enough: This was a hate crime, a terrorist act, committed against African-Americans because they were African-American, and it took place in a state that still flies the Confederate battle flag over the state capitol.Speaking of which, if your "heritage" requires that you continue to honor the flag of a nation that illegally attempted to secede from the United States in order to preserve human slavery (and that's what it was--"states' rights" was a convenient fiction dreamed up to defend the indefensible), you should probably dig deeper into your ancestry to find something less completely offensive to common decency and simple human compassion. Sometimes, our ancestors were assholes.

That flag, by the way, should be torn down wherever it flies and relegated to the museums where it belongs.

If you think that this could have been prevented by even looser gun laws, you're batshit insane.

The leadership of the National Rifle Association is morally culpable in every act of gun violence that is perpetrated on American soil.

While we're at it, the United States is way overdue to take a second look at the Second Amendment. No other major industrialized first-world nation has anything like the level of gun violence that takes place here in the Land of the Allegedly Free.

And most of that violence is carried out by right-wing American extremists, not by Muslims.

None of those attacks by right-wing extremists were prevented by government surveillance of our phone calls and emails, either. Odd, that.

And until we come to grips with all of the above, the president will continue to make sorrowful statements about the grievous loss of innocent lives, the pundits will bluster and bloviate, the politicans will dither and make pious statements about the sanctity of life and how unfortunate it is that nothing can really be done, and the list of victims will continue to grow until it is a stain on our nation that can no longer be ignored. And the rest of the world will know us for the incompetent and complacent fools that we are.