Drawing attention to the fact that Reverend Clementa Pinckney [above] – the pastor murdered in the Charleston church massacre – was a gun control advocate is bound to anger his family, friends and like-minded colleagues. Suggesting that his crusade for gun control may have contributed to his death will no doubt be seen as adding insult to injury. But is it true? The first part of that statement certainly is . . .
In 2013, Pinckney, who was also a South Carolina State Senator, introduced legislation to require more comprehensive background checks on gun sales and supported several other gun safety measures during his career as a legislator.
That’s mediamatters.org‘s statement of fact (setting aside the use of the propagandistic term “gun safety”). Also a fact: South Carolina law prohibits concealed or open carry by lawful gun owners within a church or other place of worship – unless the church’s owners give members the right to do so. Which leads us to conjecture . . .
We don’t yet know if the Emanuel A.M.E. church attacked this week allows members to carry a firearm on the premises. But judging from Reverend Pickney’s support for gun control and his position within the church, the odds are against it. If so, if he agreed with this policy, is he somehow culpable for his own death?
The obvious answer: no. The only man who bears direct responsibility for Pinckney’s murder – and the murder of eight other innocent lives – is Dylann Roof. The deranged, racist gunman. Still, you can see where NRA Board Member Charles L. Cotton was coming from when he wrote (on a forum):
As an NRA Board member, perhaps Mr. Cotton should have let the NRA speak for him on this matter. Then again, the NRA’s policy of staying stum after headline shootings is aggravating to those of us who want to see the anti-gun media narrative – more gun control! – countered during “the golden 24 hours” of the news cycle. Not to mention the fact that Cotton is a plain-talking Texan.
Anyway, the question remains: is Cotton right? Again, does Pinckney bear some responsibility for his own death and, dare I say it, the death of eight of his congregants?