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By Charles Romano, Co-Founder; Legislative Oversight & Knowledge Initiative

Another week, another incident of violence in the United States. By no means do I wish to trivialize the deaths of those in the Charleston church with anything I write.  I don’t want to sound apathetic about it either; people have died and families have been torn asunder by those deaths . . .

People were murdered in a place that has, in its various forms and permutations been considered a place of worship, peace, and above all sanctuary.  These people had done nothing wrong, save for the error in being in that place, at that time, and having been brought unto this world with skin of a different shade than that of the monster that sought them out.  I refuse to acknowledge that now captive creature as human as his actions, and even his premeditated thoughts and words verify to all that he was nothing short of a creature who lacked the basic attributes of empathy or humanity that should be the qualifications for one being considered a human.

Within seconds after the atrocity had been reported the questions came, followed shortly by pleas and demands from Americans of every sort up to and including our elected leaders.  They showed the defeat in their eyes and their general body language as they made statements about the event.  Many were quick to lay blame on their colleagues for an ability to affect what they believe would have been necessary steps to prevent such tragedies.

“When will this stop happening?” they questioned.

“We need to control access to guns!” Some shouted angrily.

“Mental illness is the real problem here!” others would decry.

I have some sobering news for everyone; these things will never stop happening…anywhere.  It is not a matter of access to firearms.  It is not just because of a sudden rash of mental illness amongst the populace.

It is because human beings are truly terrible to one another.

That statement might make many balk and claim I am just another naysayer or nihilist out to scare everyone into following his lead but if you look at the facts throughout history it is a tellingly true statement.  Since the dawn of mankind, there has always been violence between humans.  It started as the simple animalistic need to control territory, food supplies, or acceptable mates.  As humans evolved, so did their requirements for inflicting violence.  With the advent of organized religions or the identification of other cultures, people began to do violence for the purpose of subjugation, repression, or pure eradication just to ensure that those deemed “lesser” would pose no threat to someone’s way of “cultured” existence.  Violence became grander as humanity expanded and advanced and more and more cultures clashed and empires defeated their enemies and absorbed their peoples or refugees tried to escape their assaulted homelands only to find themselves feared and attacked in the very countries they sought protection from.

Even today, in our “civilized” world, we face down the very common and very real threats of ultra-nationalism, bigotry, racism, sexism, or misguided idealism.  White versus Black.  Christian versus Muslim.  Muslim versus Jew.  Man versus Woman. Environmentalist versus Capitalist.  Heterosexual versus Homosexual. American versus, well, everyone else.  Wars have been fought for these reasons to name a few but far more common are individuals acting upon these very prejudices which seem to be ingrained into every person thanks to mere genetics that tells them to fear and vilify anything that is different from themselves.  Thankfully, the VAST majority of us are capable of at the very least wresting control of ourselves from such programming despite even one’s upbringing it seems to become more accepting of that which is different.  It could (and has) been said that our most recent generations of humans are the most understanding and open than they ever have been.  Still, there are those who are unable to suppress such urges and all it takes is one or two events to trigger mass reactions that can set our progress back by decades.

These monsters are not human.  They are animals.  They are terrorists who seek to harm, horrify, and kill those that they believe are the root cause for the problems in the world.  Some do it out of desperation or attention.  Others commit such acts just because…well just because. These monsters act suddenly and without warning.  They could be the quiet, soft-spoken loner who never fit in.  They could be the three young men approaching the elderly man as he goes out to his car to get groceries.  It could even be the upstanding social butterfly who decided they just hate everyone because no one liked them enough.  You all know who I am alluding to with these examples.  There are thousands more I could reference.  It is because of these animals, because of this uncertainty that I walk around my house with a gun on my hip.   It is why I have taught my wife how to use one.  Having a gun certainly is no guarantee that I can protect her, or myself; but it offers us a far better chance of survival than dialing 911 and hoping the cavalry comes in time to save us.  And shooting under stressful conditions can definitely hurt our ability to protect ourselves in such circumstances.  That is why, like insurance, I’d rather have more bullets than be forced to carry less.

Does this make me a monster as well, for owning or carrying a firearm?  I think not.  I have never harmed another human with a weapon and hopefully, I’ll never have to.  But owning an object like an AR-15 or a Glock should not force me to be labeled as someone potentially dangerous just because some piece of filth used the same objects to murder others.  Does it make me paranoid; believing that there is the possibility some random person or persons would seek to do me or my wife harm at every turn?  Perhaps.  But truthfully, as the worn adage goes, I’d rather have a gun and not need it over needing a gun and not having one.  It should also be pointed out, that my use of firearms is not limited solely to thoughts of self-defense.  I have used them to hunt coyotes in the past (mostly to cull diseased or livestock threatening animals) and I most actively participate in competitive target shoots as time and effort permits.

We cannot lessen this tragedy or others like it.  But at the same time we cannot allow these acts to inhibit the ability of others to exercise their rights to protect themselves from such monsters OR to allow such events to cause others to brand and stereotype gun owners as a collective of ill-bred, under-developed, over-compensating, misogynist, white racists intent on overthrowing the government.  But, should you exercise YOUR freedoms to be just as bigoted and intolerant of gun owners as you believe gun owners are intolerant of anything that isn’t a gun…well that’s your right too even if it does come across as hypocritical.

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  1. I started carrying a self-defense firearm after a human predator tried to mug me.
    Since then, over the next seventeen years of carrying a firearm, I’ve stopped a guy trying to kidnap and kill his ex-girl friend and stopped four Pit bulls from injuring or killing my dog and I.

    Yep. Better to have it and not need it, but when you need it, you REALLY need it.

  2. You say that Roof is not human. Then you tell us that his actions are endemic to human nature. Then you tell us (again) that people like Roof aren’t human.

    The best way to resolve this is just to admit that Roof is human; and there, but for the grace of God, go we all.

    • “…and there, but for the grace of God, go we all.”

      Ah, you had it up to this point. Then you lost it. It’s not the grace of God preventing us all from being like him, it’s self-control and the ability to take responsibility for one’s own life. Also, never trust a grown man with a bowl haircut.

      • I know before G-d found me, I intellectualized that all human beings are part of the same species, but I didn’t feel this truth. But afterward, I felt the reality that we are all one family, and that feeling was total, unconditional love. So I understood the letter that man wrote to the church shooter. He showed that to love ones enemies, as the bible teaches us, is possible. That to truly love our fellow humans, no matter thier differences, no matter how evil, is possible.

        Do all people need G-d to feel this? To know this? I don’t know, It’s thier heart, their soul. I know it is what I needed to understand this truth.

      • “There but for the grace of God go I” is an old saying. It acknowledges that we are all fallible, all vulnerable, and it thanks God for allowing us to be free of the troubles or temptations into which others have fallen. I’m glad I’m not in Dylann Roof’s position. Aren’t you?

        • I wouldn’t be. I could never be. I have my personal issues, just like he does. Sometimes I feel frustrated with things going on in society. I have guns. If I wanted to, I could (but never have) easily rationalize some diatribe justification for lashing out at some race, or creed, color or institution that might seem very satisfying to my angst. We all could probably have a fantasy like that in our darkest moments if we allowed ourselves to.

          But there are two big reasons the vast majority of us would never, ever take any kind action. The first is a sense of right and wrong. We all have a different take on right and wrong, but for 99.999% of us, shooting up a church is in the wrong category, to the extent that it would completely override any possibility of our doing it.

          The second factor is most people have enough vision to realize what the what the consequences of that kind of action would be. Did you read about that Boston Bomber kid showing remorse about what he did before he had the death penalty read to him? I actually think he was sincere. The problem is how could he be so damn stupid that he could not foresee those consequences? He had a screw loose that most of us have firmly secured with red Locktite.

          No, this Roof kid is a sociopath. Pure evil. Human on the outside, inhuman on the inside.

        • Well Johnf. History and it’s examples of mass murder committed by one group upon another doesn’t support your assertion that most people are inherently good or are not capable of cheering at the sight of human slaughter. The Coliseum anyone?

          The Mongols, the Vikings, the Huns, the Cossacks, the Romans and the Coliseum, etc. The various massacres during the more modern Era wars. ISIS today. Wash and repeat. The capability and the ease of human beings committing mass murder upon other human beings, and cheering at the sight of blood spilled is more the norm than not.

          You are free to deny this side of us and our human nature, but denial is not just a big river blood in Egypt.

        • I’m with Thomas. Peaceful coexistence as we know it is an anomaly in terms of the greater scope of human history, and it would not take much at all to get a seemingly peaceful people to become bloodthirsty monsters. Just look at the antis, they’re the poster children of the concept of monsters bubbling beneath the skin of humanity.

    • yeah, its really easy to look at the horrific behavior of others and designate them just that. “Other”. the unpleasant fact is that all of these people did commit awful crimes, and do deserve punishment, but they are in fact humans.

      • Physically they are humans. Emotionally, they have somehow let the animal part of themselves take over. I suspect anyone is capable of that. But very few will do what Roofie did. That is, go into a peaceful place and shoot innocent, unarmed people and think that they are somehow doing a good thing. That takes a very special kind of mental illness. Fortunately one that is not very common.

    • Exactly. De-humanizing these people when they do these things is a reflex, but it does us no good. Yes, they’re animals. Human beings are animals. Ignore that reality at your own peril.

  3. 2 Timothy 3:2-5 “For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!”

  4. Not very consistent – first the killer is not human but monster, then humans always have been monsters, etc.

  5. I agree that humans are truly terrible to each other. The founding fathers knew it too, which is why the 2A was added to the Constitution.

    To clarify, a human murdering other humans due to some mental defect or some void where a conscience was supposed to be installed is a fact of human existence. There are bad people willing to murder others. It’s a sad reality.

    But when I think of people being truly terrible to each other, I think of the holocaust, or Rwanda, or ISIS, Stalin and Mao, and all the petty dictators in our “civilized” countries who would like to emulate them. I think of those who want to oppress, enslave, and torture people, not just kill them. Random murderers like the Charleston killer don’t worry me anywhere near as much as the thousands of normal humans I pass by every day who would gladly take a machete to my neck if a particularly charismatic despot told them too. They are the animals.

    • I agree Silver. The odd human acting outside of the societal norm is just that, odd. They are an outlier easily dealt with with good situational awareness and a gun.

      It is when mass murder is an institutional norm, usually guided, controlled and nurtured by governments, is when the true horrors of the “tragedy” of the church mass murder of nine killed by one deranged human being, becomes the “statistic” of hundreds of millions massacred by governments in the last hundred years.

    • Well said. Human nature hasn’t change much in the many millennia. We are just animals with a greater capacity for emotional control and logical thought. Just because we have that capacity, that doesn’t mean we develop it and apply it. Smart phones, spacecraft, skyscrapers, and other technical advances do not make our society a “civilization”. It is do we as a society look to maximize our abilities to control our primitive urges and use our logic to better ourselves that determines how civilized we are.

      Sadly, events of the recent decades lead me to believe we have dark days ahead. Rule of law is being eroded and giving in to those primitive urges and forsaking logic are prized. A modern dark age may be coming so to speak.

      • Too true. Just because we have some advanced technology doesn’t make us immune from dark ages. The Roman Empire, with very advanced technology for the time, was not immune from collapse; there is no reason to think we are immune from the same sickness.

  6. I guess those of you claiming it to be inconsistent because “killers are monsters but all humans are monsters” (paraphrased) missed the part about those who are human overcoming the evil and viciousness that makes up their primal instinct. (A little more paraphrasing)
    I think he has it right. We are all animals or monsters to begin with. We have to learn or strive to become exemplars of humanity rather than things driven solely by hate or simple bloodlust.

    • “We have to learn or strive to become exemplars of humanity rather than things driven solely by hate or simple bloodlust emotion.”

      There, fixed that for you.

  7. Having the desire to commit evil is human.
    Committing good instead is humanity.

  8. +777 Omer-may I add-“the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked’…and “if you like your health insurance you can keep it”…

  9. I started to carry all the time because the people America elected to represent them started to say I couldn’t . As a West Virginian I could already strap a pistol to myself and go to the store so I really didn’t need a CC permit but when folks in Washington and around the country started indicating they wanted to deprive me of these rights I decided that another number added to a gun carrying list would send the mentally challenged gun takers a message they may be able to understand . Every time they come out and whine about too many guns or people don’t need AR or high capacity magazines I go buy another one , Try a Noreen BN 36 , 30.06 AR with five 20 round magazines , night vision scope mounted on a bipod and loaded with high octane ammo .Every time there is another nut shooting multiple unarmed people somewhere there are the bigger nuts around the country crying gun control and I go and buy another gun , more ammo , green tips , black tips and red tips to fill up my ever growing supply of high capacity magazines . I happen to think I am not alone in these processes or patterns too . The numbers seem to indicate I’m right . I see these acquisitions as investments as it seems their value only increases in the face of greater tyranny . God bless .

    • Don’t forget to contact Manchin’s office, then. He seems to have forgotten that.

  10. “It is because human beings are truly terrible to one another.”

    Sometimes. But for the most part this is absolutely false. If people spent the majority of their time being “truly terrible to one another” our society would still be on the level of chimps throwing stones. There is certainly darkness in all of us, and enough people who I think are basically non-sentient (they go about their daily lives without doing any deep thinking about where their leaders are taking them; useful idiots) that they can be led to the dark side by a charismatic leader who tells them what they want to hear.

    For the most part, if left to their own devices most people are basically decent (if not very smart). We are wired to be social animals, and that requires that the majority have a common sense of fairness, and empathy for other members of the species.

    I say this as someone who was once called “dangerously cynical” by one of my college profs. But I have read a lot of history, and common sense tells me that if the majority of our time was spent doing the terrible things to each other that I know we have done at times, it would not have been possible for us to have built what is quickly becoming (for better or worse) a global society.

    Just my $.02.

    • A global society constantly marred by racial and religiously motivated slaughter, mass-murders, slavery of all sorts, rape, and people pocketing massive profits while those they employ have to scrounge for a basic living…
      Even in the most advanced countries people are, and have been found committing terrible acts upon others. In some cases “just because they can”

  11. Saying that Roof is human, and that humans are capable of doing very awful things, doesn’t mean we’re all just a hair away from a killing spree. Roof, and other murderers, are obviously giving in to various influences and/or mental illnesses that don’t affect most of us. Or at least we’ve built up defenses against such urges.

    And thank God for that.

    • That Sock Monkey is why we can have tens of millions of American law abiding citizens carrying weapons for self-defense and by government statistics, be more law abiding than the police.

      I say American law abiding citizens because up to now, our main stream culture has emphasized being law abiding, being fair and even handed in the application of that law. “It’s not if you win, it’s how you play the game”.

      There is a reason we have been the most prosperous and stable, politically and economically, of any country in the world. This stability just doesn’t happen by accident.

      Ask the immigrants from central and south america, , Russia, Africa, the mid east etc.

      But Liberal/progressives have been attacking and actively destroying this common societal norm. Just look at the behaviors of the protected classes to see where the progressives/statists are “transforming” our societal norm and where we are heading as a culture.

      It is the chaos that they are actively creating that they bring their solutions, which is more tyrannical government.

      Problem, reaction, solution. The statists are meglomaniacs, they aren’t stupid.

  12. More or less, yes.

    There are humans who have chosen (for whatever reason) to prey on, terrify and destroy others. All we can do is meet force with force and guile with guile- and pray that is enough to protect the rest of us.

  13. I agree with most of the original post, with the (very strong) exception of this:

    “These people had done nothing wrong, save for the error in being in that place, at that time, and having been brought unto this world with skin of a different shade than that of the monster that sought them out.”

    These people did nothing wrong. It was not wrong of them to be in that place, or at that time, or to have been brought into this world with skin of a different shade. You could arguably say they could have chosen to break the law and carry regardless of the law, or that they could have worshipped in a place that would have allowed them to exercise their constitutional rights, but even that they chose not to do either of those things still does not mean they did something wrong. That’s blaming the victim, and they are not at fault for what this sub human did and share no culpability in his act.

  14. Is Roof mentaly ill? Or was he raised from day one to hate black folks? Was he never taught the value of human lives? Was he told day after day his entire life that black people are untermenschen and should be killed? If so, who to blame? Take the parents to court too?
    Just a thought. To be clear, he should be locked up for life.

  15. I think much of what people call racism today is actually just anger. Justified anger. What this kid did was horrible and he’s responsible for it. He made a decision to harm innocent people. That’s not the gun’s fault, my fault or yours. He’s got problems in his head no doubt, but I’m also angry at the way this country is headed. Liberal policies put him on a path to that anger and his mental illness took over. I don’t happen to have that problem (depending on who you ask). Career and generational welfare pisses me off. Being made to feel guilty for being white, while black on black crime is exponentially higher than white on black crime, pisses me off. I’m getting old and tired. And I’m real tired of working to pay taxes so people perfectly capable of working, can sit on their ass and never look for a job. I know, racism makes it hard for them to find a job. So does not looking for one. My city had the highest unemployment rate in the country when I graduated high school in the early 80’s. I must have filled out 300 apps that summer (by hand, no computers). I talked to everyone, and I’m not a people person. Ended up with a pretty well paying job. I work across the street from a housing project (nice name for a crime ridden slum). Today was the first time in my 3 months there that someone from the neighborhood asked for an application. In those 3 months, we’ve handed out more than a dozen to people outside the neighborhood. I get so angry that I get lumped into groups like “racist white people” and “evil gun owner”, while I’m paying for the people that call me racist, and the policies of the ones that call me evil. But, being a somewhat sane person, I just eat that anger and go to work. Hoping some day it will get better.

    • The difference is that you won’t express your frustration by murdering a bunch of innocent people who have done you no wrong. Unlike Dylann Roof, you’re a decent human being. He crawled out of the same moral cesspool as the thugs from the crime ridden slum you mentioned.

  16. Finally, someone has placed blame squarely on the one person responsible which is the shooter himself. Everyone else has limited condemnation to impersonal things. The two favorites are racism and firearms.

    As far as I have seen, the NRA has done a poor job handling this incident. They could have issued a short press release offering sympathy for the victims and their families, an expression of rage at the shooter and revulsion for his ideology, and regret that no one on the scene had the tools and skills necessary to stop him, dead if necessary. Rather than blame the victims, specifically the pastor, for being unarmed, it would have been wiser to regret that they passed up the opportunity to protect themselves.

  17. Someone is reading my comments, great article. We as people will go through periods of low violence then out of nowhere a string of horrible events. The cyclical nature is normal. The triggers for violent behavior is a moving target and seldom tied to specific predictable issues. If it were we could quickly zone-in on them and free ourselves from much heartache. The left progressive side live in the wishful thinking world, choosing to believe they can manipulate human behavior by limiting human access to various inanimate objects and somehow sidestepping nature by ignoring it.

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