As [I reflect on the tragedy of the Parkland, Fla., school shootings], several things came to my mind. First and foremost was our current president and his incessant bleating about a wall across the southern border of the U.S.; his constant drumbeating about the need to secure our borders from drug dealers, rapists and murderers coming out of Mexico to get us all.
But as a former resident of public housing in Asheville, I, along with the majority of residents who also lived there, were beset by gun violence from the few, and I stress few, of our neighbors and their friends who choose to kill and maim because of idiotic disagreements or a few dollars owed. No Mexicans were involved, to my knowledge. I’ve watched the news as schools, nightclubs, concerts and churches were attacked and people were slaughtered. All done by the hands and minds of our fellow Americans.
Somehow our country has devolved into a land that when we disagree with one another’s politics, race, gender preference or religious choice, some of us feel it’s all right to kill them. I missed the meeting when this was agreed on as a rational form of dissent. I always vote, but I never voted for this madness.
The second thing that stood out for me was that in every school shooting, at the concert in Las Vegas and the church in Texas and on and on, these were perpetrated by white men, yet not one was reported as a “white on white” crime. When there is so much fuss about how disgusting “black on black” crime is — is there some distinction between the two? I think not, yet we hear how we who are black “kill each other” often as a justification for a victim of police violence against often unarmed black people.
A fact in point is I have no animosity against the police who do their job in a lawful and professional manner. They are an asset to our community and definitely needed. I will always maintain that if America ever wants to get a handle on this death and destruction by guns, then be fair about how it’s reported. Singling out one race while tacitly giving another a “Mulligan” is patently unfair: Murder is murder, and it’s wrong whether by black men, white men or police officers. This nonsense about “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” is disingenuous at best. Guns do kill people who use them to — guess what? Kill people! Guns do not shoot themselves.
We have to learn how to talk again even if we disagree. We have to be real about issues of race and see how America is losing its moral standing in the world. When I hear cries of “Make America Great Again,” my thoughts go to history. From all the thousands of books I have read, the only conclusion I can reach is America was only great before it was discovered by some white men who killed as many of the people who were here long before they came. America might have been great before these same men finished their slaughter of the indigenous people and the bison and kidnapped millions of people from their homeland in Africa to do what they obviously could not do without my ancestors.
The thanks they got was hatred, which has been passed down to me and the rest of the Americans of African descent. But I know no other land. This is my home. I have the right to live and prosper according to my works like every white man who walks this land with me. My three daughters have the same right to go to school with the children of white America without the fear of death or miseducation. I pray to the Source of All Things for sanity to reign again in this country because, as I see it, madness now rules.
— Robert White