By Ken Morse
The evening news is permeated with alarming reports of police officers gunning down and killing unarmed victims. There have been 54 such incidents in the past decade and in a majority of the cases it involved a white officer killing a black victim.
Ferguson, Cleveland, Staten Island, Baltimore and North Charleston are some of the more well know cities where this racial violence has take place. Police officers in general put their lives in peril every day in the line of duty. But what has taken place recently has torn the scab off a wound that has not been allowed to heal since the days of the civil rights movement.
The racial tension created by these incidents have reached a fevered pitch and then last Wednesday in Charleston, South Carolina our Nation was stunned by the news that nine black people were killed in a church by a white gunman.
The shooting took place at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church during a bible study where the suspect was invited in with open arms. Moments later shots rang out and the carnage left behind took the lives of South Carolina State Senator Rev. Clementa Pickney, Cynthia Hurd, Susie Jackson, Ethel Lee Lance, Rev. DePayne Middleton-Doctor, Tywanza Sanders, Rev. Daniel Simmons, Myra Thompson and Rev. Sharonda Singleton.
Charleston Police Chief Gregory Mullen labeled the shooting as a hate crime. The following day suspect Dylann Roof was taken into custody. The racial divide in this country grew that much wider as the news of this atrocity led every news broadcast.
Chief Mullen was correct in his assessment that this senseless act of violence was a hate crime. Unfortunately what the media, the police and the rest of this Nation failed to address was the issue that nine Christians were killed.
How is that relevant? Because at the bond hearing for the assailant several family members of the victims stepped forward to state that they forgive Roof for what he had done.
If this really were a racial prejudice issue the scenario at the bond hearing would have played out much different than it did. On the Sunday following the tragic murders the Christian community of Charleston filled the Emanuel AME Church with whites sitting beside blacks mourning and praying for the victims and their families.
There is no denying the fact that racial prejudice has gripped our society. But in the words of our Lord, “no weapon formed against you shall prosper.” The very tool of the devil to divide and conquer has failed miserably in Charleston, South Carolina as a church full of black and white Christians came together as one proving the spirit of love does conquer evil.
(Ken Morse is a freelance writer for the Citizen’s News in Naugatuck, Ct. and can be reached at [email protected]) and a member of the Rock of Waterbury Church in Waterbury, Ct.