For those that understood/understand the flags, the statues, the hate speech, the mascots, the history revision, the free speech suppression, the calls for banning books, the renaming of schools… give them your firearms then they will finally be satiated.
“We have begun, as a nation, to slowly address the problem of the Confederate battle flag.“
“But… taking down symbols of hate means very little unless we also disarm people who are inspired by them…”
The Rev. Sharon Risher is a member of the Everytown Survivor Network, a volunteer with Moms Demand Action and the author of “For Such a Time as This: Hope and Forgiveness after the Charleston Massacre.”
The defining photograph of the attempted insurrection on Jan. 6 was that of a man strolling through the broken halls of our national Capitol, amid the smashed windows and assorted rubble of the failed coup, proudly brandishing a Confederate flag on his shoulder and hoping to overturn an election decided largely by Black voters. It’s an image that tells the story not only of Jan. 6 or of the Trump presidency, but also of all the steps that led to that moment — the whole history of hate in America captured in one frame.
Simply put, if the Confederate flag is the primary symbol of white-supremacist hate, the gun is its deadliest weapon.
We have begun, as a nation, to slowly address the problem of the Confederate battle flag. NASCAR recently banned it from events, Mississippi recently removed it from the state’s flag, and more prohibitions are hopefully on the horizon. My own story is an example of that incremental progress: The traitorous flag that flew over the South Carolina Capitol the day Mom was murdered was finally taken down a month later, after nationwide outrage.
But the truth is that taking down symbols of hate means very little unless we also disarm people who are inspired by them — and on that front, our nation has lagged woefully behind. We’ve failed to pass any significant federal gun-safety bill in the past 25 years; we’ve allowed armed extremists to brandish long guns at state capitols and intimidate peaceful protesters, and our background-check system remains riddled with gaps and loopholes. One of those gaps, now called the “Charleston loophole,” led directly to the death of my mom by allowing her killer to purchase a gun he was legally prohibited from owning.