Shooting at Black Church: Strive for a World without Prejudice and Hate

A random shooting occurred in a black church located in the southern part of America, claiming the lives of nine black people. The suspect is a 21-year-old white man who opened fire while making racist claims. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, or FBI, has begun investigating this as a hate crime, and it definitely must not forgive racial discrimination and hate.

Hate crimes are classified as crimes committed due to prejudice and hatred toward an individual or group’s race, nation, religion, gender, etc. The suspect wrote online that blacks were “stupid and violent,” and that “[segregation] existed to protect us from them.” He also uploaded to Facebook a picture of himself wearing a jacket with the apartheid-era South African flag sewn onto it. It is very likely that he committed this act with the intention to promote white supremacy.

The incident occurred in Charleston, South Carolina, at a church nicknamed Mother Emanuel. In the 1820s, it was where slaves planned a revolt for the purpose of emancipation. However, their plan was discovered; more than 30 blacks were executed, and the church set aflame. In 1962, Martin Luther King, Jr., one of the leaders of the African-American civil rights movement, gave a speech at this same church. It is a symbolic location for the movement, and natural to think it was targeted because of this.

At the suspect’s hearing at the local courthouse, many of the victims’ family members stated that they forgave him for his crimes. In America, incidents where white policemen shoot blacks to death have continued from last year, and blacks have shot white policemen as revenge. The cycle of racial antagonism continues. As pious Christians, the victims’ family members seem to believe that forgiveness is the only way to end this chain of hate crimes. In accordance with their wishes, we must do whatever it takes to avoid taking revenge and continuing the cycle.

How did the young suspect come to own a gun? His father gave one to him when he celebrated his 21st birthday in April. In America, an ordinary citizen can easily obtain a gun. There is no doubt that these gun laws led to such tragic events.

After the incident, President Obama called for gun control. While his Democratic Party supports gun control, there are a great number of Republicans in both the Senate and House of Representatives who oppose it. It goes without saying that in order to keep these gun crimes from recurring in American society, gun control is necessary.

This incident provides a good chance to think about policy that can eliminate crimes stemming from prejudice and hatred such as race-based hate crimes; and to review America’s gun laws.

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