Perspectives: Stop focusing on nonissues; Charleston shooting

OPINION – Considering that we live in the Information Age, we spend an inordinate amount of time spinning our wheels over nonissues. Much of this wasted time is driven by what dominates any given news cycle.

Coverage of the recent murder of nine churchgoers at a Charleston, South Carolina, Bible study is providing some stark examples of this phenomenon.

What might have been useful insights are currently being discarded in favor of clumsy political grandstanding.

Judging by the hyperventilation this coverage is provoking on social media, it’s clear that an obscene amount of effort is being exerted – for nothing.

Allow me to explain.

The Charleston church shooting has resurrected the hopes of various opportunists who hope to capitalize on our outrage before it can fade. Pundits and politicians are eagerly pimping the same old tired, fear-ridden clichés of racism, gun violence and historical symbols they want to see banned.

So-called social justice warriors have historically played upon the emotion and shock that follows the loss of innocent life. The phrase “waving the bloody shirt” speaks to the time-honored practice of using impassioned rhetoric to inflame hatred or prejudice against a perceived enemy.

In this case, their perceived enemies are those of us who refuse to march in lockstep with certain politically correct dogma.

Anyone who disagrees with the idea that American society is seething with racism is likely to be accused of being a racist. Likewise, those who refuse to support mandatory victim disarmament are smeared as being in favor of indiscriminate killing.

Rounding out the current unholy trinity of forbidden thoughts is the demand that historical symbols of the failed Confederacy be banned from public view lest slavery somehow make a comeback.

Why should these subjects be regarded as nonissues?

Note how the ideologues most determined to end racism are actually perpetuating it in order to draw attention to themselves. Institutionalized racism has been replaced with race-baiting that claims to discern racial hatred in peaceful people who have offered no offense; intentional or otherwise.

As long as a person’s behavior is peaceable, it’s no one’s business what thoughts reside in their hearts. We have no enforceable obligation to think alike regarding our freedom of association.

The murderous actions of a mad man do not portend a threat being posed by scores of millions of gun owners who have never harmed a soul. To punish them by restricting their right to self-defense, without due process, is collectivist tyranny of the worst kind.

The record gun and ammunition sales of the past 7 years have been a direct response to the thought that someone might be foolish enough to force the issue. It’s doubtful that the individuals who made those purchases did so with any intention of obeying whoever is demanding that they be disarmed.

It’s not going to happen.

Those who seek to ban symbols that have different meanings to different groups are asserting the outrageous idea that our thoughts and ideas are subject to their approval. They seek psychological, rather than physical, control over others by imposing their ideals onto us.

Whenever the collective forces itself into the personal realm of the individual, it may rightly be called oppression.

What’s the best response to such unrepentant aggression? Ignore it.

Who really believes that one more gun law or banning a flag will change anyone’s heart?

Totalitarian groupies have little to offer that could actually make the world a better place. The fact that they seek to force others to do their bidding strips them of whatever legitimacy they might have had.

Thankfully, an example of pure leadership can be found in the inspiring behavior of family members of some of the victims killed in last week’s murderous rampage.

As Dylann Roof made his first court appearance last Friday afternoon, he was confronted by the families of the people he is accused of murdering. One after another, tearful family members offered their forgiveness to the silent young man on the video screen.

If anyone had a right to be irrational – to express genuine outrage – it would be these people who were crushed by the loss of their loved ones. Instead, they followed the precept of loving their enemy and praying for one who had spitefully harmed them.

That’s the kind of strength and power that vanquishes darkness and hatred by generating light and love.

These are the kind of people who move the world in a better direction. They are making a difference not by demanding capitulation to their viewpoint but by the undeniable power of their personal examples.

They will sway more hearts and minds than the opportunistic social justice warriors ever could. We could all learn something from them.

Bryan Hyde is a radio commentator and opinion writer in Southern Utah. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.

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Email: bryanh@stgnews.com

Twitter: @youcancallmebry

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2015, all rights reserved.

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33 Comments

  • Real Life June 22, 2015 at 10:08 am

    Very well written. It is shameful what some so called leaders will do at times like this, to push their own agendas.

    • native born new mexican June 22, 2015 at 7:15 pm

      I agree with you REAL LIFE you got it just right. A historical flag and a inanimate object, a gun, did not kill those Innocent people. A crazy kid on mind altering drugs did kill them. He chose a gun but he could have chosen many ways to do his terrible deed. It is the kid who has the problem, not the gun and the flag. Deal with the kid and all others like him who find all sorts of reasons (you name them) to hate and hurt other people. Stop the real problem. Don’t use the tragedy for your own selfish agenda. I have a right to my gun and my family history. I have confederate soldiers in my ancestry and I am proud of them. It is not OK to hate me, or them or their flag.

  • Brian June 22, 2015 at 10:32 am

    If you want to look at gun violence, you have to look at BOTH sides of gun violence: gun violence committed by individuals, such as this, and gun violence committed by governments and dictators, such as stalin, mao, etc, etc. Roughly 160 million people were killed by their own governments between 1900 and 2000 because the governments were armed and the people were not. That’s an average of 1.6 million per year, or 30,769 per week, or 4,380 per day, or 182 per hour, or 3 per minute. So for that 100 year period you’d have to have a shooting like the one in Charleston EVERY 3 MINUTES to have the same death toll. Unless you disarm everyone alike, including governments, criminal, and police, you shouldn’t disarm anyone. The 2nd Amendment isn’t about hunting or sport shooting, it’s about maintaining parity between the government and the people. The world is rapidly moving toward a tyrannical police state (after a very brief stop at the nanny state), and tyranny and an armed populace are incompatible. That’s why they want to disarm us. Period.

  • anybody home June 22, 2015 at 11:24 am

    I have just forwarded this rambling and shameful piece of Shinola to friends all over the country to let them know what kind of thinking goes on in Utah, especially in St. George. I realize that the columnist has a First Amendment right to say whatever he wants, but the editor of a newspaper has a responsibility to maintain the integrity of the paper and to determine what does and does not fit that integrity. Editors all over America make such choices. Since this article did appear this morning, I can only think that Brian Hyde’s opinions match those of the St. George News and its editor and editorial board. So be it. Mr. Hyde himself is one who loves to wave the bloody shirt to support his own narrow-minded views. Enough is enough. There’s a better America out there and those who can write to elevate that America and bring it to the forefront rather than promote their own form of hatred under the guise of free speech will get my attention in the future.

    • Hunter June 22, 2015 at 12:31 pm

      While I often do not agree with Mr. Hyde’s opinions, you are making a basic error in your logic as it relates to St. George News. Mr. Hyde is a columnist whose work is published as an opinion piece in the opinions section. It is not an editorial, therefore his words do not necessarily represent the position of St. George News or its editorial board. This is common practice in papers and news sources across the country. Essentially, his column is considered the same as a letter to the editor…one person’s position or opinion without endorsement from the agency.

    • sagemoon June 22, 2015 at 12:31 pm

      Thanks for sharing your opinion. In my opinion, Bryan just shared some intelligent and legitimate thoughts. I’m not sure his ideas are in line with the majority of southern Utah residents. Personally, I wish they could be! Allowing a voice to be heard is never irresponsible. Silencing a voice so it doesn’t offend others is irresponsible. Sharing this article with all your like-minded friends is the first amendment in action. Congratulations for embracing your right to free speech.

    • Roy J June 22, 2015 at 1:18 pm

      ANYBODY,
      You’re not much of a writer yourself, and in this particular case you aren’t even rational. There’s nothing meritorious in spouting your own brand of vitriol. I enjoy reading your posts when there’s something of substance behind it, but not otherwise.

    • fun bag June 23, 2015 at 1:39 am

      Perspective Clown’s trolling has thrown ANYBODY HOME into a full on rage …LOL 😀

  • fun bag June 22, 2015 at 12:05 pm

    Yea, i made it a point to not watch any tv news at all lately, cause honestly i just don’t wanna hear about it. it’s all a scam…

  • arrowone June 22, 2015 at 12:42 pm

    Anybody home looks like they got up and left. Please describe your thoughts on the mass shooting at Ft Hood by a Muslim that was classified as a work place violence. Seems as the current administration will pick and choose. More people are killed by hammers in the US every year than guns. No permit to buy them though.

  • KarenS June 22, 2015 at 4:57 pm

    As usual, Mr. Hyde seeks not to inform but to inflame. I have not heard anyone talk about “banning” the Confederate flag, just removing it from state houses in South Carolina and Mississippi. And, I think some common sense guns controls are needed which have nothing whatsoever with being “disarmed”. The only good comment in Mr. Hyde’s article was the acknowledgement of the amazing response of the family members of those who were gunned down. They were truly inspiring.

  • laytonian June 22, 2015 at 6:38 pm

    Another piece of garbage by Brian Hyde.
    Saying that the KILLING OF NINE PEOPLE in a church is a “nonissue” because (obviously) a gun was involved, is about as disgusting a thing as I’ve ever read.

    I believe Hyde would speak in tongues if this happened in his church, his community OR by a black person inside a white church.

    This was terrorism by a gun-loving, Confederate-flag waving, hater of all but Aryans and Asians. He killed twice as many people as the Boston Marathon bombers.

    ……and you brush it off.

  • fun bag June 22, 2015 at 8:25 pm

    not much to be done about random nuts shooting things up anyway. If they didn’t have guns they could use something else… like a car even. Anyone else get as tired of the whining?… Need another excuse for the gov’t to pass around free crying towels? they could even print Obama’s portrait on them…

  • NotSoFast June 22, 2015 at 11:09 pm

    It’s truly amazing how a sensible opinion by a columnist, can make someone ‘do-do’ in their pants and yell that peoples rights have no place in the 21st century. Anyone who want to hold on to their rights must be labeled a bigot, a out of touch right wing
    misinformed white boy and demand they drink the Kool Aid put before them. Or Else!
    Keep writing good, honest articles Bryan.

  • GrandmaB June 23, 2015 at 7:03 am

    Really, I knew I would read something like this. I live in St. George, after all. I guess I wasn’t expecting it quite so soon.

    “Pundits and politicians are eagerly pimping the same old tired, fear-ridden clichés of racism, gun violence and historical symbols they want to see banned.”

    “Those who seek to ban symbols that have different meanings to different groups are asserting the outrageous idea that our thoughts and ideas are subject to their approval. They seek psychological, rather than physical, control over others by imposing their ideals onto us.” This is garbage reasoning. Especially with a symbol of slavery.

    Boy, you are so right there. Flying a flag on government property that is a symbol of slavery, of the hatred of the confederacy for the union – “seeking psychological, rather than physical control…” the collective of the state forcing its view on its citizens. No matter the psychological cost. Every time a black person looked at that flag they were reminded of the pain, horror and sheer damnation of being a slave. Not owning your own body, being bought and sold, not allowed to have families, being murdered if you read, especially the bible. Not benefiting form your own labor. Jim Crow wasn’t that long ago, but then, neither was the slavery. Now as Gov. Haley stated, keep you silly flags, but keep them in your home. I have to think that you as a human being, Bryan, just don’t have the imagination that it takes to have that kind of empathy that is needed to understand the damage caused by that symbol.

    You should be ashamed of yourself, but I know you are not. “Same old tired, fear-ridden clichés,….” completely ignoring the fact that this kid actually put out a manifesto on “racism,” with so many pictures of the symbols of hatred and racial divide that even his defenders on FOX shut up.

    But, you don’t really care about any of that do you? This is really all about the gun issue. And NO ONE has suggested they take away your guns. But, you couldn’t even wait a week before you started spewing your twisted logic.

    The utter nonsense that the 2nd Amendment is to maintain parity between individuals and the Government just proves that no one, including the author has read the Constitution or the Federalist Papers. “A well armed militia” is being met by the National Guard, or our national military. The amendment was added to make sure we could protect ourselves from other countries invading our shores. If the gun owners in this town really believe that they could stand up to our military, including our national guard, they need their drugs taken away from them. But, that is beside the point. As long as you want to live in your military fantasy, while being too cowardly to join, then, we as a nation will have to put up with our children being at risk. Constantly, from some hate filled, racist piece of garbage like this kid. And don’t use self protection as an excuse. Just doesn’t fly.

    The Pope is totally correct. And I’m not catholic. Real Christians don’t need guns to prop their flagging self respect up. They don’t need the symbols of slavery and hatred to make themselves feel good! And they don’t need guns to make this world a better place to live.

    So glad to meet you Bryan, I really hope you wear some of your iconography on your person so we can all continue to identify the fear ridden terror mongers in our society. We will cringe when we see you coming.

    • fun bag June 23, 2015 at 9:44 am

      Well, they don’t call him “Perspective’s Clown” for nothing. He’s like his very own side show. It’s funny though, keep him away from politics and his writing is far less offensive and almost puts a person to sleep…

    • jaybird June 23, 2015 at 10:42 am

      Too true Grandmab. Brian’s truth doesn’t match with Christianity, nor is very caring toward those who died in this massacre.

    • Bender June 23, 2015 at 10:49 am

      GRANNYB, I like your style.

    • Brian June 23, 2015 at 12:31 pm

      The pope is totally correct? Is this the same pope that says anyone who invests in weapons manufacturers can’t call themselves Christians? The same pope that commands his own army (the Swiss Guard) with a massive armory? http://www.guns.com/2014/04/13/guns-swiss-guard/ Matthew 7:5, Job 34:30, Luke 11:44 come to mind. This pope is totally misguided. He wants to serve God, just with everyone else’s money by decree (AKA marxism, socialism, communism, etc). I think he misunderstood Matthew 19:21, thinking Jesus said “sell that thy neighbor hast, and give to the poor”… Jesus said to sell your ~own~ stuff and give to the poor, not have the government take it from others.

      • anybody home June 23, 2015 at 2:53 pm

        Now you’re showing your true bigoted colors, Brian – and your stupidity. Railing about the best Pope the Catholic church (I’m not Catholic) has had in years, confusing an armory with personal gun ownership, describing the Catholic church as a socialist, communist organization…Do you ever get anything factually correct or do you just blather to hear yourself blather?

        • Brian June 23, 2015 at 3:23 pm

          HE said anyone that financially supports weapons manufacturers can’t call themselves Christians. Do you think those guns and bullets just magically fall from heaven like manna? HE and the Catholic Church clearly financially support weapons manufacturers. He didn’t make any distinction between an armory and personal gun ownership. In fact, he was saying anyone with weapons manufacturers in their portfolio couldn’t call themselves Christians. Plain and simple he’s way off base on this (and on global warming, among other things). We’ll just have to disagree on this pope (and a large number of Catholics agree with my position; feel free to Google it), but I’m simply taking his words literally and genuinely, without twisting them.

          • anybody home June 23, 2015 at 5:15 pm

            You just continue to dig yourself deeper into the idiotic hole, Brian. Where’s your data that the Pope and the Catholic Church “clearly financially support weapons manufacturers?” Are you still confused about what an armory is – well, it’s not a manufacturing plant, it’s a storage place. He didn’t have to make a distinction between an armory and personal gun ownership because – wait for it, he wasn’t talking about that! He was talking about manufacturing. But noooo, you distort and distort and get your knickers in a twist and just have to figure out a way to prove your point. If you have evidence that you are “simply taking his (the Pope’s?) words literally and genuinely, without twisting them, please cite your reference. You are a danger to clear thinking, pal. And attacking another religion is about as low as it gets.

    • anybody home June 23, 2015 at 12:34 pm

      Bravissima, GrandmaB. You go, girl!

  • jaybird June 23, 2015 at 10:30 am

    Many people making comment here have missed the point entirely. This shooting was racially focused against black Americans. The kid wasn’t mad (crazy); he was a hateful white racist with a gun. I imagine he hated Jews too. Taking down the confederate flag is a step in the right direction. It’s disrespectful and dull to what it means in our American past. NC’s and Mississippians, should fly the flag in their own yard openly to let everyone know where this hatred is coming from. Germany doesn’t fly the nazi flag to commemorate the lost nazis of WWII. It’s the same thing. Some white people around here ignorantly adhere to white supremacy bigotry, thinking it gives them power. What a joke. Time to get over it.

    • KarenS June 23, 2015 at 1:20 pm

      You are correct, Jaybird. According to the shooter’s manifesto he hated blacks, Jews, Hispanics. It was standard white supremacist rhetoric. Good grief, that flag in South Carolina was not at the statehouse until 1962. Hmm, let’s see, what was going on then in the South? Oh right, the civil rights movement, desegregation, etc. That flag was a protest to all of those things and now is the time to take it down.

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