As a child, I was taught that God was and is love. When I watched white police officers and firefighters spraying black people with fire hoses and setting vicious dogs on them, I can remember my mother saying, without batting an eye, "We are to forgive them, Susan."
It appears there is nothing young, white men can do, including killing lots of innocent people at church, that will tarnish the positive bias toward that group, and there is nothing amazing enough that black men can do that will allow them to escape being perceived as the ones to be feared.
It happened in a church this time, a "House of God." It didn't happen in a school, or a workplace like the unbridled carnage of rampages...
As we hold everyone involved in the horrific tragedy in Aurora in our thoughts, I wanted to take a moment to share a snapshot of the moments of my shock and horror when the news broke about the verdict in your son's case.
In the wake of the Newtown tragedy, I was also able to connect with a passionate community of mental health advocates. Eight of these mothers, all powerful advocates in their own right, wrote letters to Robert and Arlene Holmes. Here is some of what they shared.
We should also take a moment this month to recognize the red flags that we have overlooked and remember those who have perished because we haven't taken action: the red flags of mental health that are far too often unseen.
A jury will soon decide whether James Holmes is guilty or not guilty by reason of insanity. Last week, one of his victims, Ashley Moser, took the stand in her wheelchair.
Judge Carlos Samour, Jr. dismissed 3 jurors for violating his repeated instructions "to avoid outside information on James Holmes' death penalty trial and not talk about the case with anyone."
The insanity defense, which dates back to ancient times, is a controversial defense option. In fact, not all 50 states allow an insanity defense, and several of those that do have rejected "not guilty by reason of insanity" in favor of the less-forgiving "guilty but insane."
When inexplicable tragedies happen, we seek to find an avenue for blame. If we can establish blame, we can establish cause. If we can establish cause, then, maybe, we can find a way to keep it from happening again.
Whether or not one believes in the fairness of the justice system, the picture that African-Americans see is stark and bleak. The facts stare them in the face every day.
In cases like Holmes and Tsarnaev, we ask ordinary citizens to go beyond their assumptions and biases, manage their conflicting emotions and take on the difficult task of determining punishment for two heinous crimes that cry out for retribution.
I don't know the details of James Holmes' state of mind at the time of the tragic shootings, but I do know there is an evolving standard of decency in this country when it comes to exposing seriously mentally ill citizens to the death penalty.
America's love affair with guns has now reached a zenith (or a nadir, depending on how you look at it), wherein no amount of carnage seems to be able to change our basic fondness for owning guns.
How many families have to be devastated by the impact of this disease before we make mental illness a priority in this country? One in four is sick. If it were influenza, it would be an epidemic.
The most surprising consequence of the new law in Colorado has nothing to do with losing manufacturers. It has to do with the state of Colorado losing counties.