It may appear that America's very painful journey in dealing with race relations has taken yet another difficult detour. Over the last 22 days, words and phrases characterizing Black and White youth and their behaviors have flooded social media and online news agencies.
As I headed to bed Wednesday night, a white gunman shot and killed nine people in an historic black church in the center of town just four blocks from where I used to live. Unaware of the evil, sleep came quickly. But in the wee hours, the ping of a text from an Australian colleague woke me.
You've no doubt heard that this doesn't happen in countries like Japan, Australia, the United Kingdom and Canada where the gun rules are strict and lives are saved. But here the cycle of death, denial, resistance and madness goes on.
I was both one of the few witnesses to the crime scene and a photojournalist. It left me confused and conflicted, and I could not help but wonder whether publishing photos of a tragedy is ever justifiable.
Before we personally experience a mass shooting within our own community it is easy to distance ourselves and think that mass shootings happen in other places, and to other people. But Friday night drove me to understand that at any moment it can happen.
Maybe I've got it all mixed up, but I haven't seen any interviews with guys in prison who pulled out a gun and shot someone because it was the "only" way they could settle an argument on favorable terms.
What is it going to take for us to stand up and say enough to this internal gun war of American against American? What is it going to take to create a mental health system that prevents such tragedies from happening over and over?
Although the U.S. accounts for less than 5 percent of the global population, Americans own an estimated 35 to 50 percent of all civilian-owned guns in the world. We can free our nation of this scourge of gun violence.