With the nation mourning the victims of the Charleston church massacre and observing the 150th anniversary of Juneteenth, the June 16th commemoration of slave emancipation, there's no better time to confront the toxic influences of racism and easy access to guns that came together this week. "We can't accept events like this as routine," said President Obama. Actually, that was what he said after Newtown, several mass shootings ago. This time the president was, rightfully, angrier and wearier. "I've had to make statements like this too many times," he said, noting that "at some point, we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries." That reckoning should happen now -- right now -- even as the Confederate flag continues to shamefully fly at full mast above the South Carolina state house.
I know my father died a hero. Even after being shot multiple times, he courageously fought off the gunman, saving many, including my mother, at the expense of his own life. He defended the temple he founded, and this house of worship is the gift he left to us and his grandchildren. Just like Felicia Sanders. She sacrificed her body to cover and shield her young granddaughter, as her son, Tywanza, tried to talk down the gunman.
The dominance of semiautomatic pistols has greatly increased the firepower in civilian hands. Not only are semiautomatic pistols capable of rapid fire, they utilize high-capacity ammunition magazines and can be quickly reloaded. The combination of these features makes semiautomatic pistols efficient killing machines.
As soon as I heard about the mass killing of nine worshipers at Charleston's Emanuel AME Church, my heart broke -- again. Yet another gunman, yet another place that should be safe from violence, even more families shattered. No more Charlestons. No more Newtowns, Auroras or Isla Vistas. Not one more.
Your instinct will be to run directly away from the attacker, since a direct line is the shortest; however, you need to fight this tendency and make random cuts in your flight pattern. A moving target is fairly hard to hit, but if you're running in a straight line it's much easier, since you only have to correct one aspect of the aim if you miss.