[This was originally posted November 9, 2015]
It still seems so surreal to me, so hard to believe.
A young maniac kills nine people in a church because they are of a different race than his. He uses a handgun that he acquired by taking advantage of loopholes in gun regulation laws.
And nothing is done to close these loopholes in gun regulation laws. Guns remain as easy to acquire as ever for people who simply should not be able to acquire guns.
But simply because this killer posted pictures of himself on social media with Confederate flags–Confederate flags are suddenly targeted. Politicians all over the American South (most of them Republicans) immediately remove Confederate flags from all displays–even purely historical ones. And producers and retailers, nationwide, immediately stop producing and selling Confederate flags.
And I think this won’t happen where I live–because the Confederate Battle Flag was replaced with the First Confederate Flag, in the displays of the Five Flags of Pensacola’s history and heritage, fifteen years before.
Then a small group of power-hungry contrarians demands that the mayor of Pensacola remove even the First Confederate Flag from the Five Flags displays. And he gives in, without any regard for the citizens of Pensacola. Later, the Escambia County Commission follows up on the Pensacola mayor’s decision with a proposition banning any variation of the Confederate Flag from any display–historical or otherwise–forever.
It is an act of mass censorship, committed by state and local governments and corporate retailers alike. It is a dangerous precedent–an indirect violation of freedom of speech. And indirect violations of freedom of speech lead to direct violations of freedom of speech.
And I seem to be one of only a small percentage of people–in this tiny metropolitan area of the American South–who truly realize how dangerous this is.