Guns Don’t Kill People: Confederate Flags Kill People

When this battle flag of the 11th Mississippi Infantry was carried up Cemetery Ridge in Pickett's Charge, it must have felt about as friendless as the "Confederate flag" feels today. BTW, what everybody is arguing about today is not the flag of the Confederacy, but the battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia.

When this battle flag of the 11th Mississippi Infantry was carried up Cemetery Ridge in Pickett’s Charge, it must have felt about as friendless as the “Confederate flag” feels today. BTW, what everybody is arguing about today is not the flag of the Confederacy, but the battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia.

We have just seen another massive, and masterly, prestidigitation by the people who love guns and dislike poor people, and who understand that large majorities of Americans dislike gun violence and are poor. The continued existence of free and open elections in this country — albeit less free and less open every year — constrain these people from talking too openly about their vision for America, i.e. one nation, under God, armed to the teeth with people dying in the streets. So they obfuscate, and misdirect, and bloviate and lay down smoke.

And when confronted with a truly obscene massacre of innocent black people by a white  whack job with a racist manifesto and a gun, right wingnuts have to work overtime to come up with a diversion to keep the chattering class from talking about their manifesto. This time, after nine people at prayer were gunned down in a church in Charleston, South Carolina, they knew they were going to have to be really good to get this off TV and out of the minds of Americans before any damage was done to their Second Amendment Rights.

They were better than good. They were awesome. They tried a few honkers first, including one actually voiced by a state representative: that if only those elderly folk who went to that Bible study class had been packing heat, they would still be alive. And in any case, they should have fought back instead of waiting their turn to be shot. Honest to God. He said that.

Now, I don’t know who came up with the Confederate-flag meme. I doubt that it was one of the right wingnuts because, really, they are not that subtle. But when someone juxtaposed the fact that there had been a racist massacre and, just a few blocks away, a Confederate flag was flying, the right knew at once that this was the right thing. Pundits were puzzled that pols who had been declaring for decades that you could have their Confederate flag when you pried it from their cold dead hands were practically burning it in public. Why? the pundits wondered. Was this a historic paradigm shift, a nation suddenly discovering its conscience?

Old rule: when you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not zebras. Another old rule: the proof is in the pudding. And the pudding, in this case, was that within 48 hours of the atrocity, all the websites and the cable news channels had room for was pictures of the Confederate flag flying over a memorial near the state capitol. The chattering class, in full stampede, trampled each other to vilify the Stars and Bars, along with any state, county or grocery store that would tolerate its display.

Their syllogism was as simple as it was silly: Dylann Roof displayed the Confederate flag; subsequently, Dylann Roof killed a lot of people; therefore we have to get rid of the Confederate flag. I guess the headline they envision, coming soon to Fox News, would be: “Last Confederate flag comes down, mass shootings stop.” Yeah, I know, they don’t really think that. What they think is, by the time everybody finally runs out of things to shout about the Confederate flag, another shooting massacre will be old news, forgotten by everybody but the husbands and the wives and the children and the parents and the relatives and the friends.

The sound and the fury have been magnificent, from revisionist and simplistic history lessons about the Civil War to the discovery of Confederate symbols and colors lurking in other flags.

Meanwhile, cold hard facts lie disused in the basement of our culture, ignored by the party going on upstairs. Fact: the militants who have slaughtered more Americans since 9/11/2001 than any other group are white, right-wing Christian extremists (as none other than the New York Times has just pointed out — again). The violent extremists about whom police are most worried, as surveys by the Times and others have confirmed, are “militias, neo-Nazis and sovereign citizens” (by which they mean people who recognize the authority of no government).  As The Daily Impact pointed out three months ago.

Wait, what? Not the Muslim “lone wolf” popularized by frequent FBI news conferences, the crazed ISIS recruit who, if we don’t stay alert and buy more tanks, is going to kill us all in our beds (as presidential candidate Lindsey Graham put it)? No indeed. Loosely defined, presumptive, dumb-as-a-stump Islamic terrorists have killed three people in America  so far this year. A far more dangerous group, that racked up five fatalities so far — toddlers. It’s a fact.

So spare me, pundits, your comic-book versions of Civil War history that explain, neatly and without nuance, the motivations behind a conflict that over four bitter years inflicted a million casualties on our young nation. Spare me your tortured logic that says, among other things, that since most of the people who display the Confederate flag today are racists, the flag itself is racist. Using that construct, what could we say about the flag of the United States?

There is too much violence, and too much racism, in our country right now. Could we talk about that? Could you folks please stop changing the subject?

Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to Guns Don’t Kill People: Confederate Flags Kill People

  1. Avery says:

    Right. The Confederate flag is “the bad people’s flag” and represents bigotry and injustice, while the American flag is “the good people’s flag” and represents equality and justice. The reason for this is obvious: it simply won’t do to have people rallying around any historical thing that is not a full endorsement of what the American government is doing.

    In reality, of course, not only was the shooter wearing a Rhodesian rather than a Confederate flag, he wasn’t even raised racist, according to his own manifesto. He discovered his pet reason to murder civilians on the Internet, and cobbled together a bunch of opinions from random stuff from around the world. Hate, and no heritage.

    No wonder Southerners are particularly suspicious of what they read in the mainstream media.

  2. craig moodie says:

    I am environmentally conscientious apolitical agnostic organic homesteader non anthropocentric and have thus far for the most part enjoyed most of your articles, however your blatant liberalism has finally lost you one reader.

  3. Mike Kay says:

    Stepping aside from the heat of the moment to take a longer view, I really have to wonder why we are treated to an endless procession of (supposedly) lone nuts who go on shooting sprees.
    Whenever these lone nutter events are examined in any detail, the official description of events falls apart, leaving a long series of unanswered questions. Thus, when the most famous Marine sniper of all time repeatedly demonstrated that it was impossible to replicate the shooting prowess attributed to LHO in regards to JFK, the pundits, most of whom have never shot a rifle, simply buried him in endless Oswald did it diatribes.
    Similarly, we have records sealed in Sandy Hook, despite the obvious fact that no effort was made to explain the breach in police procedures, much less any of the other dozen or so unanswered questions.
    In the interests of brevity, I will dispense with any further examination on these, or the many other supposed lone nut attacks. Suffice it to say that the media in the usa has worked overtime to spotlight a decades long run of the lone nut, and for myself, until some extremely pertinent questions get addressed, I refuse to accept any official explanation of what supposedly occurred, and why.

    • Mike Kay says:

      In addendum, in order to address the racial issues bandied about by the media, no media coverage was given to a 2013 spree where a black man shot 4 whites just because they were white, and no coverage was given for the black man who shot up a church, abducted his wife and killed her.
      In addition, the efforts of the media to “cover” such racial issues are inflammatory, as in the St. Louis case, confused, as in the Baltimore case, or plainly absent, as in the two cases cited above.
      It might be possible to imagine that such discretionary treatment is simply accidental, if one did not have the window of history to view this sort of “coverage”.
      It certainly appears that the media wants you, dear reader, to be led to certain conclusions. It all makes perfect sense as long as you swallow the provided narrative. If that is all you need, then you must never call yourself an independent thinker, or anyone capable of challenging the prevailing newspeak of the times.

  4. john smith says:

    In the first pictures of this psycho to be posted online the flags of white rhodesia, now zimbabwe, and aparthied south africa were stitched on his jacket. Add the confederate flag to the mix and you have nothing but a racial motivated killing spree.

  5. Apneaman says:

    mike kay, if no media coverage was given to those shootings you mentioned then how do you know about them?

    • Mike Kay says:

      Hahaha, ah yes!
      So, out of any significant information in my comment, the only thing you find of any interest are word games. How very instructive! Indeed, the boredom and thirst for titillation so present in the jaded character of the typical westerner is just so 21st century…

      • Apneaman says:

        You missed the whole fucking point of Tom’s article. Went straight to knee jerk defense mode. BTW, pointing out the error in someones contradictory argument is not a word game, it’s how an actual debate works; while throwing a hissy fit when your error gets called out is.

        • Mike Kay says:

          Ape man,
          I understand that Mr. L. is of a pretty strong opinion regarding the event in question, however, your inability to form a coherent response is…tiring.

  6. KB says:

    Interestingly, Amazon now bans selling the confederate flag, yet Nazi flags are somehow still okay to sell on Amazon….where is your anger for that injustice? Was not Nazi Germany ALL about racism?

    The leftist hypocrisy never ceases to astound.

    • Tom Lewis says:

      My anger? You read this piece and got out of it that I am angry about the Confederate flag? Please read it again. Hit all the words this time, before launching H-bombs.

      • KB says:

        YOU are so angry at everything…and it shows every time you drop the phrase “right-wing nuts.”

        Do you not yet understand that it doesn’t matter who or what ideology a person hides behind…the common denominator is EVIL!!

        Christ NEVER said, “Kill people in my name.” IT was and is EVIL people who excuse(d) their behavior by hiding behind his name and Christianity. Christ’s message was love.

        And IT is EVIL people who hide behind Islam.

        And IT is EVIL people who do evil under the guise of government.

        You are just angry and you feel helpless to fix it….and it shows.

        Please don’t let your message get lost in your anger…because it becomes hypocrisy.

  7. Tom says:

    Sorry i’ve been knocked off line for two days due to the recent storm on Tuesday that slammed the east coast [i also had no running water due to electric well pump] and have been in the dark [sure glad it happened in summer this time].

    My take on Mr. Lewis’s article is that isn’t simply the confederate flag that’s the issue here, but, like the equally guilty US flag, they’re simply diversions to distract from the real issues of gun control, hatred, violence, bias and supremacy. The topic needs to be explored, but we don’t want to upset anyone in this P.C. age, so the status quo, sick as it ever was, continues.

  8. meat wad says:

    Wow… very strange comments in response to this article… people really went off the rails on a normally civil blog.

    This supports my observation that the topic of firearms is probably the biggest lightning rod for emotional reaction in our current discourse in the USA. That observation comes from both the inside and outside perspective: I was a member of the NRA for years… until I realized they are simply a lobbying group like any other. Not saying they’re right or wrong, but call a spade a spade: they’re businessmen in it for the money, nothing more, and appealing to emotion is their moneymaker. Consider the fact that every time a Democrat gets elected it’s a membership drive, and hoarders clean the shelves to the cry of “Obama’s gonna take our guns!” The gun industry loves Democrats: business booms when Dems are in office. I would not be surprised if the gun industry gives Democrats campaign contributions on the sly.

    Anyway, I’ve spent plenty of time around shooting ranges and still own firearms. But I never had the emotional attachment to firearms that I couldn’t recognize some basic facts surrounding them.

    I don’t know if the author has an agenda or not, but I fail to see any hypocrisy in this article, just a lot of fallacious use of the term “hypocrisy” in the comments section. Author was simply pointing out a classic switcheroo in the national discussion, and I think he’s right. Unfortunately he seems to have hit a nerve center with his reader base. Pro tip: don’t bring up Nazis when it’s totally off topic.

    • JungleJIm says:

      Yes, the NRA is a lobbying group. I maintain a basic membership. It’s GOA (Gun Owners of America) that gets the bulk of my contribution.

  9. Tom says:

    Time to retire “rallying point for racists and murderers, the stars and stripes”

    Check out Scottish comedian and writer Frankie Boyle’s biting response to the Charleston shooting and related events. A couple of excerpts:

    …white America wants to believe that its racial fault lines only run as deep as the Confederate flag [but] It’s surely worth wondering whether it’s time to retire the flag that has for so long been a rallying point for racists and murderers, the stars and stripes.


    …not everybody gets behind the US’s view of itself, which is why it is the world’s largest producer of propaganda. … American Sniper … was basically Star Wars from the point of view of one of the stormtroopers… There are many indicators of advanced civilisations, but unthinking hero worship of the military isn’t one of them.

  10. Apneaman says:

    Tennessee Hardware Store Puts Up ‘No Gays Allowed’ Sign
    The owner, a Baptist minister, says ‘I’m standing for what I believe in’ and has no plans to take the sign down.

  11. Apneaman says:


    Dukes of Hazzard Dropped by TV Land: Bad Rap for the Good Ol’ Boys?

    “How much to get the The General Lee a new paint job?

    That question might be on the mind of Dukes of Hazzard fans after TV Land yanked twice-daily reruns of the show earlier this week due to controversy over the Confederate flag emblazoned on the roof of the 1969 Dodge Charger driven by its central characters, Bo and Luke Duke”

  12. Mark Grable says:

    Of the 10 rights guaranteed to US citizens, by the US Constitution, how many, I ask myself, am I willing to surrender for security ??

    Apparently, not as many as others are willing to surrender for me.

    What strategies and tactics are these others willing to use to eviscerate the constitution? Are they any better than those employed by the NRA?
    In this graph, notice where Switzerland and Israel are found – nations with more firearms per persons than the US. I offer this graph because it suggests, in the context of this discussion, what is not being discussed, here or in the blogosphere.

    Inequality fuels violence

    Violence is used to create inequality.

    Frequently ignored is the 2,700 average killed every month in automobiles, and the 5,800 injured every month, and how, by reducing the speed limit to 55 mph, these numbers come down significantly. Fuel consumption and carbon emissions are also slashed.

    Where are the anti-drivers? The media? Because statistically, you are 5 – 10 times more likely to be injured or killed by a car driver.