- - Monday, June 22, 2015

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

As we look around the world, there is an abundance of evil emerging, as though it believes it has a green light to wreak havoc. And yet, in the midst of an incomprehensible horror unleashed in a place of worship here at home, we’re also seeing faith prevail in so many ways.

Wednesday night of last week thrust on us an atrocity which can never be fully comprehended. The calculated, cold-blooded murder of nine people in Bible study at the historic Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina shook this nation to her core.

The perpetrator, quickly identified, had that same disturbed, crazy-eyed glare of other mass shooters. Survivors reported the young, white male declared a racist motive during the shooting.

Almost immediately, as we’ve seen so many times before, politicians and their hustlers were out in front, even before one victim was buried, cynically using the event as a cudgel against political opponents and to push favorite political agendas. As Democratic Party politician, operative and former Barack Obama adviser, Rahm Emanuel asserted in 2008 “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.”

With the nation still reeling, President Obama had an opportunity to do something remarkable with his press conference addressing the horror — he could bring the country together, use the faith that unites the people of Charleston and the faithful at Emanuel AME, reminding us of who we are, beyond the ravings and craven act of one individual.

But he didn’t. Instead he chose, again, to politicize a tragic situation by bringing up gun control, complaining about Congress, and then remarkably asserting that, “Once again, innocent people were killed in part because someone who wanted to inflict harm had no trouble getting their hands on a gun. … We as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries.”

So much for being a Uniter-in-Chief.

The collective reaction on Twitter to his shocking comment was,”What?!” The people of France and Norway know how wrong Mr. Obama is. David Harsanyi at the Federalist reminds us of other horrific mass shootings and violence in “advanced countries” like the Czech Republic, Germany, Serbia, Russia, England, Brazil and China, all within the last few years.

This is not meant to diminish or compare obscenely inexplicable acts of violence, but they do highlight the willingness of our own president to choose the cynical (and oftentimes untrue) path in order to exploit a tragedy for political gain.

The heartbreak in Charleston was movingly illustrated by their mayor and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley during a press conference. Both referred to the faith their communities are built on, and you knew watching them that the relationship with the divine is what they would rely on to handle the unfolding pain and grief.

And then there is the woman who helped capture the suspected gunman. Debbie Dills was heading to work in Kings Mountain, North Carolina, not knowing she would become the person who would help get a maniac off the street.

“I’d been watching a lot of the news coverage starting the night before and I’d been really thinking and praying about the people there and how horrific what happened to them was,” Ms. Dills told ABC News. “I’d seen pictures of the car and pictures of the young man, and I looked over and noticed the car,” Ms. Dills said. “And then I realized, I had seen the car. I’d seen the South Carolina state license plate on the car. And then I’d seen the haircut,” she said. “The things the news was telling us to look for or to look at.”

When asked by Elizabeth Hasselbeck of Fox News’ “Fox and Friends,” Ms. Dills reminded us about the power of faith in every circumstance: Ms. Hasselbeck asked, “Debbie, you are a hero… Do you ask God, “Why me? Why here? Why me, God? Why am I the hero?” To which Ms. Dills responded: “Oh, I’m not the hero, God is the hero. He just used me. If we are a willing vessel, He can use us. But we gotta open our hearts and our minds. And I don’t know why He chose me… He’s going to get the glory, one way or the other and I hope He’s pleased with me…”

The people of Charleston are also exhibiting the faith for which that city is known, and the courage and generosity which is a hallmark of their African-American community. In interviews with community members and worshipers at Emanuel AME Church, it is faith which informs and comforts them in their grief.

Politicians often seem to enjoy making things worse for this nation. Many rely on stoking fear as a motivator for their own political gain. It is time to reject their craven implications that, as Sen. Rand Paul asserted after the shooting, “There is a sickness in the country.” No there isn’t. There are individual lunatics who act on evil as average, courageous Americans come together to heal and rise above. It is times like these when we must reject the opportunist cynicism of some and remember who we really are as we embrace those who suffer.

Tammy Bruce is a radio talk show host.

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