Not the Confederate Flag. It's merely a symbol, and as with all symbols, the perception of what it means varies. We as a society take symbols way too seriously. It's almost funny how people freak out over them. But the truth of the matter is that if a flag talks to you, then you're schizophrenic.
Not the education system. Dylann Roof went through the very school district that Rick works in (he might have even attended the middle school where Rick works, but Rick can't recall because that was before iPad wonderland hit them and he had to work with the students on a daily basis). I can assure you that Lexington School District One does not teach, endorse, or condone the beliefs that Dylann Roof have claimed in the wake of his massacre. In fact, it's in direct opposition of everything they teach.
The real blame for the Charleston shooting on Wednesday night is society. Simply stated, the people around Dylann Roof listened to his racist claims since the Travon Martin case TWO YEARS AGO, and didn't do enough to refute them or bring Mr. Roof's beliefs into better balance. Much like radical terrorists, Dylann Roof was somehow exposed to extreme beliefs, and chose to accept them because there was nothing there to bring those beliefs into proper perspective or balance. I'll go so far as to say that all these people that knew him saying "I had no idea!" probably not only listened to these views, BUT PROBABLY AGREED WITH THEM TO HIS FACE. Whether they shared them or not, the simple fact of the matter is that they did nothing to correct erroneous thinking because he graduated from school, was an adult, and had his 'rights.' Translation: he was antisocial, and had a .45, so they were scared to disagree with him.
Herein lies the hypocrisy. When I was 21, people weren't afraid to get in my face and let me know how they thought I should live. I had just graduated college, was engaged to Rick, and was job hunting, and EVERYBODY let me know that they knew more about life than I did. Then again, they didn't have to fear me shooting them for running their mouths. If I had known 18 years ago that a .45 and scowl repelled unwanted advice, I might have have adjusted my approach to adulthood. And unfortunately, others are learning the same: scare people enough, and they won't mess with you.
The problem is that this is incorrect. We need to stop being scared and get a better perspective on when it's appropriate to intervene. People's rights and opinions should be respected, but we need to use some common sense and realize when a person honestly and truly needs correcting. And stop saying you didn't see it coming, because if you open your eyes and drop the denial, then you can because the warning signs are ALWAYS there. We just ignore them because we don't want to be inconvenienced with the problem, not realizing that taking the time to speak up could potentially save a life - or in this case, nine lives. Two years of "oh, that's just how he is" has caused nine people to die that shouldn't have. All the jail, punishment, ranting, raving, and rallies can't give them back the gift of life that Dylann Roof stole from them Wednesday night. You can't go back, and now so many people have to go forward with a hole that shouldn't be there.
It's a shame in so many ways. So stand by Charleston and remember: no matter what the pundits and the media tell you to believe, it boils down to one thing: Dylann Roof was just plain wrong, and there wasn't anybody there to tell him otherwise until it was too late.
That's all today. Take care. Have a Happy Father's Day tomorrow and a wonderful rest of your weekend.