Friday, June 19, 2015

This One Hit A Little Too Close to Home

We've started the process of formally merging the two guilds together into one guild and Wednesday the combined guild took its first steps in Heroics. We had previously killed Beast Lord, Hanz and Franz and Gruul on Heroic and we managed to get them down again with some effort. It is so funny how our comp swings from one night to the next. One night we will have healers (and shamans) coming out of our ears to the extent that some people switch to an alt, but the next night, we'll be looking for healers to log on and have one shaman. Such is life on the Casual Deck of the good ship Raiding.

While we were raiding Wednesday, a coward committed an act of evil less than 10 miles from where I sat in my desk chair. #PrayersForCharleston, #PrayForCharleston, and #CharlestonShooting filled my social media. I was numb. This sort of stuff doesn't happen here, and certainly not this close to home. I went and kissed each of my sleeping children on the forehead and hugged my wife. Sleep did not come easy that night.

Thursday was an emotional day as we learned more details of what happened. I found myself sitting at my desk staring blankly at Visual Studio, and fighting back tears. Family, friends and coworkers talked about it. At work, we all went down to the cafeteria to see the news conference that announced the thug's arrest. I can't fully explain how surreal it is to see the CNN guy on TV and recognizing every street, and building in the background of the image.

When Thursday night came, I was spent. As raid time neared, I felt more and more reluctant. I logged into long enough to tell my Raid Leader I was going to take the night off. Raiding was going to take more than I had to give mentally, or emtionally. I eventually logged in to do some garrison missions and cycle my auctions, but I had no interest in killing anything, even if it was just pixels.

I called it an early night and headed off to bed, but again sleep did not come easy. I want to do something. I've done my best to raise color blind children and I've tried to lead them by example by treating every person with respect and honor. But is there more I can do?

I am proud of the way my city has handled this. There have been no riots, no looting. People from various ethnicities have come together to pray and lift their voices to God. The coward who did this wanted more violence. If reports are to be believed, he hoped to be the spark that started a race war. Charleston rejected that.

The shooter and people like him dream of a society where people of one ethnicity are better people and people of another ethnicity are less than people simply because of their ethnicity. South Carolina no longer dreams of that society though clearly some of its citizens still do. In the pictures displayed of the coward, three flags appeared: the flag of Apartheid South Africa, the flag of white-rule Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, and the flag of the Confederate States of America.

You can stop reading me or unfollow me or whatever, but as a citizen of South Carolina, I think its time we take down the Confederate Flag from the Statehouse. I'm a 4th generation citizen of Charleston. I had ancestors that fought and died both for and against that flag. Some 160 odd years later, I'd wager that if you spent enough time on, you'd find ancestors on both sides of the conflict as well.

This week has made me realize that it doesn't matter what it was or what it stood for. Whatever it may have been, the Confedeate flag has become a banner for the world people like this criminal want to live in. Taking down the flag from the Statehouse will help communicate to those very citizens that South Carolina wants no part of that world.

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