Our editorial last year as the Thanksgiving holiday was circled on the calendar was entitled “White Men with Guns,” referencing Kyle Rittenhouse, the well-armed vigilante and would-be soldier in Kenosha, Wisconsin and the McMichaels, father and son, in New Brunswick, Georgia then awaiting the life sentences they received for gunning down the unarmed Black jogger, Ahmaud Arbery.
It would be an understatement to say that white men still have guns, and we don’t need to look any farther than today’s headlines to see the absolute senseless carnage across the nation, and as the tragedy at the University of Virginia denotes, a lot of Black men got guns too.
And it was good to hear Mayor Adams address this issue, while placing some of the egregious attacks within a religious, way-of-life, and race context. One paragraph continues to resonate when he cited a few past incidents: “From the massacre of Black shoppers in Buffalo to the killings at an LGBTQ+ nightclub in Colorado Springs over the weekend, and we see…communities across the nation being targeted for their race, their beliefs, and their way of life.
“This hate cannot be allowed to take hold and build and gain further ground. America must defeat the rising threat of domestic terrorism. It is real. It is here. And we must have a formidable approach to it, and we must reject the hate and division that drives it.”
This thoughtful message was prompted by the recent uptick of anti-Semitism, and the mayor placed the current menace in a very long and historical context recounting how U.S. troops liberated the death camps at Auschwitz, thereby exposing the Holocaust. And while he didn’t mention it, many of those soldiers were African Americans.
The mayor was surrounded by his staff and several civic leaders and they embellished his comments, giving them additional gravitas as we now settle down with our families for a feast. And it should be a feast of reflections too, recalling those loved ones we won’t share another Thanksgiving with. Even so, we can feast on their memories and the extent to which they were in our lives, and many are so special that without them we wouldn’t be here.