Category Archives: South Carolina

The Present and Future Horror of South Carolina

For me, the present horror of South Carolina is that we still live in a country where black people are slaughtered because of the color of their skin.

For me, the future horror of South Carolina is that the tools of hatred will only become more effective. Instead of a gun, a homicidal and racist 21-year-old may have access to a nuclear weapon, synthetic virus, or some other yet to be invented technology.

Imagine if Dylann Roof had the means to exterminate a nation.

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In some sense, we are in a race between the preventative tools of culture, medical science, and surveillance – and the massive damage that can be ushered in by advanced technology.

A more benevolent culture may reduce the presence of subcultures of hate. There is some evidence that the world is becoming more tolerant; a continuation of this trend would bode well for us all.

Better medical science may help us identify and cure (or isolate) those with a propensity for mass murder.

Better surveillance may help us track and suppress weapons of mass destruction, as well as those who use them.

The tensions here are clear: trust, love, liberty, and safety will be at odds with each other.

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There is a theory that a society’s values are ultimately shaped based on the predominant technologies of the era. In human history, we’ve had hunter gatherer values, farmer values, and industrial revolution values.

What scares me about the future is that our values may not adapt fast enough to ensure our survival in a new technological era.

What happened in South Carolina is a horrific reminder of what happens when a society’s values, science, and surveillance lose to a society’s darkness.

June 17th, 2015 was a dark day.

South Carolina

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The above picture is a screenshot taken from a video that is available at the New York Times website.

Watching the video is a horrifying experience. I cannot imagine what the Scott family goes through when they watch the video. He was someone’s son, father, friend. Imagine if the video was of someone you knew, you loved. What would it feel like?

Everyone deserves a fair trial, but it is hard to see how the officer’s actions were justified. No one’s life appeared to be in danger. And Mr. Scott was running away from the officer – the very person whose public duty it is to protect life, not end it.

This looks like murder.

Racial injustice is at the heart of education reform, but our schools should not be expected to reverse systemic racism in police forces across the country. This is not their burden; the task educators face is already immense enough.

Who will make police institutions more just? How will this occur?

I imagine millions of people are asking themselves these questions. And I imagine I’m not the only person who is unsure of what to do.

March in the streets? Yes, but how to translate this into change?

Body cameras? Yes, but there is a sadness in having technology, and not character, be the solution to racial injustice.

But perhaps it is the only way forward. For now.

I don’t really know.