If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

September Interviews

9/2 Dianne Freeman, A Lady's Guide to Mischief and Murder

9/9 Ellen Byron, Murder in the Bayou Boneyard

9/16 Marilyn Levinson, writing as Allison Brook, Checked Out for Murder

9/23 Rhys Bowen, The Last Mrs. Summers

9/30 Sherry Harris, From Beer To Eternity

September Guest Bloggers

9/19 Judy Alter

WWK Weekend Bloggers

9/5 V. M. Burns

9/12 Jennifer J. Chow

9/26 Kait Carson


For The Love Of Lobster Tales by Shari Randall is now available to download free for a limited time. Go to Black Cat Mysteries at: https://bcmystery.com/ to get your free copy! Thanks for the freebie, Shari.

Keenan Powell recently signed with agent Amy Collins of Talcott Notch. Congratulations, Keenan!

KM Rockwood's "Secrets To The Grave" will appear in the new SinC Chesapeake Chapter's new anthology Invitation To Murder, which will be released by Wildside Press on 10/6.

Congratulations to our two Silver Falchion Finalists Connie Berry and Debra Goldstein!

Paula Gail Benson's "Cosway's Confidence" placed second and Debra Goldstein's "Wabbit's Carat" received Honorable Mention in the Bethlehem Writers Roundtable 2020 short story contest. Congratulations, Paula and Debra!

Susan Van Kirk's Three May Keep A Secret has been republished by Harlequinn's Worldwide Mystery. The WWK interview about the book can be accessed here. We're so glad another publisher picked up this series.

KM Rockwood's "Burning Desire," and Paula Gail Benson's "Living One's Own Truth," have been published in the anthology Heartbreaks & Half-truths. Congratulations to all of the WWK writers.

Please join Margaret S. Hamilton's Kings River Life podcast of her short story "Busted at the Book Sale" here. Congratulations, Margaret!


Saturday, June 27, 2015

Any Man by Kait Carson

“Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.” ― John DonneMeditation XVII 
My heart is breaking as I write this. My thoughts are with the nine dead in Charleston and their families. The crime committed against them is the epitome of senseless killing. From what I have read, the alleged perpetrator admitted to having second thoughts. Why? Because everyone was so nice. Nine people had their lives cut short because of racism? Nine men and women who, by all accounts, welcomed their killer, and some of whom come from families that forgive the killer. Breathtaking.

Because this heinous act took place in a church setting, it is impossible not to draw the obvious comparison. Christ and Judas. But the betrayal of Christ was understandable in modern terms. It was a cash transaction. Done for thirty pieces of silver. Greed, one of the seven deadly sins, brought to life by the story. What was the payoff in Charleston? By comparison, it was the mad act of a madman, or should that be mad man. There was no passion involved, no temporary fight or flight response that exploded in anger, no self-defense. This appears to be a hunt. A man who set out, like any hunter, to the exact place he knew his prey would be. A man who set out to kill the tamest prey he could find.

Stories are appearing on the Internet that point to a possible racist manifesto on a website allegedly owned by the perpetrator. The website supposedly has a file of photos of the perpetrator burning an American flag, holding a confederate flag and claiming that he is essentially the last true American around. If this is true, the young man’s education failed him miserably. America is all about the constitution. The constitution is all about equality, although sometimes it did take a bit of persuading. There are also stories that he was using a controlled substance that causes violent outbursts. In fact, he had a felony arrest pending for possession of Suboxone. And a felony arrest should have precluded him from buying a gun. So where did he get his weapon? Well again, based on stories in the press, his father gave it to him. Alternatively, he bought it before his arrest for drug charges, or after it and passed the background check.

Much more information and speculation will be appearing in the days to come. Including, I am sure, gun control issues. Would gun control have saved those nine lives? Doubtful. No matter how he acquired the handgun, it became illegal the moment he determined to use it against innocent people. A 2010 Gallup Poll estimates that 39% of all US households own guns. The NRA claims the figure is closer to 50%. Yet in 2011 the U.S. Justice Department published data that shows that firearms were involved in 8% of the violent crimes committed. While it goes without saying that if you are a victim of gun violence the statistic is 100%, the fact remains that gun violence accounts for a small percentage of violent crimes.

Soon, the story will be about the issues, and the dead will become incidental in the press. To allow that to happen would be a larger crime. We must not forget the faces of those nine men and women. We must not lose sight of the fact that those deaths have diminished all of us, and each of us died a little bit on that awful day in Charleston.


Jim Jackson said...

We live in a culture of violence. We are one of only a few countries that condone murder by government (the death penalty). While firearms may be involved in only 8% of violent crimes in the U.S., our rate of death by firearm (ignoring suicide) is 3.55/100,000 population. Our neighbor to the north, Canada, has a rate of 0.51/100,000. Japan’s rate is 0.0/100,000. Availability of guns designed not for hunting, but killing humans makes a difference.

We can and should deplore these nine deaths. But they are nine of roughly 11,000 non-suicide gun deaths in the U.S. each year. That is thirty a day. Do the other twenty-one people matter less than these nine if we never know their names because they died one or two at a time? Do they matter less to their loved ones?

I agree we should remember these deaths because the evidence is clear that racism is still tolerated, indeed, fomented by some in the U.S. While the constitution gives them the right to their free speech, we would do well to shine a bright light on their speech, so they cannot hide behind white sheets as they did in days I remember from my youth.

During this week the bright light has shone upon state-sponsored promotion of the Confederate battle flag (which was never the national flag of the confederacy). As a result of that light, politicians can no longer hide behind words such as "it just reflects our history" or "it would be too divisive now to address the issue," with the result that politicians have finally been moved to officially remove the symbol.

We must be intolerant of intolerance.

~ Jim

Warren Bull said...

The day after the killings when the suspect was in court families of the slain were allowed to address him. Each person spoke about the personal loss. Then all of them told the suspect they forgave him. They all said God forgave him and they prayed for the alleged killer. Amazing.

Kait said...

Well said, Jim. We must be intolerant of intolerance. Of course each of the deaths of the men, women, and children who die from gun violence daily are important. As are the deaths of many others from violent crime. The discussion of those who died in Charleston is not intended to demean those other deaths, but the dimension of racism in the Charleston deaths changes the playing field.

While we are all involved in the discussions that this horrible event brings, we need to remember that nine very real people lost their lives. Don't let them get lost in the bigger issues.

Kait said...

Warren, watching the family members speak took my breath away.

KM Rockwood said...

I see this as yet another instance where our mental health "system" has failed us. Even when someone recognizes that an individual needs mental health care (I'm not sure if it was evident in this situation) our laws don't permit us to do anything until the mentally unstable person has acted, often with unfortunate consequences. Do we still see it as a civil rights issue, that a person is free to decline treatment if he/she doesn't want it, even if it puts others at risk? Privacy laws keep information about problematic individuals from the community at large, or even the officials who might be forewarned.

Our jails and prisons are full of mentally ill people. Mental illness has been criminalized, not treated.

I have never quite understood the current interpretation of the Second Amendment. Where is the "well regulated Militia" that is the basis for the right to bear arms? If gun owners were required to be part of a "well regulated Militia," I have a feeling that at least some of the problems we seen now would not exist. We haven't always interpreted that as a variation of "anybody can have any weapons they can get their hands on."

In United States v. Cruikshank (1876), the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that, "The right to bear arms is not granted by the Constitution; neither is it in any manner dependent upon that instrument for its existence"

Kait said...

Thoughtful comments, KM. There is no easy answer to the mental health problem, and there won't be if it's not destigmatised. A lot of people who need help (and like you, I don't know that was an issue in this case) will not seek it out because of the public, and sometimes personal, perception.

Gun control is a whole other issue. I am from a military and country family and have handled weapons almost my entire life. I am a firm believer in responsibility accompanying rights. Militias were made up of citizens. Citizens have the right to bear arms. I believe that every gun owner should be well trained in the use and consequences of weapon ownership. And I think that a demonstration of proficiency should be a requirement for purchase. Perhaps that is the part of the constitutional right we are neglecting. The well regulated part.

Gloria Alden said...

I, too, was touched by what happened in Charlotte. How much longer can these things happen before the gun control laws get stiffer. I thought it would happen after Sandy Hook, but it didn't. What Jim and KM wrote makes sense. I've long known that more people are killed by guns in this country than any other country in the world.I'm not against hunting, but I see no need to have the type of automatic assault guns that many gun owners have. Although, it wasn't an assault rifle used at the church last week, the shooter should not have had any kind of gun, although I'm not sure gun control laws would have kept him from having one. I heard this morning that the white supremacist groups are handing out flyers in plastic bags with candy in them. Never mind that they are poorly written and look tacky, they're sending a message that some will believe.

Kara Cerise said...

I read tributes to the nine people who were killed. They all led outstanding lives and did good things while they were on earth. I was also amazed by the loving and forgiving response from the families. My heart goes out to them and to the woman survivor who had to watch this horrific tragedy. I can't begin to imagine how she must feel.

Grace Topping said...

Kait - Thank you for such a touching article. You and John Donne are so right--this act diminishes us all.

Kait said...

Gloria, what happened is unspeakably tragic, but to my mind it goes so far beyond gun control. It speaks to a greater hatred in this country. It is the greater hatred that, in this instance, must be condemned and must be eradicated. A murderer will find a means to accomplish his or her goal. This killer used a hand gun. I am old enough to remember when churches were burned and fire accomplished the goal.

My grandmother had a saying, she said, "If you prick someone with a pin, they will bleed red." That was her way of explaining equality in a time when there was not only no racial equality, but entire ethnic groups were discriminated against. The message, everyone is equal. That is the lesson that needs to be learned here. Equality. We are all one people, we just have some cosmetic differences.

I agree that there is no need for an automatic assault weapon unless you are on a police force or in the military. And to be sure, I hold hunting licenses and have since I was nine, but I do not hunt, nor do I think hunting is justified unless the hunter needs the food. In my mother's family, food from the hunt was necessary for survival in upstate New York's harsh winters. All the children were taught to handle firearms and received hunting licenses as soon as they were age eligible because the family believed that was the way to teach a child respect for firearms. I'm not so sure they were wrong. None of us have ever pointed a weapon in anger.

My heart breaks for the Charleston families.

Kait said...

Oh Kara, I agree. The family's of those nine were stunning, awesome. There are no words that express my admiration of them. And the survivor. Oh my, I don't have words.

Kait said...

Thanks, Grace. I still cannot wrap my head around this incident and John Donne seemed to express my thoughts so well.