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“Just the good ol’ boys. Never meanin’ no harm.

Beats all you ever saw, been in trouble with the Law,

Since the day they were born.”

—The theme from “The Dukes of Hazzard”, by Waylon Jennings.

As I sit here looking at my notes for the column I wish to scribe, there is too much to weave into a single thesis. That means this column will be one of my “random thoughts” submissions. However, the thoughts are not random—they connect. They are, dare I say, a loose confederacy of cognatic musings.

— Bluntly, since I was a teenager I have thought the South’s enchantment with the Confederate flag was rooted in racism. Holding on to an idea long since dead was nothing more than the manifestation of bitter disappointment spawned from an immoral culture.

The Civil War was about slavery. It does not matter that a large majority of the soldiers who wore gray did not own slaves–that is what they fought to protect. The South lost the war. That should have been the end of it.

Yet, somehow, the Confederate flag has survived.

In the aftermath of the tragic shooting in Charleston, South Carolina last week, this subject has, peculiarly, resurfaced. Because the deranged madman who committed this atrocity was a devout racist who embraced the Confederate flag, political pressure is mounting to have the flag removed from the grounds of South Carolina’s state capital.

Great! A flag that represented treasonists who made war to protect the rights of slaveholders should not be endorsed by any state government. Unfortunately, that may not be the problem.

Too many people look for symbolic victories as a means to impose their will on others. And most who now vilify the Confederate flag are only doing so as a means to assuage the outraged masses.

Get rid of that terrible flag; but do not act like doing so now somehow is a triumph in any capacity. It is, at best, a diversion.

— In our age of instant commentary and politicization of tragedies, Dylann Storm Roof should be a slam dunk: Southern kid with a bad hair cut who came from an impoverished background shoots up a black church.

Cue the sociologists and academics to tell us how this is an example of AmeriKKKan culture.

And the Twitter feed regarding the shooting was not a conversation, but a monologue. Tragedies allow users of social media and social networking the platform to espouse why their political ideologies are right and those that do not think like them are, yes, #worsethanhitler.

Yet, some interesting facts are lost in this story. Roof came from a broken home where the father purportedly beat on the mother. Roof had many black friends and lived most of his life around minorities in his lower middle-class neighborhood. He had told friends of plans to commit a mass shooting at a high school or college—early evidence suggests the church he eventually chose for his homicidal rage was more readily available because of a lack of security. And a reading of the manifesto Roof left behind implies that while he was definitely a racist in his thoughts, he took upon himself a responsibility to “fix’ the world through his sociopathic actions. In other words, he thought this was a duty, a common belief amongst all deranged people.

Roof was a poor student from a impecunious family who lived his life in an economically and socially deprived culture. So, if we are going to suggest that his actions were motivated by being a white kid from the South, or from honoring the Confederate flag, then we must also consider the tangible biographical footnotes that compel me to believe anyone from such a hopeless life can commit a terrible act like this shooting—regardless of skin color.

And if that is the case, why does it not happen with much more regularity?

Here is a thought: this whackadoo was responsible for his actions. There are many like him, but he and he alone decided to pick up a gun, walk into a church and shoot people who were innocent in every way you can define that word.

Academics, sociologists and television news commentators would not have much to talk about if they agreed with that premise, would they?

— Two years ago, I wrote a column about the stupidity of giving babies bizarre names with intentionally difficult spellings. You know, like Hayli, or Jaxon, or Brixtyn…or Dylann.

When the idiot parents of Dylann Storm Roof named their child, did they envision him splitting the atom at Harvard? Or winning the Nobel Peace Prize? Did they think that 50 years into the future their son would be standing on the steps of the U.S. Capitol reciting the words, “I, Dylann Storm Roof do solemnly swear…”

(Side note: As I type this column, the name Dylann has a red squiggly line under it on my page—that is because spellcheck thinks Dylann with 2 N’s is not right.)

We will never know if this kid would have still committed his evil act had his name been Bill or George. All we know is that his parents destined him to a life of constantly spelling his name to strangers as a way to delude themselves that their son would be unique. And the uniqueness so many parents seek for their children by giving them ridiculous names is a futile act if you do not raise your kids with humanity and kindness. It would have been better if his name was Tom Roof and he was taught by his parents to go to church to pray, not prey.

— Finally, what are we to do about “The Dukes of Hazzard”? Do you remember that absurd television show from the early 80’s about two cousins in rural Georgia who somehow got into trouble every week whilst driving around in a Dodge Charger that they named the General Lee that had a Confederate flag adorned on its (Dylann Storm) rooftop?

Well, since many retailers have capitulated to demands that they stop selling any merchandise emblazoned with that flag, the General Lee is no longer to be available in stores with the Confederate flag pasted on its garish orange exterior.

Will it stop there? Should we not ban all reruns of the television show from being broadcast? Doesn’t the U.S Constitution prevent any American from suffering through “triggers” that insult their sensibilities?

That show, with its inane plots, atrocious acting and awkward stereotypes is an insult to the senses based solely on its lack of artistic quality. But if we are going to have knee-jerk, revisionist reactions to anything that offends an emotional mob, why not ban “Dukes”?

This is a logical argument to many—and that scares my First Amendment loving soul.

By Staff