Peter Moore is the Editor of Men’s Health Magazine, and the cohost of the Men’s Health Live podcast. He won a 2004 National Magazine Award for his article on heart disease, “A Tale of Three Hearts.” He’s also the co-author of books like “The Lean Belly Prescription” and “The 8-Hour Diet.”
When you wipe your ass with toilet paper, do you blame the paper for having feces all over it? Is the T.P. at fault for the defecation, or the stench in the bathroom that comes from it?
Answer key: No, no, and no.
You got 100%, I trust.
Now, let’s consider a close cousin to shitty toilet paper in a reeking bathroom: a Confederate Flag snappily waving atop the South Carolina State Capitol. Alternately: a Confederate Flag limply hanging from the hand of Dylann Roof, crouching in his hateful little shrine.
You’ve seen his pathetic selfie. He imagines himself to be a badass, and arranges the symbols of his madness like tokens of greatness. His gun dangles in place of the penis he only wishes he had.
He is so evidently lost in his feelings of shame and worthlessness that he grasps desperately at anything that might grant him potency.
The flag doesn’t do that. It’s toilet paper, right? It stinks only by association with assholes. That flag’s political supporters—who came to their senses only this week—should remember that.
But Roof’s dangling gun is another matter. A 45mm Glock is in fact, potent, lacking only the trigger finger of a delusional freak to bring it to roaring life and end innocent lives. It’s the weapon of choice for pathetic loser/loners to make their mark.
But here we are a week after the carnage in Charleston, and we’re debating whether a flag should fly here or there. What that flag is the symbol of. What its ugly history is.
It’s flag! Who gives a shit?
Instead, let’s talk about Dylann Roof, Seung-Hui Cho, Jared Lee Loughner, James Eagan Holmes, Adam Lanza, and Elliot Rodger, and the ease with which they arm themselves with lethal hellfire. Love the gun, love the guys who employ them.
Note how easy it is to write those hated names, but how tedious it would be to transcribe the 9 dead in Charleston, the 32 dead at Virginia Tech, the 6 dead in Tucson, the 12 in Aurora, the 26 in Newtown, the 14 in Isla Vista.
The perpetrators are famous, the victims anonymous. That is, except to their family members, who will suffer indefinitely.
That’s what stinks in this whole scenario. Not a Confederate flag. We can and should wipe our butts with that symbol. But we can’t wash our hands of bloody reality until we take the guns from the hands of future killers.
The 99 victims can’t demand it. But we can. Before one more victim victim plunges us into triple digits senseless death.