In the movie "Casablanca," Capt. Louis Renault famously said, "I'm shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!"
Last week, Republican politicians were not even willing to admit that there is racism going on in this country, even after a young man killed nine African Americans in cold blood, saying, "I have to do it. You rape our women and you're taking over our country." It was also reported that he had told his roommate he wanted to start a race war.
Although Republicans, across the board, expressed shock and compassion for the victims, very few were willing to relate these murders to racism. Jeb Bush said, "I don't know what was on the mind or the heart of the man who committed these atrocious crimes." South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley said, "We do know that we'll never understand what motivates anyone to enter one of our places of worship and take the life of another."
Even though it has now come out that the shooter, Dylann Roof, posted his Manifesto on the Internet, filled with the racial rants typical of white supremacists, conservative analysts are even floating the theory that Roof was targeting Christians rather than African Americans.
As has been typical of Republican politicians in previous mass shootings, they are refusing to address the real issues of this tragedy. While it is certainly proper to show compassion for the victims, they must not be allowed to hide behind such statements as, "Let's not politicize what has happened here."
If not now, then when is it time to take concrete steps in solving the problems of racism and the over-proliferation of guns in America?
Fortunately, in the last few days, we have seen indications that this tragedy may become a turning point for racism in America.