Who was your first best friend? When you were just starting school who was it that you went to school every day for? For me, it was my friend Shantel. I hope she doesn’t mind me sharing her name, but it’s necessary, because my friendship with her, my very first friend, solidified how I view people of other races. Shantel is black. I am white. It didn’t matter when we were four, and it doesn’t matter now nineteen years later. I’m from a rural town in South Carolina. Your first thought is probably going to be that everyone there is racist. I’m sure some people are. I’ve witnessed it. What makes my town different than a lot of rural places in the south is that for the most part I think our community works well with each other, no matter the race. I have grown up with parents who luckily never kept me from getting to know people who were different than me. I’m lucky. But unfortunately, there are a lot of people who are not as lucky. I don’t want to write about this guy, because if I do he gets exactly what he set out for. I will write about why he did it though. He is a racist. There’s no nice way to say it; it can’t be sugar-coated. The man is now and will forever be known as a racist. Stop trying to say it was motivated by anything else, because to do so is an insult to the people he shot in cold blood. A State Senator died. I don’t know why this animal targeted this particular church. Maybe it was because of the history of the church, but I think there’s a strong possibility that the State Senator being the preacher may have had more to do with it. People are quick to say bad things about politicians, but fail to mention the reason many of them go into politics. Senator Pinckney went into public service to help his community. He wanted to make a difference in the lives of the people of this state. He still can, and he will. It doesn’t matter that he was a Democrat and I’m a Republican. When it comes to matters of race and what is right and wrong, being a Republican or a Democrat is not something that should even have to be discussed. Race should not be a part of politics. Race is a moral issue, not a political issue. Please stop making it one. There are black Republicans and white Democrats. It completely baffles me how some people can quote the Bible and then turn around and say something hateful about someone because of their race. How dare you? God made that person too. It’s a simple concept. Just as He loved you before you were created, He loved people of other races too when they were created. I hate the mainstream media. For the most part, they do nothing but stir the pot. That goes for everyone on Facebook that shares articles from right-wing and left-wing “news” outlets. Do you not realize that anyone can type on a computer? Yes, I realize I’m including myself in this. When you open up a news article and it says something like, “PRESIDENT OBAMA DID THIS AND YOU WON’T BELIEVE WHY” or “REPUBLICANS HATE EVERYONE, HERE’S THE PROOF YOU NEED” there’s a really good chance that the article you are about to pull up and read is garbage. Repeat after me: “I will no longer share articles from news sources with the name conservative or liberal in the web address.” I also have a huge problem with people who cherry pick at the Constitution. Do not call yourself a Constitutionalist and then ignore the part about separation of Church and state. I am a Christian. In no way will I ever try to hide that. This country was founded by people who left Europe to practice their religious beliefs freely. They wanted that for anyone who lived in this country. That doesn’t mean only Christians can practice their religion here. Of course I pray and wish that everyone will know the Jesus I know and love, but I accept that there are people in this world who have different beliefs and religions. It’s imperative that we as a society do not punish them for it. It’s so frustrating that someone who believes in the 2nd Amendment to its fullest extent, would not also believe in the separation of Church and state. Just like you can’t cherry pick what parts of the Bible you want to believe in, you can’t cherry pick the Constitution. I love Jesus. I shoot guns. I love people of races other than my own. I get to do that because I live in a country whose Founding Fathers had the foresight to protect our rights through a living, breathing document. I have no answers. I don’t know how to fix the racial divides in this country, other than to tell you that I will not stand by and let my future children be racist. I will teach them that they are no better than anyone else because of their color. They will not hear a bad word uttered in my house about an African American, Hispanic, Asian, or any other race. Racism is not genetic; it’s a product of the environment someone is raised in. Stop raising your children this way please. I’m begging you to bring love into your house and let the hate leave it. What are you gaining from teaching your child to be disrespectful? Kids have the purest hearts of anyone on this Earth. Don’t take away their innocence by teaching them to judge and hate. This animal that did this was taught that he was better because of his skin color. I don’t know who taught him, but someone did; that is something I am certain of. He was taught to hate, and it came to fruition two days ago. I’m thankful for the love I have been shown throughout my life from people of every race. I will spend my life trying to show that.