Racism is a thing of the past. Let me explain. I don’t mean that we don’t have racism in America, what I’m saying is it belongs in the days of black and white television. It doesn’t fit in a black and white twenty first century society.
I had something happen to me about a year ago that profoundly moved me. We have a supermarket here in Killeen, HEB, that rivals Walmart. In fact, it’s better than Walmart in many ways. I go there practically every day. Well, on one particular trip I was walking across the parking lot and three black teens approached me from behind. Two of them took hold of my arms while the third rushed into the store, coming out with a motorized cart. I have a limp.
What I thought was an attack turned out to be an assist for a disabled older man. Once inside, I was looking for dog food for my dog. The small package was on the top shelf, and as I began to get out of the cart a young, pretty black girl got in front of me, retrieved the package, and put it into my basket. I thanked her and went to the meat section.
Chicken quarters were on sale, and I was about to put some in my basket when another young black girl stopped me. She asked me to follow her, and took me to the regular chicken display. She explained that the price here was lower than the so-called “sale” price that was set up to sell off older chicken.
At that point I told her about the two other incidents. She smiled and told me that there was a group of young black kids at their school who regularly help elderly white people whenever they can. She said that young men walking up behind you in a crowded parking lot in broad daylight should not be a cause for alarm, and their good deeds were an effort to disspell this mindset, which, in itself was racism. She was right.
The city where I live is very cosmopolitan. With Fort Hood, and the jobs that it generates, native Texans are in the minority. People here get along. Oh, we have drugs, and street gangs, but the police here are NOT out of control. In at least two encounters with them I have taken my gun, and placed it on a table or hood of a car, and the cops didn’t even flinch. In fact one asked how much one gun cost me, and did I think there were any more.
Courtesy, polite conversation, and respect are the order of the day. Since most residents are Army, or a dependent of the Army the education level is high, not to mention the travel experience that broadens horizons. Neighbors are all colors. Killeen shows that when people HAVE to get along they WILL get along.
We have one Mosque, a Catholic Church, and a slew of Baptist Churches that regularly get together for civic causes, or fairs. Nobody is shooting up any places of worship in Killeen, Texas. Killeenites have “been there, done that.” We lived through Luby’s and the Fort Hood massacre. But, those events did not divide us. They made us closer.
The last ten days have been a trial for America. As the people of the nation reel from mass shootings, and bomb scares, the people of Killeen know what hate speech does, and where it goes. And it’s all racism! When you hate on any group it becomes a race style attack. The American Congress has become hate filled. No longer working together to build America up, they’d sit across the isle from each other and proudly proclaim, that they will NEVER cooperate with the other party, going back to their constituents bragging about the legislation they stalled simply because someone in the other party submitted it.
And they all do it. Maxine Waters spews hate speech in the street. President Trump shouts, “Throw the bum out” at a rally, and a grown man in San Antonio thinks that makes it perfectly fine to grab a MAGA cap off a kid’s head, and throw his Coke in his face. Another man mails bombs to people who don’t agree with “his” president, and yet another kills eleven people at a religious service because he imagines the Jews are committing genocide in America.
This kind of thinking belongs in 1950s Arkansas. We don’t need gun control as much as we need hare control. From the way I began this article you probably thought I was going to try to tell you Killeen was Shingra La. No! Killeen began as a small settlement on the prairie. John and Jane Riggs were killed and burned by Comanche Indians in 1858, and their tombstone still rests in the city cemetery on Rancier Avenue. The town became a rail head for cattle drives, and was named after a railroad employee. From there came practically everything you’d expect from a cow town. I worked for men in the 1970s who ran girly shows, and sold bootleg whiskey. There were shooting galleries in the alleys downtown and the pimps would routinely use their own guns rather than the .22 rifles provided. Then came the two active shootings.
In all of this Killeen learned. We know where hate speech will end up. We’ve seen racism. We’ve counted the bodies. Our message to America is stop hating on each other. Campaign for your candidate, and if you win, congratulations. If you lose, better luck next time, because in the end it makes no difference at all. Next week I’ll just be going back to HEB and the election won’t affect the price of chicken one bit!
The Butcher Shop