It makes sense that rhetoric would be white hot right about now, given that in the not-too-distant past, a young white man named Dylann Roof allegedly went into a Charleston church and executed 9 black people for the sin of being black; the final funeral was just last week.
That doesn’t mean we should allow ourselves to get carried away by it.
There have been headlines since the Charleston shooting about a string of fires at black churches. According to what we now know, they do not seem to be related or motivated by racial hatred.
Over the weekend, I was getting questions from readers about an alleged “massacre” in Myrtle Beach. A group of white supremacists had allegedly killed two black teenagers with bats during the Fourth of July weekend. That did not happen.
Never miss a local story.
Let’s not allow ourselves to get carried away during a time like this. Because of the Charleston shooting and Confederate flag debate and headlines about church burnings - all on the heels of a nationwide discussion about the abuse of police power and a couple of riots among dozens of protests - it is exceedingly easy to get sucked into hoaxes and other false stories.
Don’t fall for it. There is a good bit of change happening seemingly all at once, which can upset anyone’s sense of reality, no matter if you believe that change is good or a sign of the End of Days. That makes us all more vulnerable to subterfuge.
That’s why we need to be more careful than ever when consuming information, especially when it seems to be too good - or bad - to be true.
Despite the seeming upheaval at the moment, the unemployment rate is at a 7-year-low, the abortion and teen pregnancy rates are at all-time lows, the national deficit has been cut by two thirds since 2009, the divorce rate is falling, the crime rate has been dropping for two decades, the uninsured rate is at the lowest level on record, and even gas prices are at one of its lowest levels during the summer in several years, among many other things. And though there remain problems and challenges, including a too-high gun violence rate and too many instances of deadly clashes between police and young black men, most interaction between those two groups are cordial, not confrontational.
In other words, don’t fall for the hype. We’re fine. This country is as outstanding - and imperfect - as it has ever been. That’s all.