Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton challenged the nation Thursday to take new actions to curb gun violence in her first reactions to the shooting inside a historically black Charleston, S.C., church that left nine dead.

“How many people do we need to see cut down before we act?” she asked, during a summit of elected and appointed Latino politicians meeting in Las Vegas…

“Cut down at prayer. Murdered in a house of God. It just broke my heart. That of course is the last place we should violence. But we shouldn’t see it anywhere,” Clinton said. “In the days ahead, we will again ask what led to this terrible tragedy and where we as a nation need to go. In order to make sense of it, we have to be honest. We have to face hard truths about race, violence, guns and division.”

“Any death of this sort is a tragedy. Any shooting involving multiple victims is a tragedy,” said Obama, as Vice President Joe Biden stood alongside him. “There is something particularly heartbreaking about death happening in a place in which we seek solace and we seek peace.”…

“We do know that once again, innocent people were killed in part because someone who wanted to inflict harm had no trouble getting their hands on a gun,” Obama said at the White House. “At some point, we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this kind of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries. It doesn’t happen in other places with this kind of frequency. It is in our power to do something about it.”

Obama also said he’s had to “make statements like this too many times,” a reference to some of the rampages that have occurred during his presidency.

Against the backdrop of rising worries about violent Muslim extremism in the United States, many see hypocrisy in the way that both the attack and the suspected attacker have been described.

While assaults like the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013 and the attempted shooting attack on an anti-Islam art exhibit in Garland, Tex., last month have been described as terrorism carried out by Islamic extremists, critics say that assaults against African-Americans and Muslim Americans are never called terrorism.

They also argue assailants who are white are far less likely to be described by law enforcement authorities as terrorists…

“If the same violence is committed by a white supremacist or apartheid sympathizer and is not a Muslim, we start to look for excuses — he might be insane, maybe he was pushed too hard,” Mr. Awad said. “But the act fits perfectly the definition of terrorism.”

The headline on the breaking news report about the Charleston shooting was an additional example of how the White Racial Frame dominates news coverage. MSNBC’s screen read “Police searching for 21-year-old suspect.” He was not described as “white”: the American news media is much more likely to racially mark black and brown suspects in crimes, and to include their racial description (or religious/ethnic as in the ubiquitous ”Arab” or “Muslim” “terrorist.”…

Once and again, white privilege is the power to be the ultimate individual where one’s actions and behavior rarely if ever reflects on the collective character of white people en masse. By comparison, Black and brown Americans, Muslims, Arabs and the Other more generally are routinely subjected to group punishment and demonization.

White Americans will not have to look in the mirror and ask, “what does it feel like to be a problem.” In the aftermath of recurring mass shooting events, and right-wing domestic terrorism, it is essential that they start to practice such acts of introspection in the interest of the Common Good.

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul told a crowd of social conservatives that a “sickness” in the country was responsible for the mass shootings in South Carolina, adding that the problem “isn’t going to be fixed by your government.”

“What kind of person goes into church and shoots nine people?” Paul  lamented. “There’s a sickness in our country. There’s something terribly wrong. But it isn’t going to be fixed by your government. It’s people straying away, it’s people not understanding where salvation comes from. I think if we understand that, we’ll have better expectations of what to expect from government.”

“Can government save you?” Paul said, as President Barack Obama, speaking to reporters at the White House, was calling for stricter gun control. “Can government be the be-all end-all? The reason I ask is that I meet with pastors, and they’re looking at government for the answers. I look back at them and I say, ‘I’m looking at you for help.'”

It takes only a rudimentary search to find out that mentally unstable killers can be found anywhere. In February of this year, nine people were killed in Czech Republic spree killing. In Erfurt, Germany, a couple of years ago, an expelled student murdered 13 teachers, 2 students and a policeman. That same year, in the Serbian village of Velika Ivanča, a gunman shot and killed 14 people—many of them his own relatives— and a Russia gunman opened fire with a semi-automatic rifle killing six people. A couple of years before that, in England, a lone gunman killed 12 people and injured 11.

Advanced countries or developing ones, it’s the same thing. In 2013 a mentally unstable man in Rio de Janeiro killed 12 children and seriously wounded another 12.  And you might remember that China had an outbreak of mass stabbings, hammer and cleaver attacks not long ago. You don’t need guns to kill people. One man stabbed 22 children by himself.  Two attackers killed 29 people and injured 143 at Chinese railway station last year.

It should be noted that not that long ago advanced nations in Europe were busy throwing people into ovens or starving millions on purpose. The idea that violence is uniquely American is best left to fringe leftists on college campuses.

In fact, South Carolina has some of the strictest gun control laws in the Southeastern U.S. Open carry, for example, is banned outright. South Carolina is one of only five states in the entire country that bans the open carry of legally owned firearms. The only other states that currently ban open carry outright are California, Illinois, New York, and Florida.

In order to legally carry any weapon in South Carolina, you are required by law to obtain a concealed carry permit.

And what are individuals required to undergo in order to obtain that permit that allows them to legally carry a weapon? State law requires all concealed carry permit applicants to undergo a criminal background check. They must submit two sets of fingerprints to state law enforcement agencies. After taking a state-approved course on gun laws and safe gun usage, applicants must then pass both a written and live fire test…

South Carolina’s gun law regime sounds remarkably similar to the agenda gun controllers have been demanding for years.

The heinousness of a person who can sit for an hour studying the Bible and then open fire is unfathomable. Even more depressing, if that’s possible, is my suspicion – and I truly hope I’m wrong – that this event will play a role in the 2016 presidential campaign.

Democrats have often used attacks on African Americans not just as opportunities to express their horror at racism or violence, but also to imply that Republicans secretly approve of racism. Al Gore did this in 2000…

Hillary Clinton has already dealt this card with her announcement speech urging that Republicans are trying to prevent African Americans from voting. I very much fear that in short order, last night’s horrible massacre in Charleston will be deployed for the lowest kind of divisive politics.

In my lifetime I have seen such great progress. Though racial based hate is still very much alive as last night so violently reminded us.

But I worry about a new hate that is growing in our great nation. I fear our intolerance of one another is the new battle ground of evil. Today many feel it is ok to hate someone who thinks differently than you do.

The left hates the right. The right hates the left. This attitude is poison. Poison that will sicken all of us.

South Carolina is one of five states that does not have a hate crimes law. South Carolina is the only state that I am aware of that still flies a confederate flag in front of the statehouse dome. South Carolina represents and is emblematic of the problem, which is, words can come from these networks that broadcast what they call news, but it’s not. It’s really hate speed and coded language and leads people to believe they can walk into a church, because it’s no longer a house of God, but a killing ground. It’s a place they can feel free to desecrate and leave blood everywhere, and that’s what this young man did. He did so on some ill-gotten belief, on a wrong belief that it’s okay to do that. He hears that, because he watches the news and things like Fox News, where they talk about things that they call news, but they’re really not. They use that coded language, they use hate speech, they talk about the president as if he’s not the president. They talk about churchgoers as if they are really not churchgoers. And that’s what this young man acted on. That’s why he could walk into a church and treat people like animals when they are really human beings.