Skin Matters Not When We’re All Made of Stars

Sometimes I am absolutely tickled pink at the beautiful place that we are as a nation. We have a sense of tolerance and acceptance for people who are different than us… that is, until someone comes along and ruins the ride by doing something stupid like a hate crime.

July 25 2015 was a colorful time for Georgia. An organization known as Respect the Flag (whose mission is to go about showing the confederate flag in the same respect they would show our very own country’s colors) had led a convoy of trucks all flying the confederate flag and many wielding weapons. This was mere weeks after the Charleston (South Carolina) Church Massacre. This group had done a variety of things including sticking the confederate flag outside of the Ebenezer Baptist Church, which has a predominantly black congregation.

Some of the people involved in this convoy had also driven through where a young African American child was having his birthday party. Jose Torres was with them. He had a shotgun at the time and had called out to some of the African Americans at the party saying that he would kill each and every one of them. Some of the people he was with followed it up with how they will also go after their kids!

Torres and his woman who was with him at the time, Kayla Norton have both been convicted and declared guilty of making terroristic threats and of violating Georgia’s street gang law; Torres was also found guilty of aggravated assault. They have both received hefty sentences for these things. Torres was sentenced to 20 years in prison with 13 to serve. Norton received 15 years with six to serve. The remainder of their time will be served in probation.

In what we could see from the trial in a video, emotions were flying high in the courtroom. Both sides were in tears and within the courtroom we can really see the essence of humanity. Torres and Norton are crying throughout their entire sentencing. One thinks, are they really sorry for their actions or are they only sorry that they were being sentenced?

The mother of one of the children victimized, Hyesha Bryant was at the hearing as well and she told them how she does not hold any bad feelings toward them and she in fact forgave them freely for their trespass against her and the people with her. When they say make America great again, what they should mean is to follow the beautiful example set forth by Bryant. She freely forgave, even though she didn’t have to, out of the goodness of her Christian heart.

Now, I take issue with a lot of this. First and foremost I am appalled that Respect the Flag exists for the confederate flag. I am going to get a little preachy here, so just bear with me or just stop reading, your choice. In my opinion, one of the most hateful symbols that still dwells within our nations walls is the confederate flag. During the civil war, what did the confederates want? They wanted to continue the oppression and slavery of our black brethren and sisters! In my eyes if someone flies the confederate flag, the message they are showing is “Let’s go back to when ALL of our nation’s success depended on the broken and bloody corpses of our dead and dying slaves.”


courtesy of wikipedia

I’m a believer in free speech, but that is despicable and these people should be ashamed of themselves. I pray to God that I will never have to be in a position where I would need to decide on the fate of people like that.

If you burn the American flag, I will respect your freedom, but I won’t respect you. If you burn the confederate flag, however, I will shake your hand and buy you a drink. People just need to understand that America is better than this. We are a melting pot nation. We have people of all creeds, nationalities, and mindsets. We don’t need to respect everything they hold dear, but if we are human, it is a requirement to respect them for being made of the same stardust that we are.

-Loren Riddle

WR 122-18

featured image courtesy of youtube


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