I have lived on this Earth only 18 years. In those 18 years I have seen, watched on the news or heard about over 20 mass shootings in America. These are not shootings by foreign terrorists or threatening countries trying to rip us apart. These are shootings by ourselves.

I have also seen three terrorist attacks on the American people, and I cannot remember a time when we were not involved in “the war on terrorism.” Where is the war on what is happening in our own nation?

The thought of making this latest tragedy just another number makes me sick. To say that these things happen. To say that the killer (whom I will not even grace with a name) was crazy and there was nothing we could have done to stop it. What if we said that about a terrorist attack — that it was a crazy man who wanted to drive fear into our hearts, but we won’t let it because terrorist attacks happen?

I’m sick because this attack on the Mother Emanuel AME Church will be written off as just another crazy man soon. In three years it will be another “Oh, how tragic,” “That was awful,” “I can’t believe that happened.” But it did happen, and it happened over 20 times before in my life.

Shakespeare wrote, “The fault is not in our stars ... but in ourselves.”

We, not as a community in Charleston, not as a state but as a nation, united and strong, have to stop looking into the stars, blasphemously blaming fate, and claiming there is nothing that can be done about it. It is time to take responsibility as a nation to make a change. It is time to see that the fault is in ourselves.

Tommy Sanders

Darts Cove

Charleston