We at Ring of Fire are not sorry to see the Confederate battle flag and other CSA memorabilia disappearing from Southern state houses and even retail stores. We do have to wonder about the timing, however.

State legislators across the former Confederacy have suddenly been calling for the removal of the old Confederate battle flag from official buildings. This movement did not start after the tragic shootings in Charleston last week, however. It started when people started wondering why the shooter was able to obtain a weapon so easily. This “Come to Jesus Moment” just happened to coincide with new discussions about Gun Control.

And now, everyone’s favorite Senate Majority Leader, good ol’ boy Mitch McConnell, wants to take it further. He’s been calling for the removal of a statute in his home state. The graven image depicts one of Kentucky’s most famous sons, Jefferson Davis. For those who don’t remember their history, Jefferson Davis was the President of the Confederate States of America during our bloodiest and most tragic conflict. After the CSA’s defeat, Davis attempted to avoid capture by dressing in women’s clothes and fleeing in the dead of night. Now, McConnell is calling upon the Kentucky legislature to have his statue removed from the rotunda of the state capitol building in Lexington, where it has stood for eighty years.

Last year, ol’ Mitch was facing a tough re-election from one of his own party. His challenger was Matt Bevin, a Louisville businessman who would like to see the entire U.S. turn into an armed camp. In response, McConnell appeared at a convention of the National Rifle Association in Indianapolis and announced that if re-elected, he would work tirelessly to expand gun ownership rights. Furthermore, he would push legislation giving even more privacy protections to gun owners.

McConnell is now paying up on his debt to the NRA. He is going to make sure that everyone focuses on Flags and Statues, and not Guns!  If he can distract us all from the real issue of gun control while making himself look good to us who were shocked and horrified by the needless slaughter of nine African-Americans, so much the better – right?

Sorry, Mitch…we ain’t buyin’ it.

K.J. McElrath is a former history and social studies teacher who has long maintained a keen interest in legal and social issues. In addition to writing for The Ring of Fire, he is the author of two published novels: Tamanous Cooley, a darkly comic environmental twist on Dante's Inferno, and The Missionary's Wife, a story of the conflict between human nature and fundamentalist religious dogma. When not engaged in journalistic or literary pursuits, K.J. works as an entertainer and film composer.