I've kind of given up on guns.

I've written so many times, in this column and elsewhere, about the absurdity of gun culture in the States.

So has everyone else.

I even counted up the number of massacre stories I've reported for ONE News in the three-and-a-half years I've lived in the states: 26 separate massacre stories. One every six weeks.

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Sandy Hook was the end, for me. When 20 5 and 6-year-old middle class kids were shot in the head by a loony with an assault rifle, I reckoned society must have reached a tipping point. It couldn't get worse than that.

I was wrong. Politicians on the left and right rejected any change. Back to the bang-bang status quo.

At least, though, the shooting at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston is affecting some positive change. Though efforts have dwindled to define Dylann Roof's slaughter as an act of terrorism, the move to ditch the Confederate flag is ripping along.

I've always been bewildered by the places the Confederate flag pops up.

On General Lee from The Dukes of Hazzard? Yup.

On belt buckles, jackets, at Nascar races and on half the number plates in the South? Yup. In recent history, versions of the Confederate flag have flown in at least five state capitals.

"It's our history!" bemoan the flag's proponents.

Indeed it is, and a shameful one at that.

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Anyone with even a basic understanding of the Civil War knows the Confederacy broke away in part because it wanted to continue slavery.

Cool, guys: such a rich and wonderful history.

And though people muddle around interpretation — the flag in its current popular form differs from the one used by Confederate soldiers — any reasonable person would find no satisfaction in a flag that offends so many people.

Slavery didn't divide our country.

But as we consider the future of our own banner, we can learn from the Confederate flag debate.

Placing any value on history is totally meaningless unless we're prepared to improve upon history, too.

Jack Tame is on Newstalk ZB Saturdays, 9am-midday.