We already knew Wednesday night shortly after the killings at the historic African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church in Charleston, SC--the oldest AME church in the south--that the act was committed by a young white man against nine African Americans. Only someone who hadn't lived in this country for more than five minutes wouldn't have had it cross their mind that the attack was racially motivated. Later that same evening, it was already being labeled a "hate crime" by authorities. And yet, by the next morning, Fox & Friends was already pushing the idea that the crime was an attack on Christians and Christianity (and the solution was more guns in churches--but more about that later).
Still later that morning, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on "The View" said, "There are people out there looking for Christians to kill them." Another GOP presidential hopeful, Rick Santorum, jumped on the bandwagon, calling it part of a broader assault on "religious liberty" in America. And, Congressman Mark Sanford (R-SC) was all over the TV as slippery as a greased pig refusing to say the new R-word (racism)--alternately describing the attack as the Devil's work or trying to get out of explaining why the Confederate flag still flies in front of South Carolina state capitol.
Meanwhile, America had long heard the words uttered by shooting suspect Dylann Roof:
When a man pleaded with him to stop, the shooter replied, "You rape our women and you're taking over our country. And you have to go," she said.
A law enforcement official says witnesses told authorities the gunman stood up and said he was there "to shoot black people."
But it wasn't just politicians pushing this anything-but-race "alternative" theory of the crime. Comment after comment on articles and Facebook posts and other social media had average Joe's and Jane's--well, white ones anyway--earnestly insisting that the murders were due solely to mental illness, or attacks on religion, or incredibly whining "why was it being made about race" or "why am I being called a racist" when nobody had called them that in the first place.
The sheer will it must take to wonder "why this happened," or to subscribe alternate motives, or to gloss over the racial aspect of this when the POS who did it was absolutely clear why he murdered nine black people is astounding.
(The usually smart Amy Poehler's Smart Girls initially being pretty clueless which
Besides what he said himself, this is the same man who proudly displayed Rhodesia and apartheid-era South Africa flags on his jacket, a Confederate flag license plate on his car, whose friends admitted he was a racist, and whose racist views were apparently spilled all over his social media postings, and who drove hundreds of miles to go to an historic black church to murder black people.
It was also an act of terror. As Crooks & Liars pointed out, "The New York Times" tried to warn us just one day before this attack:
The main terrorist threat in the United States is not from violent Muslim extremists, but from right-wing extremists. Just ask the police.
An officer from a large metropolitan area said that “militias, neo-Nazis and sovereign citizens” are the biggest threat we face in regard to extremism. One officer explained that he ranked the right-wing threat higher because “it is an emerging threat that we don’t have as good of a grip on, even with our intelligence unit, as we do with the Al Shabab/Al Qaeda issue, which we have been dealing with for some time.” An officer on the West Coast explained that the “sovereign citizen” anti-government threat has “really taken off,” whereas terrorism by American Muslim is something “we just haven’t experienced yet.”And, while this was about race, the accessory to these murders--to this act of terrorism--was our twisted gun culture and our refusal to stand up to it. From President Obama's statement:
I've had to make statements like this too many times. Communities like this have had to endure tragedies like this too many times.
We don't have all the facts, but we do know that once again, innocent people were killed in part because someone who wanted to inflict harm had no trouble getting their hand on a gun.
Now is the time for mourning and for healing. But let's be clear. At some point, we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries. It doesn't happen in other places with this kind of frequency.And, from the "Washington Post":
Dylann Roof, the man accused of a shooting spree that left nine people dead at a historic black church in Charleston on Wednesday night, should not have been able to get a gun.
Federal law prohibits people with pending felony charges from obtaining firearms. In February, Roof was arrested and later charged with felony possession of Suboxone, a narcotic prescription drug. He was released, and the case is pending.
Because of his criminal record, Roof would not have been able to buy a gun from a store. Federally licensed gun dealers are required to run background checks on gun purchasers, and Roof’s pending charges should have turned up as a red flag.
But Roof didn’t need to go to a dealership. According to his uncle, Roof received a .45-caliber pistol from his father in April for his birthday, Reuters reports.And, lastly, this:
In case you can't tell, that sticker on the newspaper is an ad for a gun shop...