Open Thread on the Charleston Church Shooting

Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church Founded 1816

Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church
Founded 1816

Posted by Elaine Magliaro

Over at Huffington Post, there is an article by Ed Mazza, Jade Walker & Kelly Chen titled Charleston Church Shooting: White Gunman Kills 9 At Historic Black Church. The article is being continually updated.

People have been leaving links to news reports written about this tale of American terrorism at some other FFS articles. I thought it would be a good idea to have an open thread on the subject so we could keep links to all the news reports at one post.

This entry was posted in Equal Rights, Racism, Religion, Society, United States and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

100 Responses to Open Thread on the Charleston Church Shooting

  1. blouise says:

    Good thinking. I’ll meander over to the thread and repost my two comments here.

  2. blouise says:

    To put it another way: males aged 15 to 30 make up 10 percent of the population, but commit 63 percent of the homicides in the United States.”

  3. Elaine M. says:

    Thanks, blouise!

  4. blouise says:

    “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,” Obama said. “It is in our power to do something about it. I say that recognizing the politics in this town foreclose a lot of those avenues right now. But it’d be wrong for us not to acknowledge it, and at some point, it’s going to important for the American to come to grips with it and for us to be able to shift how we think about the issue of gun violence collectively.” – President Obama

  5. “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”

    Actually, it does, just not as frequently and sometimes the methodology is different, but America by no means has the market cornered on rampage killers. Saying “it does not happen in other advanced countries” though is simply not true.

  6. Elaine M. says:

    Charleston Shooting: A Closer Look at Alleged Gunman Dylann Roof

    Dylann Roof, the alleged gunman authorities say is responsible for killing nine people in a predominantly black Charleston, South Carolina, church Wednesday night, had been “planning something like that for six months,” according to his roommate.

    Dalton Tyler, who said he has known Roof for seven months to one year, said he saw the white, 21-year-old suspect just last week.

    “He was big into segregation and other stuff,” Tyler said. “He said he wanted to start a civil war. He said he was going to do something like that and then kill himself.”

  7. Elaine M. says:

    The Confederate Flag Isn’t Budging From South Carolina’s Capitol — Because It’s Protected Under State Law

    The morning after nine people were shot to death Wednesday inside a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina, flowers were laid, black cloth was draped and flags at the state’s Capitol building were lowered to half-staff.

    Except one.

    The fact that the Confederate flag was waving high in the state capital of Columbia hours after suspected gunman Dylann Roof carried out what’s believed to be a racially motivated attack sparked outrage.

    “It’s up there,” Will Whitson, a Columbia-based state reporter for Raycom Media, told The Huffington Post Thursday afternoon. “One thing is, I don’t think the flag is on a pulley — so even if they wanted to put it at half-staff, they couldn’t. And to remove it from the grounds would require a legislative vote.”

  8. Elaine M. says:

    Charleston Newspaper Apologizes For Gun Ad On Paper With Shooting News

    Charleston’s Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper, The Post and Courier, apologized on Thursday for running an ad for a gun shop on some of its papers Thursday morning, along with a headline about the shooting at a church that left nine people dead.

    “The front-page sticky note that was attached to some home delivery newspapers on the same day as this tragedy is a deeply regrettable coincidence. We apologize to those who were offended,” the paper wrote on Facebook in response to a complaint.

  9. I. Annie says:

    Why that hateful flag still flies anywhere in this country is pretty shameful.

  10. Elaine M. says:

    Charleston church massacre: The violence white America must answer for
    Where are the white fathers? When will white leaders step up? Charleston reveals our racial double standard

    The historic African-American Emanuel AME Baptist Church was assaulted by at least one white gunman on Wednesday evening in Charleston, South Carolina. At least nine people have been confirmed dead.

    The story is still developing. At present, Charleston authorities are reporting that this mass shooting and likely right-wing domestic terrorist assault is a hate crime.

    While this horrific event is one more murderous and racist blow to the African-American community in Charleston–the killing of Walter Scott by a white thug cop being the most high-profile and recent offense–the reporting on the mass shooting at Emanuel Baptist is an additional affront via the White Racial Frame as practiced by the mainstream news media.

    As shown on MSNBC Wednesday night, a local Charleston reporter asked a group of African-American activists, community leaders what the black community could do to prevent events like the mass shooting at Emanuel Baptist. This bizarre moment continued with the reporter seemingly rejecting the obvious–that racism is an obvious element in the white-on-black murders committed at Emanuel Baptist–and doubling down by suggesting that the black community gives comfort to “snitches,” thus wondering if black folks will in fact turn in a white domestic terrorist who had killed at least nine people.

    The headline on the breaking news report about the Charleston shooting was an additional example of how the White Racial Frame dominates news coverage. MSNBC’s screen read “Police searching for 21-year-old suspect.” He was not described as “white”: the American news media is much more likely to racially mark black and brown suspects in crimes, and to include their racial description (or religious/ethnic as in the ubiquitous ”Arab” or “Muslim” “terrorist.”

    To watch such a series of questions being asked to a community that only several hours ago suffered a viciously violent terrorist attack is wholly unbelievable. Yet somehow black Americans are so disrespected, derided and associated with criminality that they are responsible for their own murders by a white domestic terrorist.

  11. Elaine M. says:

    Right-wing Twitter rages: How dare Obama blame Charleston massacre on guns when it’s clearly his fault
    Given that this is the 14th time he’s made this speech, it’s a wonder they even have any guns left for him to take

  12. swarthmoremom says:

    Annie,It is shameful and this young man is said to have wanted to start another civil war.

  13. swarthmoremom says: “The Confederate flag’s defenders often claim it represents “heritage not hate.” I agree—the heritage of White Supremacy was not so much birthed by hate as by the impulse toward plunder. Dylann Roof plundered nine different bodies last night, plundered nine different families of an original member, plundered nine different communities of a singular member. An entire people are poorer for his action. The flag that Roof embraced, which many South Carolinians embrace, does not stand in opposition this act—it endorses it. That the Confederate flag is the symbol of of white supremacists is evidenced by the very words of those who birthed it:

    Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner-stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth…”

  14. I. Annie says:

    SWM, we live in scary times. I guess we are seeing blowback from angry white racists for electing a half black President and that fact that black Americans are standing up for their right not to be gunned down in the street by police. There are preppers that are slavering at the idea of a civil war, an apocalypse of some sort, so they can use of their beans and rice before they go stale.

  15. Bob Kauten says:

    Obama – ““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”

    Gene – “Actually, it does, just not as frequently…”
    I agree. It’s like rain in Death Valley…actually it does, just not as frequently.”
    That kind of stuff happens in civilized countries so infrequently, it’s like it doesn’t happen at all.
    Gun violence is deeply inbred in this country, and this country is not civilized.
    I think we all realize that the first response of the citizens of this country to this massacre, will be to mob the gun shops and buy MOAR GUNZ!
    I believe that I read that the .45 pistol was given to this guy as a gift. How about giving someone HIV as a gift, instead?
    I realize that the adult citizens of this country are entitled, by this culture, to own guns.
    I also realize that a very high percentage of the adult citizens of this country have the emotional maturity and sense of responsibility of a 12-year-old. A lot of the rest of them are certifiably insane.
    But pointing this out is like pissin’ in the wind, ain’t it? It’ll just keep on going.
    Never mind.

  16. swarthmoremom says:

    Annie, These people most often say something like “they” are taking over our country or we want our country back. I think it really bothers them that a black family is living in the “white” house. Yes they are hoarding their guns for a civil war. The black church is symbol of power so it is no wonder they often go there to kill people.

  17. Pointing out ignorance and irresponsibility is never lost on the wise and the responsible and sometimes manages to change ignorance to wisdom, but it is usually pissing in the wind where the ignorant and irresponsible are concerned, Bob K. Ignorance and irresponsibility are as often as not a choice, willfully made or not, rather than simply not being able to think well. Lack of capacity can be excused. A great many of the ignorant in this country can tell you every detail about the Kardashians and yet have not read a book on a substantive subject since being forced to by teachers. Not even a novel. Sometimes they didn’t even read the materials then. So pissing in the wind, preaching to the choir, flip sides of the same coin.

    That does not change that “never” was simply wrong. “Never” is an absolute and contrary to the facts. However, if you want to talk frequency, that is a different discussion. I’d rather like to see some numbers on that before commenting too much though, preferably broken down by nation and type of violence. Rampage killings are psychotic behavior. You cannot legislate away psychotic behavior. I could kill a lot more people with a nail gun, maybe a little chain, a couple of gallons of gas and a Bic than I could with my shotgun were that my inclination. That I’m not psychotic helps prevent that from happening just like it prevents me from walking into an office/church/whatever and opening fire. “Ease” will not deter a psychotic either.

    If we really want to step up prevention? I think the first two steps are better education and better public mental health services. Those can mitigate both ignorance and psychosis far more effectively than doing away with the 2nd.

  18. bron98 says:

    my first question was what sort of mood altering drugs is this young man taking. most of the shootings by young males in this country are done by individuals taking drugs.

    I don’t know why they pass them out like candy. I think the parents are in chaos themselves and drug their children so they don’t have correct their own behavior. easier to give Johnny a couple of blue pills than quit screwing the neighbor, drinking too much, yelling and screaming at the children. dysfunctional people engage in all sorts of behaviors deleterious to their children’s psychic well being.

    Calm the fuck down and be an adult, take your children off the drugs and the rate of these killings will drop like a rock.

    Before you put your children on drugs, alter your own life for 12 months. Then evaluate your child.

  19. Elaine M. says:


    Do you suppose Dylann Roof was a racist before he began using drugs…or do you think the drugs made him a racist? Do you suppose his parents could hold racist views?


    Dylann Roof, Charleston Suspect, Wore Symbols of White Supremacy

    The Daily Beast reported that John Mullins, who went to high school with Mr. Roof, described him as a heavy drug user who told racist jokes. He was “kind of wild,” Mr. Mullins said.

    “He used drugs heavily a lot,” Mr. Mullins added. “He was like a pill popper, from what I understood. Like Xanax, and stuff like that.”

    Mr. Roof “had that kind of Southern pride, I guess some would say — strong conservative beliefs,” Mr. Mullins said. “He made a lot of racist jokes, but you don’t really take them seriously like that. You don’t really think of it like that.”

    Now, Mr. Mullins added, it appears that Mr. Roof was “not joking.”

  20. Elaine M. says:

    Lindsey Graham downplays race after black church shooting: People ‘looking for Christians to kill them’

    Republican presidential candidate Lindsey Graham reacted to a mass shooting at a historically black church in home state of South Carolina by suggesting that the shooter was “looking for Christians to kill them.”

    On Wednesday, Dylann Roof allegedly shot and killed nine people at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston. A witness said that he told them that he was there “to shoot black people.”

  21. Elaine M. says:

    Sanders: Charleston Shooting Reminder Of ‘Ugly Stain Of Racism’ In US

    Presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) on Thursday condemned the shooting at a historically black church in Charleston, S.C. as a “tragic reminder of the ugly stain of racism” tainting America.

    “This senseless violence fills me with outrage, disgust and a deep, deep sadness,” Sanders tweeted.

    In a longer statement, the Democratic presidential contender said the killings, which were blamed on a white suspect whose victims included state Sen. Clementa Pinckney (D), showed that the U.S. had a long way to go in escaping its history of racial violence.

  22. Elaine M. says:

    A Civil-Rights Champion Was Lost in the Attack on Charleston’s Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church
    John Nichols on June 18, 2015

    The Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, where a young white man reportedly shot and killed nine people Wednesday night, is an historic center of religious and social activism, with roots in anti-slavery and anti-segregation struggles going back two centuries and a contemporary commitment to the struggle against police brutality and economic injustice.

    The oldest AME church in the South, and one of the largest African-American congregations in the region, it is referred to as “Mother Emanuel” because of the central role this faith institution has played in the lives and the history of a city, a state, a region, and a nation. That centrality is recalled in the church’s history:

    In 1822 the church was investigated for its involvement with a planned slave revolt. Denmark Vesey, one of the church’s founders, organized a major slave uprising in Charleston. Vesey was raised in slavery in the Virgin Islands among newly imported Africans. He was the personal servant of slavetrader Captain Joseph Vesey, who settled in Charleston in 1783. Beginning in December 1821, Vesey began to organize a slave rebellion, but authorities were informed of the plot before it could take place. The plot created mass hysteria throughout the Carolinas and the South. Brown, suspected but never convicted of knowledge of the plot, went north to Philadelphia where he eventually became the second bishop of the AME denomination.

    During the Vesey controversy, the AME church was burned. Worship services continued after the church was rebuilt until 1834 when all black churches were outlawed. The congregation continued the tradition of the African church by worshipping underground until 1865 when it was formally reorganized, and the name Emanuel was adopted, meaning “God with us.”

  23. Elaine M. says:

    Surprise! Alex Jones uses Charleston shooting to smear Planned Parenthood and defend the NRA

    Conservative radio host Alex Jones argued that Wednesday night’s terrorist attack against a black church in Charleston, South Carolina was the set-up for the “race war” he claims President Barack Obama and the media have been building up, while pushing a bogus claim in defense of the National Rifle Association (NRA).

    “Folks, this is it. They’ve been hyping ‘race war,’ pushing it as hard as they can, saying ‘NRA is the new KKK,’” Jones said on his show on Thursday. “Even though the NRA was founded, in part — 50-50 — to arm blacks in the South who were being disarmed. In fact, there were calls by liberals to disarm whites particularly today. I just want to point out, that’s been done before, but to blacks.”

    Contrary to Jones’ argument, however, there is no evidence that the NRA was formed to protect black communities. That claim was debunked two years ago by both Mic News and PolitiFact Wisconsin.

    The latter specifically noted that there is no mention of the Klan or protecting black citizens in the NRA’s statement regarding its origins on its own website.

  24. Elaine M. says:

    It’s not about mental illness: The big lie that always follows mass shootings by white males
    Blaming “mental illness” is a cop-out — and one that lets us avoid talking about race, guns, hatred and terrorism

    I get really really tired of hearing the phrase “mental illness” thrown around as a way to avoid saying other terms like “toxic masculinity,” “white supremacy,” “misogyny” or “racism.”

    We barely know anything about the suspect in the Charleston, South Carolina, atrocity. We certainly don’t have testimony from a mental health professional responsible for his care that he suffered from any specific mental illness, or that he suffered from a mental illness at all.

    We do have statistics showing that the vast majority of people who commit acts of violence do not have a diagnosis of mental illness and, conversely, people who have mental illness are far more likely to be the victims of violence than the perpetrators.

    We know that the stigma of people who suffer from mental illness as scary, dangerous potential murderers hurts people every single day — it costs people relationships and jobs, it scares people away from seeking help who need it, it brings shame and fear down on the heads of people who already have it bad enough.

    But the media insists on trotting out “mental illness” and blaring out that phrase nonstop in the wake of any mass killing. I had to grit my teeth every time I personally debated someone defaulting to the mindless mantra of “The real issue is mental illness” over the Isla Vista shootings…

    What’s interesting is to watch who the mentally ill people are being thrown under the bus to defend. In the wake of Sandy Hook, the NRA tells us that creating a national registry of firearms owners would be giving the government dangerously unchecked tyrannical power, but a national registry of the mentally ill would not — even though a “sane” person holding a gun is intrinsically more dangerous than a “crazy” person, no matter how crazy, without a gun.

  25. Elaine M. says:

    Charleston Shooting: Speaking the Unspeakable, Thinking the Unthinkable
    In which we confront the dark heart of America. Again.

    What happened in a church in Charleston, South Carolina on Wednesday night is a lot of things, but one thing it’s not is “unthinkable.” Somebody thought long and hard about it. Somebody thought to load the weapon. Somebody thought to pick the church. Somebody thought to sit, quietly, through some of Wednesday night bible study. Somebody thought to stand up and open fire, killing nine people, including the pastor. Somebody reportedly thought to leave one woman alive so she could tell his story to the world. Somebody thought enough to flee. What happened in that church was a lot of things, but unthinkable is not one of them.

    What happened in a Charleston church on Wednesday night is a lot of things, but one thing it’s not is “unspeakable.” We should speak of it often. We should speak of it loudly. We should speak of it as terrorism, which is what it was. We should speak of it as racial violence, which is what it was.

    We should speak of it as an attack on history, which it was. This was the church founded by Denmark Vesey, who planned a slave revolt in 1822. Vesey was convicted in a secret trial in which many of the witnesses testified after being tortured. After they hung him, a mob burned down the church he built. His sons rebuilt it. On Wednesday night, someone turned it into a slaughter pen.

  26. Harvey says:

    Obama did go on to say ‘it didn’t happen with this kind of frequency’. It is said somewhere around the 3 minute mark.

  27. Harvey says:

    More precisely: 3 minutes 58 seconds

  28. Mike Spindell says:

    Good commentary. All I’ll add regarding how conservatives and corporate media have responded to these murders is: White Privilege strikes again.

  29. Let’s not be too quick to dismiss psychological or mental problems. I agree with the proposition this was a hate crime; one directed specifically at black people in a predominantly black church. The shooters own words support the notion of it being racially motivated.

    I suppose I come at such issues from a somewhat different perspective than most sideline observers. I do evaluations on mass murderers and serial killers, and have been doing so since my first mass murder case about 1975. I have worked on cases where the killer was black and all the victims were black. Also, white perps where all the victims were white. Some were mixed with race & gender being of various combinations. Motivations in most cases varied, but there was a common thread regardless of the racial makeup of both perp and victims. The shooter was, to use a layman’s term, unhinged in some way. Crazy. Nuts.

    The mental health system in this country is in approximately the same condition as the bridge in Minneapolis that fell into the Mississippi River. Sickness takes many forms, some benign and some malignant. Racism is malignant. How do we deal with it? Social psychologists have made suggestions, almost all of which have fallen on deaf ears. One thing we do NOT want to do is make psychiatric and psychological health care both unaffordable and next to impossible to obtain.

    As long as there are people who are paranoid delusional, or easily influenced by race baiters, we are going to have this sort of crime. It is not new in society, and represents a different variation on tribal warfare. And believe me, warfare it is. A small segment of delusional and paranoid individuals who are somehow threatened by the “different other,” will continue to wage war. It got out of hand on a global scale in the 1930s, but even then, it was not a new phenomenon.

    I don’t have a solution without running afoul of the First Amendment. Germany outlawed displays of Nazi symbols, but that would not be Constitutional in this country. After reading and re-reading Elliot Aaronson, I have come to believe the only workable solution is the same one that has been used for slowing down the rate of new smokers in this country to a slow crawl. Make it socially unacceptable. It was not until non-smokers said “enough” that smokers discovered themselves in a hostile environment. That may work, but it will be a long slow process.

  30. Elaine M. says:

    NRA Board Member Blames Charleston Victim For His Own Death

    NRA board member Charles Cotton blamed Clementa Pinckney, a victim of the shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, for his own death. He also blamed Pinckney, the pastor of Emanuel AME and a state senator, for the deaths of the other eight people killed.

    As a state senator, Pinckney supported tougher gun regulations and opposed a bill that would have allowed people to carry concealed guns in churches. On, a message board, Cotton wrote that “Eight of his church members who might be alive if he had expressly allowed members to carry handguns in church are dead. Innocent people died because of his position on a political issue.”

  31. swarthmoremom says:

  32. swarthmoremom says: “There is a great deal that is still unknown about what transpired last night, but the immediate details—a single white male shooting; a horrific act of desecration; nine people, including the church’s pastor, the Reverend Clementa Pinckney, murdered during worship—are enough to inspire something beyond despair. Two months ago, the country saw video of Walter Scott, an unarmed African-American man, as he was fatally shot by police officer Michael Slager in nearby North Charleston. The two incidents seem like gruesome boomerangs of history until we consider the even more terrible idea that they are simple reflections of the present. The daisy chain of racial outrages that have been a constant feature of American life since Trayvon Martin’s death, three years ago, are not a copycat phenomenon soon to fade from our attention.”

  33. Elaine M. says:

    Chuck and Gene,

    I wasn’t dismissing psychological or mental problems when I posted that Salon article. That said, I think the author has some good points to make about using mental illness as a way to “avoid talking about race, guns, hatred and terrorism.”

    I think we have to look at Dylann Roof’s childhood/background. Were/are his parents racists? Was he raised to hate black people? Are all racists killers mentally ill?


    Another excerpt from that article:

    Now we’ve got a man who wore symbols of solidarity with apartheid regimes, a man who lived in a culture surrounded by deadly weapons who, like many others, received a gift of a deadly weapon as a rite of passage into manhood.

    He straight-up told his victims, before shooting them, that he was doing it to defend “our country” from black people “taking over.” He told a woman that he was intentionally sparing her life so she could tell people what he did.

    There is no reasonable interpretation of his actions that don’t make this a textbook act of terrorism against black Americans as a community.

    And yet almost immediately we’ve heard the same, tired refrain of “The real issue is mental illness.”

    Well, “mental illness” never created any idea, motivation or belief system. “Mental illness” refers to the way our minds can distort the ideas we get from the world, but the ideas still come from somewhere.

    One of the highest-profile cases of full-blown schizophrenia in history is that of John Nash, who, unlike the vast, vast majority of mentally ill people, really did develop a whole system of delusions entirely separate from reality. And yet even then the movie A Beautiful Mind whitewashes what those beliefs actually were–when he came up with an all-powerful conspiracy that was monitoring his every move, that conspiracy by sheer coincidence was a conspiracy of the world’s Jews.

    Was it just sheer bad luck for Jewish people that a random genius’ random fertile imagination made them into demonic villains? Or did he get that idea from somewhere?

    Misogynistic rants that exactly match Elliot Rodger’s are just a Google search away, if you have a strong stomach. So are racist threats that exactly match Dylann Roof’s. Are all those people “mentally ill”? And if so is there some pill you could distribute to cure it?

  34. swarthmoremom says: “Nearly half of the 5,922 hate crimes reported nationally in 2013 were racially based – far more than on any other type of prejudice. Sexual orientation was the next most common, accounting for 20.8 percent of reported hate crimes, FBI statistics show.

    “What has our society come to when people in a prayer meeting in the sacred halls of a church can be shot in what is deemed a possible hate crime?” Rev. Al Sharpton, president of the National Action Network, said in a statement released Thursday.”

  35. bron98 says:

    that little shithead killed 8 American human beings.

    I am tired of race, we all came out of Africa, the mother of all of us was a black woman, we carry her DNA to this day. We are all family so to speak separated by geography and the cultures which developed due to location.

    This man was a deranged lunatic, he probably was a racist but so what? I know a couple of racists and they wouldn’t kill black people. He is also probably on drugs of some sort, that is the real problem. these drugs cause suicide and other violence but very few are willing to look at those as the cause, the political right doesn’t want to hurt big pharma and the left wants to blame racism, white privilege and guns. Both sides are full of shit on this issue.

  36. swarthmoremom says:

  37. swarthmoremom says:

    bron, I don’t think it could be any clearer that his motive was racist in nature. He planned this. Now the guns that is another issue.

  38. Mike Spindell says:

    Is Dylann Wolf crazy? He probably is crazy to use that broad term. However, the point Elaine was making is that calling him insane ignores the reality beyond his murders. He lives in a State that flies the Confederate Flag above its capitol. That flag is a symbol of treason towards everything the United States purportedly stands for, yet that treason is viewed in much of the South as a romantic struggle for freedom. The White Man’s freedom to abuse human beings because of the color of their skins. The racists at the core of this country and those who would abet them for political gain would love Roof to be identified as crazy and in fact that will probably be his only defense at trial. I know the psychological definitions of “crazy” quite well, but because I can understand the effects of mental illness, doesn’t give me the ability to dismiss Roof’s actions as only those of a mentally deranged person. When it comes to the kind of virulent racism that exists beneath the surface of this country, yes it is all crazy, but it is all rooted in the socio-economic factors that underlie “White Privilege”.

    There I’ve used that meme again and I will continue to use it as a shorthand for the gestalt of the behavior of a sizable amount of our citizens, that disgusts and frightens me.

  39. There is a lot I don’t agree with Bron about. However, he is right about not all racists are violent or even aggressive. Racism is a symptom, not the problem. The Columbine shooters were probably not a lot different from the Charleston shooter, psychologically. Shared paranoia, feeling alienated, misinformed, hostile, projecting one’s own inadequacies on others.

    All those things contribute to the mindset. Blaming racism, guns and the like reduces the problem to a single simplistic, bumper sticker “solution” that is not a solution. The problem is societal and psychological. Mental illness is not even the correct term. More correct would be a kind of social psychopathology that is intertwined with the larger culture. People like Roof, Dylan Klebold, Timothy McVeigh and even Mohammed Atta are outliers in the larger society. Not everyone is violent, but when this level of violence erupts, if you look closely enough, you are going to find a person with either a mental illness or serious personality disorder.

    There is no pill to fix it. As a former Gestalt therapist as well as forensic scientist, I take a more global view of the problem. It is a multi-legged stool. Fixing one leg of the stool won’t keep it from tipping over. ALL the legs must be fixed.

    That takes both will and money, neither of which our governmental leaders seem to have. They lack the will, and won’t spend the money.

    ADDNOTE: As I proofread this, I realized I probably have the outline of a full post/diary here. Will have to work on it after I get my head together from all that has happened the past two months.

  40. swarthmoremom says: “Perhaps now we can stop looking for some way to explain how a young white man murdering nine people in a black church — after telling his victims he was there to kill black people and “you have to go” — was not really about race:

    Dylann Roof has confessed to authorities to shooting and killing nine people this week at a historically black church in Charleston, South Carolina, two law enforcement officials said Friday.

    One of the officials said that Roof, who is white, told investigators that he wanted to start a race war.

    The not-about-race explanations started before Roof was identified on Thursday as the suspect and later arrested.”

  41. swarthmoremom says: Other flags will fly at half mast but the confederate flag will continue to fly at full mast. The photo in the article shows Dylan Roof standing in front of his auto with confederate plates. This whole idea of glorifying the confederacy needs to go. It further embeds structural racism.

  42. Mike Spindell says:

    “There is a lot I don’t agree with Bron about. However, he is right about not all racists are violent or even aggressive. Racism is a symptom, not the problem. The Columbine shooters were probably not a lot different from the Charleston shooter, psychologically. Shared paranoia, feeling alienated, misinformed, hostile, projecting one’s own inadequacies on others.”


    You are right and yet you are clearly wrong. The dichotomy is that the way you are describing these murders ring true, but sadly miss the point of what’s happening in this country. We are clearly seeing a pattern of behavior that is becoming more overt with every police murder and every incident such as this. A sizable minority of America is being manipulated by a cabal of political and religious leaders, towards a restoration of a medieval system of governance. This is a similar situation to what arose in NAZI Germany. The current leaders of this radical, revolutionary movement are rational con men who know how to push emotional buttons in an ignorant sector of the populace. This is akin to the German Industrialists, Junkers and religious leadership in NAZI Germany. What they failed to understand back then and what the cabal in the U.S. fails to understand now, is that someone like Hitler, once in power with weaponry at his disposal, stops taking and starts giving orders to those who backed him.

  43. Mike Spindell says:


    The john Stewart clip nails it!

  44. swarthmoremom says: “When terrorists strike, whether at a kosher supermarket in Paris supermarket or a black church in Charleston, it’s natural to look beyond the specific circumstances of a specific murderer and ask about the broader cultural and ideological trends that lead to radicalization and legitimize violence. And in the case of Dylann Roof we don’t need to look far for at least one sign of this. A Confederate flag flies on the grounds of the South Carolina statehouse as a symbolic token of the state’s official ideological solidarity with the cause of fighting and dying for the purpose of enslaving black people.

    But the problem is much larger than a single flag in a single state — the United States as a whole is suffused with perverse symbolism that legitimizes anti-black violence.

    Consider Forrest High School in Marshall County, Tennessee named after Confederate General and Ku Klux Klan founder Nathan Bedford Forest. Forest also lends his name to a state park in Tennessee and the ROTC building at Middle Tennessee State University.”

  45. Elaine M. says:

    More from Tim Wise on the church shooting in Charleston:

    For those who say stupid and obvious shit like “all lives matter…” Tell ya what, when a racist bursts into a church and targets folks just because they are “All people” rather than black people, you are allowed to speak. Until then, STFU forever…

  46. Mike Spindell says:

    About my last comment addressed to Chuck, how about this link from a post by Gene?

    My contention is that this is exactly what is happening and “race” is but one of the ways to enable the takeover. The NAZI’s targeted the Jews, homosexuals, Gipsies and the disabled. In America these fascists target people of color, Muslims, homosexuals and lately the disabled. Same strategy, though at present Jews aren’t included.

    Aside to my fellow Jews who falsely believe that the current favor for Israel on the Right will save you, things can all go “south” in a wink of n eye.

  47. Mike Spindell says:

    “An act of terrorism unfolded on American soil last night when Dylann Roof allegedly killed nine people at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina.

    The victims were attending a Wednesday night Bible study. Roof reportedly sat in on this service for about an hour before going on a shooting rampage. His intention was “to shoot black people” — a plot that had been in the works for at least six months. Sylvia Johnson, a relative of one of the victims, said Roof told his targets, “You rape our women and you’re taking over our country. And you have to go.”

    Yet mainstream media has already begun wondering what really might have motivated him to kill — as we often do with white murderers. Fox News analysts ignored the racist flags on Roof’s clothing and suggested the attack was religiously motivated, while The Daily Beast made sure to let America know Roof was “quiet” and “softspoken.” Other outlets cited his use of a medication that assists with addiction recovery.

    And, of course, some have already questioned whether Roof was mentally ill.

    When white people go on shooting sprees, their actions are frequently attributed to mental illness and, thus, they’re not considered fully accountable for the harm they’ve inflicted. This narrative — which is not afforded to people of color — feeds into the assumption that incidents like what happened at Emanuel AME Church are isolated tragedies executed by lone gunmen. Essentially, it excuses the system that allows racialized terrorism to keep happening.”

    We can’t dismiss Roof’s actions as “mental illness” because that trivializes the horror of this crime and denies its motivation. When it is a depraved White murderer in a situation such as this, we look to mental illness for motivation, yet a Black person engage in even mild (sometimes justified) violence is a thug.

  48. swarthmoremom says:

  49. I. Annie says:

    “A symbol of heritage, states rights”? Good lord, so they are proud of this. How can there be “appropriate mourning” while that hateful thing is still flying? The south is still confederate.

  50. Mike S.
    I certainly don’t disagree with what you say. My point is that racism is just the visible part of the iceberg. And, it is not the only visible part.

    There are those who use propaganda techniques to push the right buttons of the unstable to achieve some nefarious goal. My concern is for the unstable whose buttons are being pushed, as well as their victims. Racism, sexism, homophobia, religious extremism. They are all parts of the same underlying social & psychological problem, not just in this country, but elsewhere as well.

  51. Elaine M. says:

    What of the children who are raised by racist parents? Those parents teach their children to hate others.

    The problem of racism in this needs to be addressed. Would Dylann Roof have killed nine black people in a church if he weren’t a racist? Do you think he would have killed a group of white people?

  52. Elaine M. says:

    Dylann Roof Bragged Last Week He Would ‘Kill A Bunch Of People’ And No One Spoke Up

    Dylann Storm Roof, the accused gunman authorities say is responsible for killing nine people in one of the nation’s first African American churches located in Charleston, South Carolina, is a proponent of segregation, according to his roommate, who said he’s been “planning something like that for six months.”

    That’s right, the plan was in motion and the roommate apparently said nothing. Roof’s father gifted him with a gun, knowing full well his son should not have a firearm…

    Dylan Roof’s grandfather, Joe Roof, declined to comment to ABC News, but we wonder why the father hasn’t been charged since he allowed his son, a felon, to have ownership of a gun.

  53. swarthmoremom says: “The mysteriousness of Dylann Roof’s motivations for allegedly murdering a room full of African-Americans, rated on a scale of 1 through 10, is zero. Roof has been described by people who knew him as obsessed with racial hatred, has been photographed with racist symbolism, told his victims he planned to murder them because of their race, and even let one live specifically so that she could let the world know the reason for his crime. It is entirely possible that some form of mental illness or adverse life event caused Roof to embrace violent racism, but there is zero doubt that racism directly motivated his actions.”

  54. “My concern is for the unstable whose buttons are being pushed, as well as their victims. Racism, sexism, homophobia, religious extremism. They are all parts of the same underlying social & psychological problem, not just in this country, but elsewhere as well.”


  55. blouise says:

    “To continue perceiving extreme racism as normative and not pathologic is to lend it legitimacy. Clearly, anyone who scapegoats a whole group of people and seeks to eliminate them to resolve his or her internal conflicts meets criteria for a delusional disorder, a major psychiatric illness.”

    Alvin F Poussaint, Professor of psychiatry, Harvard Medical School

  56. blouise says:

    The above quote was taken from this paper. It’s an interesting read.

  57. swarthmoremom says:

    Some said the attack reinforced their reservations about personal security in the U.S. — particularly as a non-white foreigner — while others said they’d still feel safe if they were to visit.

    Especially in Australia and northeast Asia, where firearms are strictly controlled and gun violence almost unheard of, many were baffled by the determination among many Americans to own guns despite repeated mass shootings, such as the 2012 tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, where a gunman killed 20 children and six adults.

    “We don’t understand America’s need for guns,” said Philip Alpers, director of the University of Sydney’s project that compares gun laws across the world. “It is very puzzling for non-Americans.”

    A frontier nation like the U.S., Australia had a similar attitude toward firearms prior to a 1996 mass shooting that killed 35. Soon after, tight restrictions on gun ownership were imposed and no such incidents have been reported since.

    A similar effect has been seen elsewhere.

    “The USA is completely out of step with the rest of the world. We’ve tightened our gun laws and have seen a reduction,” said Claire Taylor, the director of media and public relations at Gun Free South Africa.

    Ahmad Syafi’i Maarif, a prominent Indonesian intellectual and former leader of Muhammadiyah, one of the country’s largest Muslim organizations, said the church shooting shocked many.

    “People all over the world believed that racism had gone from the U.S. when Barack Obama was elected to lead the superpower, twice,” he said. “But the Charleston shooting has reminded us that in fact, the seeds of racism still remain and were embedded in the hearts of small communities there, and can explode at any time, like a terrorist act by an individual.”

  58. Mike,

    We also cannot ignore that he is a psychopath. That in no way makes him less the racist terrorist. He is what he is. Unless proven otherwise, he knew right from wrong and is thus legally culpable for his actions regardless of any underlying mental illness. As you well know “legal insanity” is about capacity, not mental stability.

  59. Elaine M. says:

    Centuries of Violence
    For black Americans, it is impossible to separate the massacre in Charleston from hundreds of years of vicious attacks on our churches and communities.
    By Kidada E. Williams

    In trying to understand the historical context behind the massacre of nine people attending a prayer meeting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, many people have pointed to the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, or the string of arsons directed at Southern black churches in the 1990s. But black Americans know that the history of white terror against us, and our churches, runs much deeper than that. We know this vicious attack is only the latest manifestation of an intense hatred of black Americans that is stitched throughout the entire fabric of the nation’s history. Black American places of worship have represented a threat to white supremacy’s various forces since they emerged among free black populations living in cities throughout the U.S. in the late 18th century…

    Many whites who were looking to preserve white social, economic, and political supremacy over blacks after the war typically used terror to achieve their objectives. White terrorists came from all levels of southern society. Some men struck political figures, and others vented their rage at laborers who rejected working conditions akin to slavery or were prospering under freedom.

    White men attacked blacks individually and as members of armed gangs that terrorized communities across the South. Gangs typically raided African Americans’ homes in the middle of the night and held families hostage while they plundered, raped, tortured, and murdered captives. White supremacists maimed and killed hundreds of black people and drove many families from their homes and communities. They also attacked important black institutions like schools, businesses, and churches.

    In South Carolina, White men burned and destroyed black churches during reigns of terror throughout the state. African Americans’ testimonies at the congressional hearings investigating the Ku Klux Klan in 1871 open a window into this history.

  60. Elaine M. says:

    Why Conservatives Can Only Talk About ‘Religious Liberty’ In Charleston
    POSTED ON JUNE 19, 2015

    In the aftermath of a mass shooting at Charleston’s historic Emanuel A.M.E. Church that killed nine people, most elected officials and political pundits are carefully expressing their condolences in a way that avoids mentioning race.

    Instead, many right-wing commentators are seizing on the location of the massacre — a Wednesday night Bible study in a church whose history dates back more than 200 years — as evidence that Christians are under attack in the United States.

    Fox News was quick to declare that the Charleston shooting was an “attack on faith.” On Thursday’s Fox and Friends, panel members discussed the “rising hostility against Christians in this country because of our biblical views.” GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum followed suit, calling the shooting part of a broader assault on “religious liberty” in this country.

    “We have no idea what’s in his mind. Maybe he hates Christian churches,” former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani said in reference to the white shooter.

    Focusing on the religion of the nine victims, however, obscures the larger reality of race-based hate crimes at houses of worship. The tragedy at Emanuel A.M.E. represents just the latest in a long line of violent attacks on black churches — targeted not for their “biblical views,” but because of the color of their parishioners’ skin.

  61. swarthmoremom says: “Save your thoughts and prayers. They’re meaningless.

    Douse your candles.

    This will keep happening.

    This will keep happening because, nearly 40 years ago, a group of gun fetishists took over an organization for hunters concerned about safely using their weapons and turned it into a political and cultural death machine.

    This will keep happening because the nation’s governing body responded to the massacre of 20 children at an elementary school two-and-a-half years ago by obstinately choosing to do nothing, and gloating about it afterwards.

    This will keep happening because a certain segment of the population believes that the problem of gun violence can be solved with an indeterminate number of guns and a populace armed to the teeth.”

  62. Nowhere has it been reported that Roof mentioned their Christianity as his motive, but I’m sure Jesus would be real proud of Rick and Rudy for making things up to suit their political agenda.


  63. However, on the subject of states of mind, Buddha tells us “It is a man’s own mind, not his enemy or foe, that lures him to evil ways.”

    Something to think about.

  64. UPDATE: Feds: Charleston Shooting A Potential Act Of ‘Domestic Terrorism’

    “The department’s investigation of the shooting incident in Charleston, South Carolina, is ongoing,” spokeswoman Emily Pierce said in a statement. “This heartbreaking episode was undoubtedly designed to strike fear and terror into this community, and the department is looking at this crime from all angles, including as a hate crime and as an act of domestic terrorism.”

    Note though the imprecise definition of “terrorism”. Again, terrorism (to use a differently worded but substantially the same definition as used earlier) is “The unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property in order to coerce or intimidate a government or the civilian population in furtherance of political or social objectives.” Striking fear and terror need not be the goal of the unlawful action but rather coercion and intimidation. Right conclusion. Sloppy use of language.

  65. swarthmoremom says: “The Charleston massacre at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church ought to put to rest the lie that if black people are just good enough, we will be left to live in peace.
    Charleston church shooting: Obama calls for gun control in wake of tragedy
    Read more

    We are so often told that if we didn’t just didn’t break the law in the first place, or resist arrest, or walk around with our spines upright and our spirits joyful that we would not face broken spines and the murder of both body and soul. But the list of things black Americans cannot do without the fear of being murdered grows week by week and day by day – and it is gathering up increasingly passive and pacifist activities. The doing-while-black factor (“Driving While Black” from New Jersey to Ferguson, “Walking While Black” in Florida, “Swimming While Black” in Texas) now must also include “Praying While Black” in church.”

  66. blouise says:

    The US had 88.8 guns per 100 people in 2007 — compared with 54.8 in the second-closest country, Yemen. Map of the data:

  67. swarthmoremom says: “Jerod Frazier, minister of social justice at the predominately black Charity Missionary Baptist church in neighboring North Charleston, said he worried about the future of race relations in the region.

    “The thing I hate about it is Sunday morning is the most segregated hour across America, but especially in the south – you can clearly tell who’s a visitor and who’s not if someone of another race comes in,” Frazier says. “We consider that to be a sacred time, and this threatens that peace.

    “If someone black goes into a white church or someone white goes to a traditionally black church, heads are going to turn around and say, ‘What’s going on now?’ It’s kind of a broken peace, if you will – a disturbance of peace.”
    Charleston church shooting: Obama calls for gun control in wake of tragedy
    Read more

    Obama is estimated to have made 14 statements in response to mass shootings during his six years as president. He failed in his attempt to pass national gun control legislation after a 20-year-old shot and killed 20 children and six educators at a school in Newtown, Connecticut, in 2012.

    He has also been criticised by some for failing to make a strong enough response to police shootings of unarmed black men, which have led to international protests.

    On Wednesday, Obama expressed hope that the latest American shooting might “shift how we think about the issue of gun violence”.

    “I have had to make statements like this too many times,” the president said.”

  68. Elaine M. says:

    Rick Perry: Charleston massacre was an ‘accident’ caused by drugs — not guns

    Rick Perry, the former Texas governor and current Republican presidential candidate, described the mass shootings of nine black worshipers by an apparent white supremacist as an “accident” caused by drug abuse.

    The GOP candidate appeared Friday on Steve Malzberg’s Newsmax TV program to complain that President Barack Obama had already politicized the massacre at the Charleston, South Carolina, church in his ongoing effort to restrict gun rights, reported Right Wing Watch.

    “This is the (modus operandi) of this administration, any time there is an accident like this,” Perry said. “The president is clear, he doesn’t like for Americans to have guns and so he uses every opportunity, this being another one, to basically go parrot that message.”

  69. blouise says:

    Good ol’ Perry telling all the yahoos that they aren’t mentally ill because one of them killed 9 people who were praying in church. Accidents happen my friends now go out and buy more guns and don’t forget to vote for me.

  70. swarthmoremom says:

    MABANK, Texas — A volunteer firefighter from East Texas was terminated Friday after a post the man allegedly made in response to the deadly Charleston, S.C. shooting.

    On their Facebook page early Friday afternoon, the Mabank Fire Department said Kurtis Cook was “terminated” and “trespassed from all Mabank Fire Department property” after an investigation into allegations against the volunteer firefighter.

    According to a report, Cook was accused of making a post on a South Carolina newspaper’s Facebook page that said Dylann Roof “needs to be praised for the good deed he has done.”

    Just before noon, the Mabank Fire Department made this post: East Texas is where James Byrd was dragged and killed by some white supremacists.

  71. po says:

    Elaine, rick Perry was also the proud occupant of Niggerhead ranch…

  72. Elaine M. says:


    Are you sure that wasn’t Knucklehead Ranch?

  73. po says:

    Elaine, everything about that name suggests knucklehead, and his attempt to defend it confirmed the knuckleheadery 🙂
    I do appreciate his attempt to look smart now by donning glasses…reminds me of another vice-prez candidate who went from dumb to dumber, oops, smart to smarter simply by choosing the right glasses…rimless in that case.

  74. Elaine M. says:

    Charleston Shooting: Black Churches Targeted Because Of Importance To Community

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The black church has long been the cornerstone and sanctuary for African-American life. It’s also long been a target for racists and white supremacists trying to strike blows against the African-American psyche.

    The latest attack came Wednesday in Charleston, South Carolina, when 21-year-old Dylann Storm Roof joined a prayer meeting inside historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church and, according to authorities, shot nine people dead, including the pastor, the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, and other ministers.

  75. Elaine M. says:

    Dylann Roof’s Terrifying Manifesto Has Been Discovered — Here Are the Shocking Excerpts

    The manifesto of mass murderer Dylann Storm Roof, the 21-year-old South Carolina man who attacked Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church last week and killed nine African-American congregants, has been discovered online by Twitter users Emma Quangel and Henry Krinkle.

    The manifesto, found on a website titled “Last Rhodesian,” contained both a rambling text file describing Roof’s ideology and motives as well as a .zip file containing photographs of Roof. The contents leave no doubt that the shooting was racially motivated, as it is full of justifications of white supremacy, neo-Nazi symbology such as references to the number 88 and racist diatribes against people of color.

  76. swarthmoremom says:

    Seems Roof says he woke up over the shooting of Trayvon Martin. Guess he thought Zimmerman had every right to shoot a young black man. After all,he was eating Skittles.

  77. blouise says:

    This was the web site the NYTimes reported. The picture they took from the site showed Roof sitting, surrounded by flowers, holding a Confederate flag in one hand and a gun in the other. That’s the picture the NRA should use in their next membership drive.

  78. swarthmoremom says: “It’s been 150 years since the Civil War ended, but the Confederacy never really went away. It just got reabsorbed, more or less intact, back into the United States. And today the fight is still going on. Indeed, in some ways—ironically thanks to social media—the nation is more segregated and disunited than ever.

    The last battle of the Civil War ended at Palmito Ranch, Texas, on May 13, 1865, and yet many more battles have been fought since then. Reconstruction was marked by racial terrorism, the emergence of the Ku Klux Klan and the return of former Confederates to government leadership in the South, where they set about writing laws to disenfranchise blacks and keep them a few pegs down the societal ladder, if not quite in the chains they wore as slaves. Even when Jim Crow segregation laws were eliminated by the U.S. Supreme Court and the Civil Rights movement in the last half century, the spirit of the Confederacy endured in the hearts and homes of many in the South.

    Among them, it appears, was Dylann Roof, who before he murdered nine people in a black church in Charleston, S.C., on Wednesday reportedly posted a “manifesto” in which he poured out vicious racist sentiments, declared that he hated the American flag and said segregation was “not a bad thing… [it] did not exist to hold back negroes. It existed to protect us from them.” Posted on the site are pictures of Roof with a Confederate flag and visiting the graves of Confederate soldiers.

    Such sympathies are not limited to the deranged. The Confederate battle flag remains a politically and racially charged symbol of the region’s past. It appears on t-shirts, bumper stickers and in the front yards of plenty of houses around the South. It’s flown on the capitol grounds in Columbia, South Carolina, where it flew at full mast all day Thursday despite the atrocity at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.”

  79. I. Annie says:


  80. swarthmoremom says:

    “Such sympathies are not limited to the deranged.” politico .

  81. I. Annie says:

    Confederate flag supporters protesting efforts at it’s removal in 2000.

  82. Elaine M. says:

    Judge in Dylann Roof Case Has a History of Racist Comments
    Read the shocking language in the documents.

    The judge who held the bond hearing for Dylann Roof, the suspect in the mass shooting in Charleston, South Carolina, has a history of making racist comments, according to court documents. The Daily Beast reports that in 2003, Magistrate James B.Gosnell told a black defendant, “There are four kinds of people in this world—black people, white people, red necks, and n—rs.” The comment led to a disciplinary proceeding that was eventually heard by the state Supreme Court in 2005.

    During the investigation, according to records from the proceeding, Gosnell argued that his statement was excusable because “he knew the defendant, the defendant’s father, and the defendant’s grandfather,” and that he was merely repeating something he remembered hearing from “a veteran African American sheriff’s deputy.”

  83. po says:

    I posted this on Mike’s thread on “the only song for this Saturday”, but realized it related to this conversation, which is a great one, insightful and comprehensive.
    Though this is all happening these days, it is not separated from when it happened yesterday, and should not be separated from its future occurrences, and down the line, should be legitimately fingered as the cause of the consequences that are sure to follow, and those consequences will result in the breakdown of this country.
    It is a long line of events sourced from power, fully owned, and power as it is being taken away, and these should have been the last remous of a dying era, but these turbulences have been ongoing for so long that the era has managed to re-energize itself and regain momentum.

    The nation wants to make it solely about one issue at a time, mental illness or guns or racism or violence…but it is each and all of those together. Every action must start with a feeling, in this case racism, the belief that someone is lesser, and that feeling is cultural, it comes from socialization, the result of information transferred from person to person to convince one that not only it is a valid feeling, but that such feeling is actually reality. That is where Fox News (along with the internet) comes in, providing the events, context and “legal” analysis to establish that feeling firmly into people’s hearts, but worse yet, providing a community of like-mindedness. That perceived community reinforces this warped reality that blacks are everything they are said to be while appealing to the baser political instincts of those willing to court any group no matter the level of unsavoriness in order to get votes. They are all high on self-righteousness and victimhood, the natural building blocks of the bully mentality and necessary structure of extremism.

  84. Elaine M. says:

    here is some heartening news:

    Answering the Call: White People Showing Up for Racial Justice

    Around the country Black people are echoing a longstanding call for white people, in large numbers, to step forward and confront white supremacy. From the uprisings in Ferguson and Baltimore, to the national outrages of Cleveland and McKinney, to the white racist terrorist attack of the Charleston Massacre, the violence of institutional, cultural and individual white supremacy is tearing the country apart. The long line of racist violence isn’t new, and while there has always been Black-led resistance, the defiance and courage of the people’s movement in Ferguson ignited Black liberation and #BlackLivesMatter movement and has brought a whole new generation of Black leadership to the forefront, with Black women, queers, trans, youth and working class activists not only leading, but leading differently, cultivating a leaderful movement. And leaders in Black Lives Matter, like Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi have continued to call for white people to step up against racism and for Black liberation.

    For the past six years, white anti-racists from around the country have been building up a national network to engage and move white people towards racial justice action. Rooted in longstanding white anti-racist efforts and leadership, along with strong relationships with organizers and leaders of color, Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) has been building infrastructure, relationships, shared values, and membership to respond to the call from Black leaders and leaders of color to move white people into action. From the Arizona anti-immigration struggle in 2010, to the murder of Trayvon Martin, SURJ has been bringing national leadership to help give focus, energy, and effective to white anti-racist efforts. Since, Ferguson, SURJ has literally been surging with new members, new chapters, and a growing role of convening national calls to help inform, equip, and mobilize a massively expanding base of white people into racial justice action.

  85. FBI director James Comey said Friday that while his agency is investigating the murder of nine people in Charleston, S.C. as a hate crime, it is not an act of terrorism.

    He said due to the lack of political motivation for his actions, alleged shooter Dylann Roof is not a domestic terrorist.

    “Terrorism is act of violence done or threatens to in order to try to influence a public body or citizenry so it’s more of a political act and again based on what I know so more I don’t see it as a political act. Doesn’t make it any less horrific the label but terrorism has a definition under federal law,” he said during a visit to Baltimore.

    Sounds to me like Comey has a reading comprehension problem given the statements made by Roof about his motivations (“You’re taking over our country.” specifically) and the alleged manifesto that has come to light.

  86. Elaine M. says:

    Texas volunteer firefighter fired after posting Dylann Roof ‘needs to be praised for the good deed he has done’

    A volunteer Texas firefighter was terminated for posting on social media that alleged Charleston shooter Dylann Roof “needs to be praised for the good deed he has done.”

    The comment by Mabank Fire Department volunteer Kurtis Cook was posted to the Facebook page of a South Carolina newspaper, then shared widely. Shortly after being notified about it, the department took action, local KLTV reports.

    “The Mabank Fire Department does not condone nor promote these type of actions or thoughts,” a statement from the department’s command read. “On behalf of all members, the Mabank Fire Department offers our deepest apologies to all that were offended by his actions and comments.”

    He is no longer allowed on fire department property, the statement said.

  87. blouise17 says:

    Sounds to me like Comey has a reading comprehension problem given the statements made by Roof about his motivations (“You’re taking over our country.” specifically) and the alleged manifesto that has come to light. – Gene

    Or maybe the gun lobby got to him. Can’t have gun owners called terrorists.

  88. Elaine M. says:

    This is American terrorism: White supremacy’s brutal, centuries-long campaign of violence
    There’s a war being waged against Black Americans, whether white America wants to admit it or not

    In a nation that witnessed the death of 4 girls and the injury of another at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, AL, church by members of the arch-terrorist organization Ku Klux Klan, the slaughter of nine unarmed Black churchgoers at Emanuel A.M.E. Church and the assassination of Pastor and State Senator Clementa Pickney stirs up the ghosts of America’s haunted past. Dylann Roof brutally murdered us as we worshipped in our sacred space. Dylann Roof butchered us as we talked with the “God of our weary years, God of our silent tears.”

    Meanwhile, the same media that declared a deadly shootout between biker gangs in Waco, TX, a “brawl,” has labelled the murder of 9 in Charleston a “shooting.” But this was no mere shooting. It was a cold-blooded, pre-meditated, white supremacist terrorist attack that ended the lives of nine unarmed Black people in the same church co-founded by the revolutionary Denmark Vesey, who sought to overthrow America’s wicked regime of human bondage and chattel slavery.

    The terrorist Dylann Roof has been caught, but the threat has not abated. Whether at swimming pools or churches, whether on suburban sidewalks or city streets, there is no place Black folk are safe from the police use of excessive force or guns of a white supremacist assassin. History has shown that white supremacist violence is grossly systemic and is an existential threat to Black people living in America.

    We have not overcome. We are not post-racial. We are at the crossroads. The world is upside down when Dylann Storm Roof, James Eagan Holmes, and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev are captured alive while Tamir Rice, John Crawford III, and Aiyana Stanley-Jones lie in an early grave. The question now is: will white Americans confront the ideology of white supremacy and uproot it from every policy, practice, and community? Because domestic American white supremacist terrorism must end.

  89. Elaine M. says:

    Far right panics and scurries away from Dylann Roof’s ‘act of purposeful evil’

    Almost exactly 20 years ago, Timothy McVeigh blew up a federal building in Oklahoma City , killing dozens of innocent civilians including 19 babies and toddlers in the hope of triggering a race war that would overthrow the American government.

    Instead, his act prompted only revulsion and put any thoughts of a radical right-wing revolution on indefinite hold.

    Now Dylann Roof, the young white man who has been charged with killing nine black churchgoers at a Bible-study meeting in Charleston on Wednesday, has met with similar disgust and outrage – from the very people he seemed most anxious to impress.

    “If starting a race war is what this kid is about, he did it in the worst possible way,” said Kirk Lyons, a prominent lawyer who has defended Ku Klux Klan members, supporters of the old southern Confederacy and a notorious Holocaust denier.

    “I’m a Christian,” Lyons added. “I consider the congregants of black churches my fellow Christians. These are the last people you want to hurt.”

  90. Elaine M. says:


    n February 2010, a man named Joseph Stack deliberately flew his small airplane into the side of a building that housed a regional IRS office in Austin, Texas, just as 200 agency employees were starting their workday. Along with himself, Stack killed an IRS manager and injured 13 others.

    Stack was an anti-tax, anti-government fanatic, and chose his target for exclusively political reasons. He left behind a lengthy manifesto cogently setting forth his largely libertarian political views (along with, as I wrote at the time, some anti-capitalist grievances shared by the left, such as “rage over bailouts, the suffering of America’s poor, and the pilfering of the middle class by a corrupt economic elite and their government-servants”; Stack’s long note ended: “the communist creed: From each according to his ability, to each according to his need. The capitalist creed: From each according to his gullibility, to each according to his greed”). About Stack’s political grievances, his manifesto declared that “violence not only is the answer, it is the only answer.”

    The attack had all of the elements of iconic terrorism, a model for how it’s most commonly understood: down to flying a plane into the side of a building. But Stack was white and non-Muslim. As a result, not only was the word “terrorism” not applied to Stack, but it was explicitly declared inapplicable by media outlets and government officials alike.
    The New York Times’s report on the incident stated that while the attack “initially inspired fears of a terrorist attack” — before the identity of the pilot was known — now “in place of the typical portrait of a terrorist driven by ideology, Mr. Stack was described as generally easygoing, a talented amateur musician with marital troubles and a maddening grudge against the tax authorities.”

    As a result, said the Paper of Record, “officials ruled out any connection to terrorist groups or causes.” And “federal officials emphasized the same message, describing the case as a criminal inquiry.” Even when U.S. Muslim groups called for the incident to be declared “terrorism,” the FBI continued to insist it “was handling the case ‘as a criminal matter of an assault on a federal officer’ and that it was not being considered as an act of terror.”

    By very stark contrast, consider the October 2014, shooting in Ottawa by a single individual, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, at the Canadian Parliament building. As soon as it was known that the shooter was a convert to Islam, the incident was instantly and universally declared to be “terrorism.” Less than 24 hours afterward, Prime Minister Stephen Harper declared it a terror attack and even demanded new “counter-terrorism” powers in its name (which he has now obtained). To bolster the label, the government claimed Zehaf-Bibeau was on his way to Syria to fight with jihadists, and the media trumpeted this “fact.”

  91. Yep.

    You can’t fight terrorist or terrorism if you think you’re fighting the adverb “terror” or don’t know the actual definitions of the word (as discussed many other places recently on this blog).

    Know what words mean. Knowledge is power. And an accurate and wide vocabulary is one of the best insulators against the manipulation of propaganda and propagandists.

  92. bettykath says:

    OT. Maybe the honey bees were trying to lobby Congress to ban some pesticides?

  93. bettykath says:

    OK, This is what I meant to post here but the other was is what came out.
    In November 2003, Gosnell was talking to a black defendant, whom he knew. Gosnell said he repeated to the defendant a phrase that he had heard spoken by a black sheriff’s deputy.

    “There are four kinds of people in this world — black people, white people, red necks, and n——,” Gosnell said at the time. He told the office of disciplinary counsel at the state Supreme Court that he made the “ill-considered” statement to try to get the young man to change his life.

    The use of the racial slur, first reported in the Daily Beast, came at a bail reduction hearing.

    The other charge stemmed from a case in which another judge was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence. The law required people to stay in jail overnight, but Gosnell drove down to the jail to set a bond for the judge.

    Gosnell told officials at the detention center to “make it appear that Judge (Joseph) Mendelsohn’s bond was set at 8:00 a.m.” even though Mendelsohn was set free at 2:30 a.m.

    Such bond arrangements had been banned by the state Supreme Court unless a judge sets bail for everyone who had been detained.

  94. bettykath says:

    Gosnell is the judge setting bail for Roof.

  95. Elaine M. says:

    Dylann Roof tried to kill himself during attack, victim’s son says

    During the attack at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C., on Wednesday night, suspected gunman Dylann Roof tried to kill himself, according to the son of one of the victims.

    “He pointed the gun at his head and pulled the trigger, but it went ‘click,'” because the chamber was empty, said Kevin Singleton, the son of 59-year-old Myra Thompson.

    “His plan was never to leave that church,” Singleton said.

    Singleton said he and his family were told the story by Polly Sheppard, 69, one of two adult survivors of the massacre that left nine people dead.

    A woman who answered the telephone at Sheppard’s house Saturday refused to comment.

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