Racist Charleston church massacre, reactions


This video from the USA says about itself:

Shooting Victim’s Friend Blames Fox News ‘Hate Speech’ for Charleston Church Massacre

18 June 2015

Friend of Charleston Victim: Fox News ‘Hate Speech’ a Potential Influence

Todd Rutherford, a South Carolina state legislator and a friend of one of the victims, spoke out on CNN this afternoon about how “the rhetoric in South Carolina, the rhetoric nationwide, has led people to believe… that it’s okay to walk into a church and take nine lives.”

Rutherford spoke to Jake Tapper about the Charleston church shooting and the death of his friend Reverend Clementa Pinckney.

He said that South Carolina is part of the problem because there’s no hate crimes law and the Confederate flag flies at the capitol. Rutherford referred to networks using “coded language” before calling out one network in particular:

“[The gunman] hears that because he watches the news and he watches things like Fox News, where they talk about things that they call news, but they’re really not. They use that coded language, they use hate speech, they talk about the president as if he’s not the president, they talk about churchgoers that they’re not really churchgoers. And that’s what this young man acted on. That’s why you can walk into a church and treat people like animals when they’re really human beings.”

Related: update: Gunman Dylann Storm Roof, 21, spares 1 woman telling her: ‘tell the world what happened’. Gunman to Victims: ‘You Rape Our Women’

The gunman who killed nine people during a Bible study meeting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, spewed a message of hate. Sylvia Johnson—a cousin of church pastor Clementa Pinckney, who was killed in the attack—says a survivor told her the gunman reloaded five times. “He just said ‘I have to do it,’” Johnson reports the survivor saying. “‘You rape our women and you’re taking over the country. You have to go.’”

Earlier, a local NAACP official said the killer told one woman, who has not been identified, that she was allowed to live so that she can tell everyone else what happened. Police confirmed that at least three people survived the attack, and that the gunman sat with the prayer group for at least an hour before he began to shoot. The FBI has named Dylann Storm Roof, 21, of Columbia, South Carolina as the suspected killer of nine people at a black church in Charleston. Roof was previously arrested on April 26 on a trespassing charge and was awaiting moderation. His sparse Facebook page shows an image of Roof in a jacket with the flags of apartheid-era South Africa and Rhodesia, which was an apartheid state before it became Zimbabwe.

By David Walsh in the USA:

The mass killing in Charleston, South Carolina

19 June 2015

The mass killing of six women and three men at an African American church in Charleston, South Carolina Wednesday evening is a horrific event that speaks to a deeply dysfunctional and diseased society.

The alleged gunman, 21-year-old Dylann Roof, of Columbia, South Carolina, was apparently motivated by racist and right-wing nationalist sentiments. He reportedly told those he was about to shoot in cold blood, “You rape our women and you’re taking over our country, and you have to go.”

On his Facebook profile page, Roof included a photograph of himself wearing a jacket with badges representing the flags of apartheid-era South Africa and Rhodesia. According to the Anti-Defamation League, the 1928 South African flag in particular has been adopted around the world in right-wing circles “as a symbol of white supremacy.”

The response of the political establishment in general has been hypocritical and empty to an obscene extent. Whatever the immediate political or psychological driving forces behind Roof’s alleged action, such a killing emerges in a specific political and social context.

The most obvious hypocrisy came from leading political figures in South Carolina. Various individuals associated with the South Carolina Republican Party have been exposed as members of the blatantly racist Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC), the descendant of the old White Citizens Council, the “respectable” version of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1950s and 1960s.

South Carolina’s Republican Governor Nikki Haley declared Thursday that the state’s “heart and soul…was broken” by the mass killing. In 2014 she defended the flying of the Confederate flag at the statehouse on the grounds that “not a single CEO” had complained to her.

In his statement, President Barack Obama expressed on Thursday his “deep sorrow over the senseless murders” in Charleston. Obama continued, “Any death of this sort is a tragedy. Any shooting involving multiple victims is a tragedy.” The president suggested that “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.”

Yes, but at which point exactly? Obama, like his predecessors George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, has had to make this sort of ceremonial appearance following a killing rampage on numerous occasions. If the president needs reminding about what has occurred during his administration alone, one could point to the April 2009 massacre of 13 people at a civic center for immigrants in Binghamton, New York; the attempted assassination of Rep. Gabby Giffords and the killing of six other people in Tucson, Arizona in January 2011; the mass killing at an Aurora, Colorado movie theater in July 2012; the murder of six people and wounding of four others at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin in August 2012 by a white supremacist; the killing of 26 people, including 20 children, in Newtown, Connecticut in December 2012; and there are many more.

Following each killing, one portion of the media, looking to Scripture for its inspiration, asserts that the tragedy proves the existence of “evil” and presumably Man’s Fallen Nature; another, more officially liberal-minded, claims that gun control will somehow mysteriously solve everything; a third sighs over the “senselessness” of it all and collectively shrugs its shoulders. The cluelessness of the official punditry is one indication of the moral and political bankruptcy of the American social order.

There is, of course, an irrational element in each of these tragic episodes, including the most recent one. Roof apparently let one elderly woman live because, he told her, “I need someone to survive,” indicating that he planned to kill himself, “And you’ll be the only survivor.”

But the claim by the media that such mass killings are incomprehensible is a self-serving lie. The commentators, along with Obama and the political officialdom, cannot and will not “reckon with” the phenomenon because even to begin probing the various massacres would be to lift the lid on the reality of American life and, above all, the atmosphere of unrelenting violence and aggression that has been generated by two decades or more of almost nonstop war.

The alleged actions of Roof, who was obviously unbalanced and disoriented and came under the influence of pro-Confederate and white supremacist propaganda, have a racist coloring. But, changing what must be changed, is there much of a difference in terms of social type between the Charleston suspect and the young killers at Columbine High School in 1999; or Seung-Hui Cho, the South Korean immigrant, who murdered 32 people and wounded 17 others on the Virginia Tech campus in April 2007; or James Eagan Holmes, the Aurora, Colorado shooter, and the various others?

What psychological and sociological features do the various perpetrators share in common? A highly advanced state of social alienation, great bitterness at other human beings, self-hatred, isolation, general despondency and the recourse to extreme violence to solve their real or imagined problems.

These tendencies recur too often and too devastatingly to be mere personal failings; they clearly come from the broader society. They reflect a terrible malaise, the mentality of individuals living perpetually under a dark cloud, who have no hope for the future, who can only imagine that things will get worse. Only look at the Facebook photograph of Dylann Roof if you want some idea of this bleakness and despondency!

The generation to which Roof belongs, unlike any other in American history, has known nothing but the combination of war and the building up of immense social inequality. If one sets aside with contempt the media’s fantasy version of American life, in which things have never been better—and, after all, don’t young people have Facebook, Twitter and iPhones?—no generation in modern times has experienced such harsh and discouraging circumstances. Capitalism, the subordination of every aspect of life to the drive for profit and personal wealth by the corporate elite, is at the heart of the problem.

The American ruling elite would have us believe that endless war, belligerence, aggression and threats of new, more catastrophic wars, part of the drive for US global domination, have no consequences. Violence and killing on the part of the American military or intelligence apparatus is a daily occurrence. US officials and politicians, mafia-like, blandly discuss “killing” alleged terrorists or “eliminating threats” to “America’s national interests.” Murder, whether by drone or other efficient modern means, has become routinized, banal. The president, as we know, meets with his advisers every Tuesday, to go over “kill lists.”

Someone like Roof, if he turns out to be the culprit, has known nothing but this expanding and escalating violence all his life. And not only violence overseas. Police in the US have been given a green light to open fire and kill innocent civilians. Only two months ago, in North Charleston, South Carolina, less than 10 miles from the scene of Wednesday night’s mass killings, a local police officer murdered Walter Scott in cold blood with five bullets in the back.

The crisis of American society is reaching a breaking point. It cannot go on like this. Roof’s is the unhealthy, twisted response of an infinitesimal portion of his generation. Masses of young people and masses of working people will respond to the crisis in a rational, progressive manner, by turning against the criminals and liars in power and their rotten economic and social system.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands today:

[Mass murder suspect] Roof had complained recently that “black people are taking over the world”, a former high school friend of his says. Someone should do something against that, according to Roof. He also supported racial segregation, according to the friend.

Roof had told the friend recently that he had bought a weapon with the money which he had got for his birthday. He also said he had a plan, but Roof did not say what that plan was.

CHARLESTON GUNMAN PLANNED ATTACK ‘FOR MONTHS’ “Dylann Roof’s roommate says the suspect was planning something big leading up to the alleged shooting at a South Carolina church Wednesday that left nine people dead. Dalton Tyler told ABC News that he’d known Roof for at least seven months, and that the 21-year-old was ‘planning something like that for six months.'” Here’s why the flags Roof is wearing in his Facebook profile picture matter. And watch President Obama discuss the horrific episode. [Andy Campbell, HuffPost]

MEET THE CHARLESTON VICTIMS Hundreds stood outside the Emanuel AME Church doors yesterday to mourn the nine victims of the Charleston shooting, who ranged in age from 26 to 87. [David Lohr, HuffPost]

RACISM: NOT A MENTAL ILLNESS “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.” [HuffPost]

As Nation Mourns Nine Black Victims of Church Massacre, Details of Suspect’s White Supremacism Emerge: here.

Ta-Nehisi Coates’ call to take down the Confederate Flag from the South Carolina Capitol.

Why don’t Americans call mass shootings ‘terrorism’? Racism: here.

MUSLIMS RALLY AROUND BLACK CHURCHES AFTER ARSON “Muslims are bringing hope to Christian communities in the South after a recent spate of fires devastated black church buildings. Three Muslim organizations have teamed up to raise money to rebuild worship centers in Florida, Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina that were destroyed by fire the past few weeks.” [HuffPost]

46 thoughts on “Racist Charleston church massacre, reactions

  1. National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People president Cornell William Brooks condemned the shooting.

    “There is no greater coward than a criminal who enters a house of God and slaughters innocent people engaged in the study of scripture,” Mr Brooks said.

    The gunman stayed for nearly an hour at a prayer meeting at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston on Wednesday night before shooting the six female and three male victims.

    Pastor and state Senator Clementa Pinckney was among those killed, state Representative Todd Rutherford said.

    Mr Pinckney was a married father of two who was elected to the state House of Representatives at 23, making him the youngest member of the House at the time.

    “He never had anything bad to say about anybody, even when I thought he should,” Mr Rutherford said.

    “He was always out doing work either for his parishioners or his constituents. He touched everybody.”

    The attack came two months after the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man, Walter Scott, by a white police officer in neighbouring North Charleston, which sparked mass protests.

    http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/a-7077-US-Suspect-held-in-Charleston-church-killing#.VYQ2RkZ8rOo

    Like

  2. A large protest on Saturday evening demanded the removal of the US civil war-era Confederate flag from the South Carolina statehouse.

    Veteran civil rights campaigner Sarah Leverette said: “We must put that flag in its place as a part of history.”
    Bringing it down, she added, would mean that the nine people killed at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal church had not died in vain.

    Republican South Carolina state Senator Doug Brannon said he would introduce a Bill to remove the flag entirely.

    http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/a-fde3-United-States-Two-mass-shootings-add-to-gun-horror#.VYfeIEZ8rOo

    Like

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