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South Carolina Church Massacre: Hate Crime or Terrorism?

Posted June 19th, 2015 at 12:58 pm (UTC-4)
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Shooters of Color Are Called ‘Terrorists’ and ‘Thugs.’ Why are White Shooters Called ‘Mentally Ill’?

Anthea Butler – The Washington Post

One of the most egregious terrorist acts in U.S. history was committed against a black church in Birmingham, Ala., in 1963. Four girls were killed when members of the KKK bombed the 16th Street Baptist Church, a tragedy that ignited the Civil Rights Movement.

But listen to major media outlets and you won’t hear the word “terrorism” used in coverage of Tuesday’s shooting. You won’t hear the white male shooter, identified as 21-year-old Dylann Roof, described as “a possible terrorist.” …

U.S. media practice a different policy when covering crimes involving African Americans and Muslims. As suspects, they are quickly characterized as terrorists and thugs, motivated by evil intent instead of external injustices….

I hope the media coverage won’t fall back on the typical narrative ascribed to white male shooters: a lone, disturbed or mentally ill young man failed by society. This is not an act of just “one hateful person.” It is a manifestation of the racial hatred and white supremacy that continues to pervade our society…

President Obama’s statement on South Carolina Church Shooting:


‘Things Fall Apart’: On Mother Emanuel and White Terrorism

Kirsten West Savali – The Root

President Barack Obama, who once again employed the careful language he only reserves for public statements on white pathology, did not once say that this was an act of domestic terrorism.

He did not once call Roof a thug as he skimmed over the United States’ history of violence against African American churches. He chose to focus instead on an election-cycle statement about gun reform. He quoted a race neutral message by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., whose mother Alberta Williams King was assassinated in Ebenezer Baptist Church in 1974, while failing to mention that the United States, with its investment in white supremacy, was complicit in the Mother Emanuel massacre.

If it wasn’t a gun, it would have been a bomb; if it wasn’t a bomb, it would have been arson. We are a nation sick with racism, refusing to seek comprehensive treatment, and black people are disproportionately suffering because of it.

Overcoming Charleston Tragedy

The Editors – USA Today

Enough racial hatred. Enough gun violence….

Since 2012 alone, America has lurched from one mass shooting to another. A dozen people gunned down at a Batman movie in Colorado. Six shot outside a Sikh temple in Wisconsin. And 20 young children, along with six adults, slaughtered at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn.

In Charleston, the nine victims ranged in ages from 26 to 87. Among them were a librarian and several pastors, including the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, an accomplished politician and civil rights leader….

The broader problem — more entrenched, more pernicious and more likely to eat away at the nation — is the racial animosity that still lurks in some quarters. African Americans have suffered its sting often in recent events. A series of unarmed black men, including one in North Charleston, S.C., have been killed by white police officers. And many African Americans have come to believe, a half-century after the civil rights movement took hold, that black lives still do not matter.

People attend a prayer vigil held at Morris Brown AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, June 18, 2015.  (Reuters)

People attend a prayer vigil held at Morris Brown AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, June 18, 2015. (Reuters)

Gun-free Zones an Easy Target for Killers

John R. Lott – Fox News

The horrible tragedy last night that left nine people dead at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C., probably could have been avoided. Like so many other attacks, the massacre took place in a gun-free zone, a place where the general public was banned from having guns. The gun-free zone obviously didn’t stop the killer from bringing a gun into the church.

Indeed, the circumstantial evidence is strong that these killers don’t attack randomly; they keep picking the few gun-free zones to do virtually all their attacks….

From last summer’s mass public killers in Santa Barbara and Canada, to the Aurora movie theater shooter, these killers made it abundantly clear in their diaries or on Facebook how they avoided targets where people with guns could stop them….

Case after case occurs where concealed handgun permit holders stop what would have been mass shootings. While many don’t get news coverage because the permit holder prevents people from being killed, some, such as the recent Georgia case, still don’t get coverage even when there are dead bodies.

After Charleston, Will America Finally Do Something About Guns?

 Eugene Robinson – The Washington Post

I wish we could eradicate racism and the delusion of white supremacy, but I don’t know how. Is there a difference between setting the church on fire in 1822 and spraying the pews with gunfire nearly two centuries later? The context is vastly altered, of course — today, a multiracial, multicultural city is united in grief. Yet the racist impulse, however diminished, endures.

I wish we could better address issues of mental health, too….

What we can do, if we have the will, is make it harder for those who want to kill innocents to obtain firearms. After 20 young children and six adults were massacred at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., Congress took up two modest pieces of legislation: a ban on military-style assault weapons, which no hunter needs; and a requirement for universal background checks before buying guns. Both had overwhelming public support. Neither became law.

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