Another White non-Terrorist Kills 9, Makes Bomb Threats

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –

Update: Suspected shooter Dylann Roof has been apprehended. He had a gun with him at the time. It is being alleged that he wore Apartheid South Africa flag, complained of African-Americans raping, taking over US. So, then, it was political and indubitably terrorism.

Police in Charleston, S.C. have termed the shooting deaths of at least 9 people at a black church by a young 21-year-old white man Wednesday night a “hate crime.” The perpetrator also made a bomb threat against the downtown. The shootings took place at the historic Emanuel AME Church, which played a key role in the Civil Rights movement. Although the fact that the police knew the man’s age suggests they also knew his identity, it wasn’t revealed Wednesday night.

South Carolina Nikki Haley, herself of Indian origin, was criticized for her Facebook posting,

“Nikki Haley

Michael, Rena, Nalin and I are praying for the victims and families touched by tonight’s senseless tragedy at Emanuel AME Church. While we do not yet know all of the details, we do know that we’ll never understand what motivates anyone to enter one of our places of worship and take the life of another. Please join us in lifting up the victims and their families with our love and prayers.”

Given that Gov. Haley has supported flying the Confederate flag from the statehouse, here incomprehension provoked a good deal of derision:

South Carolina has one of the biggest African-American populations, proportionally, of any state in the nation, at about a third of the roughly 4 million residents. Some 73 percent of whites there believe that the Confederate flag should fly not just on the grounds of the statehouse but above its dome, as used to be the case a decade ago. 61% of African-Americans disagreed. African-Americans see the flag as a defense of slavery and racism, while South Carolinian whites see it as a way of honoring the war dead on their side in the Civil War.

Another observer responded on Twitter:

In other kinds of terrorist attacks, you don’t typically hear such fatalistic pronouncements. Officials don’t say, well, we’ll just never understand why they do these things. They say we know why they attack, it is because they hate our values, and we now have to spend trillions of dollars to combat them. This guy in Charleston obviously hates American values. But the governor is just urging resignation. No one will call for a ‘war on hate crimes.’

CNN called the shooter a “gunman.” I complained about this wimpy diction in my “Top Ten differences between White Terrorists and Others”.

This was obviously an act of terrorism, which is what it would have been called if carried out by a non-white person. There was even a bomb threat! Terrorism can also be a hate crime if conducted on an ethnic basis. Middle Easterners had no difficulty seeing the resemblance between this racial violence and the religious/ethnic violence in their region:

Observers wondered why cable news did not go into its 24/7 *there is only one story* mode at this news, which broke around 9 pm. Fox Cable News aired a long interview with Donald Trump.

And, wait for it…

CBSN “Shooting reported in Charleston church”

41 Responses

  1. So true!! I want to know who controls what gets particular airtime. It is always “mental illness” when the man is white. Take for instance the man who wreaked havoc at that police station. It was “over a child custody incident,” not terrorism.

  2. The media is 100% to blame for people’s misconceptions of Islam. I can’t even blame people for believing what they see on the news, with the constant onslaught of coverage, it unfortunately changes your perceptions on a subconscious level even if you are open-minded and educated.

    • So if TV is useless for accurate information, why not just turn it off? I shut mine down five years ago and have not missed it at all. It’s very liberating!

      • Michael, you can’t wave your magic wand and make everyone else turn off TV. TV remains a huge part of the problem despite you personally opting out. I opt out. But you can’t blame others for not doing so. Do you have an actually relevant point?

  3. This episode is in the the classic American tradition of violence – get a gun and start shooting people. Except for Ft Hood, the domestic “terrorists”, aka any Muslim angered to violence, have not been following along.

    Maybe that’s because the FBI creates and channels their presumed terrorists to do the exotic with bombs and such.

  4. Shakila Khalje

    Sure! He will be mostly called a mass murderer at worst! But terrorizing a place of peace and worship with a particular group of folks and murdering them is not considered an act of terror if not committed by a Muslim.

  5. Paul Wilson

    I’ve already heard CNN refer to him as a terrorist, as well as many news outlets outside of the Fox News-bubble. CNN pundits even reminded people that “this terrorist attack killed more people than the Boston bombing.”, so progress in labelling, or at least some.

  6. Facts are facts the conservative South is at it still, love of guns, hatred of non whites, stupidity! Turns my stomach such self righteous rederic!

  7. Lamice Abed Denton

    My heart aches for all of the victims & their families. Churches are supposed to be safe havens. I am very troubled that his Father bought him a gun for his 21st Birthday. Knowing his son had psychological issues.

  8. Why are people so exasperated with the Orwellian language applied to this incident? The dominant and loudest voices in the United States have been talking out of both sides of their mouths for generations.

    Fortunately, Governor Haley has the answer, “Please join us in lifting up the victims and their families with our love and prayers.” Just as soon as I click on the “Post Comment” key I’ll get down on my knees and join you Governor Haley in prayer. And I’ll also pray that no more dipstick fathers give their emotionally-troubled kids .45 caliber guns for a birthday present.

  9. There is another question that I have not heard asked. Where was our famed Homeland Security? Aren’t they supposed to stop “Terrorists”. Or is it only Muslim terrorists that they go after? Have they baited any would be white racists, or do they only do that to Muslims? With all their surveillance do they ever attempt to pick up on non-Muslim terrorism? Guess not! What a waste of money, what incompetence, what a violation of our right of privacy, and all for nothing.

    • When Homeland Security’s experts issue warnings about white right-wing terror, they are immediately attacked by the GOP in Congress. The GOP is the Sinn Fein of white terror.

  10. Wait — this wasn’t a parking dispute? I thought that was the operative excuse for anytime a white guy kills members of an ethnic/racial/religious minority and we want to excuse it away.

    This is terrorism. He intends to intimidate/frighten an innocent civilian population (African-Americans) on behalf of a larger ideology (white supremacy). How is this not terrorism?

    I think it is now time that (white people) give up (their) liberty in exchange for (my perceived) security. After all, isn’t that how we have done it for the past 14 some years?

  11. This latest atrocity is “breaking news”? In the grand scheme of American history it probably won’t even register as a footnote in most history books. The few honest history books, such as Howard Zinn’s “Peoples History of the United States” are replete with records of much more abominable massacres. How about the ethnic cleansing of the Native American population? How about the workers who died as a consequence of deplorable working conditions in factories, mills and mines? How about the hundreds of thousands slaughtered in the Spanish-American War and making Central America safe for United Fruit and Wall Street? How about the countless dead and maimed in Panama, the Balkans and the Middle East as a consequence of orders from Papa Bush, Bill Clinton, Dubya and now Obama? How about the recurring slaughters of innocent Gazans endorsed by the moral wretches in Congress? Those non-white victims don’t count? Then how about the naive young and white American men and women whose lives were sacrificed in vain in those wars?

    • Geez. you sound like a Communist. You mean America has to practice what it preaches? No way!

    • Biil Bodden, yes, yes. We all know about what you’re talking about. Gaza, Balkans, Central America. All truly tragic and all too horribly true. But an atrocity is still an atrocity. And for you to argue otherwise is regressive, counterproductive, and bizarrely contrary and without good reason. The readers at this blog know all this stuff you’re talking about and have it in perspective. YOU are the one who has lost perspective. The Charleston shooting is an atrocity, both in and of itself, and especially now in the long and lengthening line of similar atrocites across the country these last especially six or so years, by cops or ordinary civilians. Please keep up! Find a place that could use your political erudition and use it, appropriately, there.

      • Larry: It appears you missed my point that most people will forget this horrible event and go along with something like Obama’s dismissive line about “that’s not who we are” or “these are not our values” and we are really all good and virtuous people. We do have lots of good and virtuous people, but most of us need reminders many among us are not and that has been the case for a long time. Americans are notoriously deficient in history and their being exposed to a modest measure of erudition might help. Perspective is another way of looking at this event. Then there is:

        ‘No Way To Prevent This,’ Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens link to

  12. Too much madness & stupidity & the result is violence. Let us all sincerely pray for peace.

  13. This kid looks so young, he’s a few years away from shaving every day. Where did all this hatred come from? He murdered nine people in a church, six of them were women. The killer looks like a kid, not an adult.

    Why would anybody shoot black women in a church?

  14. Charleston shooting: Five charts that show the ugly truth about hate crimes: Hate crime rate remains steady and blacks remain the racial group most likely to experience racially-motivated violence by Christopher Ingraham – link to

  15. The right wing has organized a circle-jerk where its followers try to terrrorize each other with lies about blacks. The leaders do this to ensure that they will all march together and swamp state and midterm elections and gain the means to disenfranchise everyone different than themselves. But the understood risk is that one or two of the followers will actually take the dare to go on a violent offensive against the un-Americans. So the corporate media brands them as lone wolves to keep the game going, the rest of the circle lies about their own responsibility for creating this environment, and the country keeps lurching further rightward. As long as the ratio of evil voters to evil shooters is high enough, the former will get far more black people starved to death, shot by cops, or given cancer by polluters than all the lone wolves ever could.

    Hey, it worked on abortion.

    • Exactly, super390. There are studies proving what you’ve described. It’s a well-known strategy of a venal majority.

  16. The worlds full of madness….from all sides …a pity that one must blame our failures on each other ..never seeing the forest for the trees

  17. Time to get a dictionary and look up what “terrorist” means

    • In our Orwellian world, “terrorist” means whatever politicians, media pundits and other propagandists want it to mean. Same goes for many other words.

  18. Very ironic that due to the special legislation and physical design of the confederate flag flying at the S.C. capitol, it CAN’T be lowered out of respect as their other flags currently are. It flies high and flies in the face of decency, it’s advocates never considering it should ever show respect for life.

    • Good point, John. As you said, it has never shown respect for life. It even demeaned those who originally followed it. Those who still do are even further devolved and debased. Ignorance retreats nowhere but deeper and deeper into itself.

  19. Flying the Confederate flag is the same as flying a swastika .

  20. According to the Italian philosopher Agamben genuine civil wars begin in the family and eventually spill and take over the wider society. From this theory one might extrapolate backwards to the family that brought forth the civil war insurgent, the tyrant (a la Stalin), or the more quotidian social ‘monster’ that is the mass/stranger killer (Roof) and conclude that an essential paradox is at work: the subconscious taboo against lethal filial violence is still too strong to allow such violence to emerge against the familial order/leadership itself, while other intra-familial factors/dynamics are too weak to prevent it from being redirected and vented by the (self)-tormented subject externally against those least like the taboo-protected family: i.e. other classes, sects, races etc…Ultimately, and especially in the case of classical civil wars and revolutions, those most disposed/pre-selected for arbitrary or easiest lethality may eventually close the circle by returning to the original family and taking direct vengeance on it (e.g. Stalin). The application of this theory seems particularly apt in the case of Western jihadists, who seem pre-selected for extremely facile commissions of violence precisely because in an insurgent (take-no-prisoners) war such individuals no longer have to repress the accumulated pathological violence they harbored against core family and can express it in the neo-ideologically non-taboo contexts of ‘holy’ insurgencies and civil wars; this might also explain the desire to create new families incorporating persons from places remote from their original families–such new families being most likely to remain disconnected and hence ‘unmolested’ by the aforesaid.

  21. When the Birmingham church bombing occurred in 1964, no one was stupid enough to believe that the bomber was an atheist. It was no secret who the murderers in the South were, and how they were the agents of a ideology that permeated the socioeconomic power structure. Now everyone has learned to lie to themselves.

  22. The massacre of nine good and decent citizens in Charleston was a cowardly and dastardly act that will be made more despicable when the course of events that follow will most likely render these deaths, like many others before them, in vain.

    How many massacres over the last ten, twenty or thirty years do average, or even above-average, American citizens remember? Or, conversely, how many have they forgotten? How about the 1984 massacre at a McDonald’s in San Diego that took the lives of 21 people? How about the 1966 slaughter of 16 people by a sniper in the tower at the University of Texas in Austin? How many people pass that tower every day without giving this tragedy a thought?

    How about the Pentagon’s revision of the history of the Vietnam War in which their hired historians referred to the My Lai Massacre as the “”My Lai Incident”? After protests this distortion was revised, still somewhat innocuously, to “American Division Kills Hundreds of Vietnamese Citizens at My Lai.” The uninformed will conclude that is the way wars go. Maybe assume it was an American victory.

    If Sandy Hook (20 school children and six staff members) didn’t make a meaningful national impact, what are the prospects for some enlightened consequence resulting from Charleston? Removal of the offensive Confederate battle flag from the state capitol grounds would be a small step in the right direction but one not likely to be taken.

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