Tragedy at Emanuel AME...again.
June 18, 2015 4:50 AM   Subscribe

At least nine people are dead in a shooting at Charleston, South Carolina's historic Emanuel AME church. Among the victims is Clementa Pinckney, church pastor and SC state senator. The gunman sat with the church for a while before shooting, and told a survivor that he was letting her live so she could tell the story.

Emanuel AME is the oldest black church in the southern U.S. One of the founders, Denmark Vesey, was a man of incredible historic significance, having plotted a slave rebellion in 1822. When the plot was discovered, Vesey and 34 others were hanged, and Emanuel was burned. Though it was rebuilt, Charleston outlawed black churches in 1834, and the church met secretly until the Civil War ended.

Emanuel has remained a prominent voice of black American Christians. It was visited by Martin Luther King.
posted by Pater Aletheias (1170 comments total) 50 users marked this as a favorite
 
.........

From Cornell William Brooks, NAACP President & CEO:

The NAACP was founded to fight against racial hatred and we are outraged that 106 years later, we are faced today with another mass hate crime. Our heartfelt prayers and soul-deep condolences go out to the families and community of the victims at Charleston’s historic Emanuel AME Church. The senselessly slain parishioners were in a church for Wednesday night bible study. There is no greater coward than a criminal who enters a house of God and slaughters innocent people engaged in the study of scripture. Today I mourn as an AME minister, as a student and teacher of scripture, as well as a member of the NAACP.

(emphasis mine)
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 4:55 AM on June 18, 2015 [15 favorites]


What the ever-loving fuck? Words completely fail me.
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And an extra thought for everyone who will feel less safe today.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 4:59 AM on June 18, 2015 [20 favorites]


How is this not domestic terrorism? Yeah, I know they are treating it as a hate crime, but that's assuming that it is one aberrant person rather than an entire system of behavior and belief.
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:04 AM on June 18, 2015 [65 favorites]


I wish they had called this terrorism; "hate crime " sounds too weak for the enormity of the act.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:05 AM on June 18, 2015 [30 favorites]


Terrorism.
posted by entropone at 5:06 AM on June 18, 2015 [13 favorites]


Scary stuff. I wonder if the shooter is part of an organized group or acting independently?
posted by theorique at 5:06 AM on June 18, 2015


. . . . . . . . .
posted by grumpybear69 at 5:08 AM on June 18, 2015


Horrible act of terrorism.

.........

Its going to be interesting to see what happens next.
posted by cashman at 5:11 AM on June 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


A hate crime is beating up a black person to put them in their place. This is a military attack on unarmed innocents for political ends. Terrorism.
posted by Slap*Happy at 5:12 AM on June 18, 2015 [58 favorites]


That's a pretty distinct hair cut the alleged shooter has, should be easy to pinpoint him.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:13 AM on June 18, 2015


Whatever mental illness the shooter may or may not have had, the choice of target was clearly determined by white supremacist history, discourse, and politics, so yes -- white supremacist terrorism, undoubtedly. I hope they find the shooter soon.

.........
posted by demonic winged headgear at 5:15 AM on June 18, 2015 [10 favorites]


"I wish they had called this terrorism; 'hate crime' sounds too weak for the enormity of the act."

It won't stop there -- as soon as it's established that it was undeniably motivated by racism, then we'll get the "depraved madman, doesn't signify anything" propaganda blitz. Governor Haley was sure to set the message right from the outset: "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."

So even when we do know the details, we'll "never know" what this is about. No clue. Meanwhile, if a Muslim person talks loudly on a plane it's a terrorist incident and a product of a murderous burgeoning global ideology. But white people killing black people and men killing women? That's just, you know, shit that happens. It's a big fucking cosmic mystery.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 5:18 AM on June 18, 2015 [286 favorites]


Tragedy? An Earthquake is a tragedy. This is cold-blooded murder.

And the name was "Pinckney" with two "n"s which IIRC is a very old and distinguished name in Charleston. (Mods please fix that.) RIP good sir.

I don't know if coward is the right word, but I hope this killer is quickly apprehended - although I see that FBI seems to be having trouble in that department.

I think it's hard to call it terrorism if it isn't connected to any political goals and I guess we have to wait to find out more about the killer, but I see that prejudiced conclusions are already being drawn which fit the preferred narrative so facts which have yet to be discovered won't get in the way.

Charleston is a lovely town full of lovely people and my heart goes out to the city and its residents.
posted by three blind mice at 5:25 AM on June 18, 2015 [6 favorites]


Today I Learned: Whites who kill blacks are never motivated by racism.
posted by tommasz at 5:26 AM on June 18, 2015 [20 favorites]




To all the politicians peddling the "We will never understand how and why this happened" (so far, Nikki Haley and Bobby Jindal)...we know exactly how, and why. Your disingenuous sentiments are neither needed nor welcome. Go back to courting your gun loving, racist base.
posted by sallybrown at 5:28 AM on June 18, 2015 [35 favorites]


From Talking Points Memo, a speech from state Sen. Clementa C. Pinckney at Mother Emanuel about the church's history.

Dear God, what loss. .........
posted by MonkeyToes at 5:28 AM on June 18, 2015 [8 favorites]


So very tired of the predictable route that this is taking (and will continue to take) in the media. I mean, I guess it's an improvement that they're at least willing to call it a hate crime this time?

America does not have a race problem. America does not have a gun violence problem. There is no war in Ba Sing Se.
posted by specialagentwebb at 5:28 AM on June 18, 2015 [5 favorites]


Reading Baldwin today:

"Please try to remember that what they believe, as well as what they do and cause you to endure does not testify to your inferiority but to their inhumanity."

And also this:

"I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain."
posted by anotherpanacea at 5:31 AM on June 18, 2015 [71 favorites]


[Changed the spelling, thanks.]
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane (staff) at 5:32 AM on June 18, 2015




From someone commenting on that tweet about the flags: "factually incorrect. That picture is a decade or more old. Our capital is in Columbia, where that picture was taken."
posted by _Mona_ at 5:38 AM on June 18, 2015 [7 favorites]


Governor Haley was sure to set the message right from the outset: "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."

"Cant make this up: S. Carolina governor who defends flying confederate flag at statehouse can't understand what motivates someone to do this "

I think it's hard to call it terrorism if it isn't connected to any political goals and I guess we have to wait to find out more about the killer, but I see that prejudiced conclusions are already being drawn which fit the preferred narrative so facts which have yet to be discovered won't get in the way.

Huh. TIL that racism is not a political goal, and several centuries of years of institutional and individual acts of terrorism against black people are just "prejudiced conclusions" for a "preferred narrative."
posted by zombieflanders at 5:39 AM on June 18, 2015 [34 favorites]


i agree that this is terrorism.
my brief foray into wikipedia also told me that there is not an internationally agreed upon definition of terrorism.

however, the US has a defintion for domestic terrorism.

Definitions of domestic terrorism


The statutory definition of domestic terrorism in the United States has changed many times over the years; also, it can be argued that acts of domestic terrorism have been occurring since long before any legal definition was set forth.

According to a memo produced by the FBI's Terrorist Research and Analytical Center in 1994, domestic terrorism was defined as "the unlawful use of force or violence, committed by a group(s) of two or more individuals, against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives."[2]

Under current United States law, set forth in the USA PATRIOT Act, acts of domestic terrorism are those which: "(A) involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State; (B) appear to be intended— (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and (C) occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States."[3]
posted by sio42 at 5:40 AM on June 18, 2015 [6 favorites]


Mark Sanford: "This is out of character for Charleston..."

#WalterScott
posted by sallybrown at 5:40 AM on June 18, 2015 [9 favorites]


And the media has already started the "mentally unstable lone wolf" narrative.
posted by rmd1023 at 5:40 AM on June 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


For those who, like me, were not familiar with it: AME means the church is African Methodist Episcopal.
posted by harriet vane at 5:42 AM on June 18, 2015 [4 favorites]


I think it's hard to call it terrorism if it isn't connected to any political goals

From a NBC News report:
"You rape our women and you're taking over our country. And you have to go," Johnson said the survivor recalled.
That seems like a pretty clear and direct statement of the shooter's political intentions to me.
posted by metaquarry at 5:42 AM on June 18, 2015 [107 favorites]


And the media has already started the "mentally unstable lone wolf" narrative.

*ahem*
posted by Fizz at 5:44 AM on June 18, 2015


It's positively kabuki-esque in rigid performance formula.
posted by rmd1023 at 5:46 AM on June 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 5:51 AM on June 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


Y'know what? Fine. He's a "mentally unstable lone wolf". Now give me a reason why St. Ronnie's (and every idiot that followed him on office that didn't think differently) decision to close down mental health institutions wasn't a complete fuck-up on domestic security issues. Go on, I'm waiting.

Every time something like this happens, it get blamed on psychiatric/psychological issues, even when it's a blatant terrorist attack with a clear agenda like this. Yet, there's still a huge taboo when it comes to mental health.
posted by lmfsilva at 5:54 AM on June 18, 2015 [33 favorites]




And the media has already started the "mentally unstable lone wolf" narrative.
posted by rmd1023 at 5:40 AM on June 18 [+] [!]


In its security studies/law enforcement usage, "lone wolf" actually means a type of terrorist.
posted by Bwithh at 5:57 AM on June 18, 2015 [14 favorites]


Today I Learned: Whites who kill blacks are never motivated by racism.

...and certainly not racism reinforced every day by the media that is also making bank reporting on it.
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:59 AM on June 18, 2015 [4 favorites]


In its security studies/law enforcement usage, "lone wolf" actually means a type of terrorist.
posted by Bwithh at 5:57 AM on June 18 [+] [!] Need to fix a typo? Edit


And the roots of the usage comes from the US white supremacist movement (and FBI investigations of it), IIRC
posted by Bwithh at 5:59 AM on June 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


Oy. My girlfriend wanted to drive up to Charleston this weekend. I'm glad I didn't book a room. This is beyond terrible.
posted by dortmunder at 6:02 AM on June 18, 2015


Police say the suspect, pictured in the surveillance photograph above, sat in on a prayer group at the Emanuel AME Church for at least an hour before initiating the shooting.

Jesus wept. This particular detail--the welcome and unquestioning fellowship he must have received, regardless of how out of place (not just because of race) he must have presented--is heart shattering.
posted by blue suede stockings at 6:04 AM on June 18, 2015 [62 favorites]


give me a reason why St. Ronnie's decision to close down mental health institutions wasn't a complete fuck-up on domestic security issue

Because deinstutionalisation was a global trend during the 1980s, and has mostly been thought of as a great success, because there's precious little evidence that any mass murders have been committed by people mentally ill enough to need hospitalization, because hatred is the vast majority of the driving force behind this kind of attack rather than any mental health or (more likely) social work need, because the number needed to treat to avoid an incident like this would be astronomically high, etc, etc.

This is a society which tolerates hatred and violence issue, not a society which doesn't look after the ill or maladjusted issue.

. . . . . . . . .
posted by ambrosen at 6:10 AM on June 18, 2015 [21 favorites]




That's a pretty distinct hair cut the alleged shooter has, should be easy to pinpoint him.

Am I completely misreading that picture or does the shooter have a 90's middle school bowl cut?
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:13 AM on June 18, 2015 [6 favorites]


I keep thinking about the fact that the killer didn’t wait around for the cops, but calmly left the scene. What future does he envision?
posted by gerryblog at 6:13 AM on June 18, 2015


:_:
posted by Annika Cicada at 6:14 AM on June 18, 2015


Y'know what? Fine. He's a "mentally unstable lone wolf".

It needn't be either/or: the perp can be a madman and a racist scumbag. Anyway, this catastrophe is too sickening for me to want to chat about on a website. My prayers are with the members of Emanuel AME, their families, and the family of Senator Pinckney. Pray for us all.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:18 AM on June 18, 2015 [10 favorites]


I keep thinking about the fact that the killer didn’t wait around for the cops, but calmly left the scene. What future does he envision?

Dioxide by cop is the usual out for spree killers, I'm wondering if this asshole thinks he's something else.
posted by Artw at 6:19 AM on June 18, 2015


And the media has already started the "mentally unstable lone wolf" narrative.

Could be a Phineas Action or somesuch.
posted by MikeMc at 6:19 AM on June 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


Again? I need a drink.
posted by adept256 at 6:21 AM on June 18, 2015


~That's a pretty distinct hair cut the alleged shooter has, should be easy to pinpoint him.
~Am I completely misreading that picture or does the shooter have a 90's middle school bowl cut?


The first thing that came to my mind when I saw that picture was "That's a crappy wig".
posted by Thorzdad at 6:23 AM on June 18, 2015 [12 favorites]


I'm just sick of stories of white men pointing guns at unarmed black people. That particular American storyline has to end.
posted by maxsparber at 6:23 AM on June 18, 2015 [40 favorites]


Yeah. I assume that some number of these racist terrorists want to ignite the sheeple to turn to the side of white supremacy and take up the cause of their RaHoWa racial holy war and everyone will live whitely ever after as foretold in the Turner Diaries.

Or maybe just keep those black folks from being so uppity as to exist in the country of their birth.
posted by rmd1023 at 6:23 AM on June 18, 2015




I'm just sick of stories of white men pointing guns at unarmed black people. That particular American storyline has to end.

It's the price we've decided to pay.

School shooting, workplace shootings, church shootings, random shootings are what we, as a society, have decided are less important than gun control. Chicago can barely tally their shootings: Weekend shootings.

It's gross and disgusting and I hope they catch this guy and he spends the rest of his life in prison, but to pretend people are going to stop killing each other with guns isn't realistic.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:33 AM on June 18, 2015 [14 favorites]


Hours after the massacre, Riley called for bolstered gun-control laws, saying: “I personally believe there are far too many guns out there, and access to guns, it’s far too easy. Our society has not been able to deal with that yet.”

Talk about burying the lede, putting this quote well under Haley's incomprehensibly obtuse and offensive statement.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 6:33 AM on June 18, 2015


And queue the people who will say it's "too soon" to have this discussion and the people who say "a tragedy is being politicized."
posted by cjorgensen at 6:35 AM on June 18, 2015 [21 favorites]


The other thing that strikes me about recent media coverage of tragedies like this is the glib use of the term "shooter" or "gunman" for the murder / terrorism suspect. It feels like yet another way the media soft-pedals these tragedies: shooters are your avatars in video games, and gunmen are as often as not the unsung heroes in westerns. This isn't an exciting or romantic story. The person who did this did is a murderer and a terrorist. Let's call him what he is.
posted by aught at 6:37 AM on June 18, 2015 [11 favorites]


The weird part about the 'mentally unstable lone wolf' narrative is that there is the implicit assumption that regular people act like a pack of normal wolves. You know preying on the young or elderly, sick or injured as a group, deliberately thinning herds, attacking from behind and aggressively excluding others from their territory.
posted by srboisvert at 6:37 AM on June 18, 2015 [18 favorites]


And queue the people who will say it's "too soon" to have this discussion and the people who say "a tragedy is being politicized."

No discussion needed. We already decided. We picked "guns".
posted by dances with hamsters at 6:37 AM on June 18, 2015 [4 favorites]


ambrosen: I asked (hypothetically, since I don't think the Blue has them) those who are quick to blame everything on mental issues, as opposed to the real underlying causes you mentioned. If they want to redirect blame, they should also hold responsible those who decided that all those mad people with guns don't have a place to go before pulling a trigger. Letting them say "heh, it's a madman, what can you do? *shrugs*" gives them a easy way out of real issues, like the "bad apples" to police apologists.
posted by lmfsilva at 6:37 AM on June 18, 2015


.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:38 AM on June 18, 2015


The other thing that strikes me about recent media coverage of tragedies like this is the glib use of the term "shooter" or "gunman" for the murder / terrorism suspect.

Know who else doesn't want them called shooters? The NRA.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:39 AM on June 18, 2015 [10 favorites]


The weird part about the 'mentally unstable lone wolf' narrative is that there is the implicit assumption that regular people act like a pack of normal wolves.

Because of it's origin in discussions of terrorism, the implicit assumption is actually that normal terrorists act like a pack of normal wolves.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 6:39 AM on June 18, 2015 [4 favorites]


Really don't see why anyone is assuming mental illness at this point. He hasn't been caught and hasn't done anything that would make people assume he's irrational. Racist, deadly, terrorist, sure. But the leap by the media to mental illness just looks like an excuse to downplay the hatred involved.
posted by harriet vane at 6:39 AM on June 18, 2015 [6 favorites]


Governor Haley was sure to set the message right from the outset: "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."

She's said that before, too.
posted by mittens at 6:40 AM on June 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


Am I completely misreading that picture or does the shooter have a 90's middle school bowl cut?
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:13 AM on June 18 [+] [!]


He looks like Adam Lanza. There's no way he's going to be at large for very long. Somebody out there knows exactly who he is.
posted by jayder at 6:40 AM on June 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


You know preying on the young or elderly, sick or injured as a group, deliberately thinning herds, attacking from behind and aggressively excluding others from their territory.

Well, to be honest there's a very large portion of Americans who do think like this.

Know who else doesn't want them called shooters? The NRA.

Who are themselves racist as fuck, and never challenged on it by their fellow travelers, usually because they're too busy being even more racist.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:41 AM on June 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


I've toyed with creating this page on my blog for a few days, but always thought it was too cynical. The Memphis church put me over the edge.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:41 AM on June 18, 2015 [16 favorites]


. . . . . . . . .
posted by killy willy at 6:43 AM on June 18, 2015


Please tell me South Carolina has the death penalty.

*checks*

It does. Good.
posted by jayder at 6:43 AM on June 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


From my understanding the term "lone wolf" did not originate as a descriptor for these types of terrorists so much as it was/is a term used and popularized by white supremacists themselves in promotional/advocacy literature in the 1990s. The term was then used by law enforcement to identify potential threats.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 6:43 AM on June 18, 2015


prediction: "lone wolf", self-radicalized, on the fringes of the Movement, no other actors.
Similar event within one year.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 6:45 AM on June 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


God, this sucks.

Again.

.
posted by Mooski at 6:46 AM on June 18, 2015


A friendly (older, white) man from Charleston who used to work sales in the South for my company told me a story a few years ago about showing co-workers visiting from other parts of the country around town. "Well, everybody wants to have some excellent barbecue, of course," he said matter-of-factly, "but I have to be careful which places I take folks to because, you know, a lot of the best barbeque places have Klan pamphlets and flyers out on the tables, and while us locals are used to it and just ignore that nonsense, you Yankees do get upset when they see that kind of thing." I was stunned and then, on second thought, disappointed in myself that I was so surprised both at the fact of it and his blase attitude.
posted by aught at 6:46 AM on June 18, 2015 [79 favorites]


. . . . . . . . .

Charleston is so full of ghosts.
posted by allthinky at 6:47 AM on June 18, 2015 [6 favorites]


I can't even with the question I just heard a CNN anchor ask - something like "Is it possible this is a hate crime based on religion rather than race?"

Are you fucking kidding me?
posted by sallybrown at 6:47 AM on June 18, 2015 [43 favorites]


Please tell me South Carolina has the death penalty.

*checks*

It does. Good.


let's kill more humans, that will stop people from devaluing human life
posted by Greg Nog at 6:48 AM on June 18, 2015 [161 favorites]


Please tell me South Carolina has the death penalty.

This is South Carolina. The perp is a skinny white guy with a bowl cut. I would put good money on him getting no more than 20 to life.
posted by fifthrider at 6:49 AM on June 18, 2015 [5 favorites]


Yeah CNN anchor... People really hate Methodists these says...
posted by sio42 at 6:50 AM on June 18, 2015 [7 favorites]


Know who else doesn't want them called shooters? The NRA.

I'm not sure if that was meant as some kind of "gotcha," telling the aging lefty that he's stumbled into the den of the right-wing enemy somehow, but I stand by my point, even if the NRA comes to a similar opinion from a different rhetorical route.
posted by aught at 6:50 AM on June 18, 2015 [4 favorites]


He'll get the death penalty.
posted by jayder at 6:52 AM on June 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


The whole leaving a witness to tell the world thing suggests that this guy thinks he is living in a comic book. I suspect he knows he's the villain but plans to die historic in an epic battle with Batman.
posted by Bringer Tom at 6:52 AM on June 18, 2015 [10 favorites]


I can't even with the question I just heard a CNN anchor ask - something like "Is it possible this is a hate crime based on religion rather than race?"

CNN's getting as bad as Fox. "Let's see if we can pin it on those amoral atheists!"
posted by aught at 6:52 AM on June 18, 2015 [6 favorites]


Whatever mental illness the shooter may or may not have had, the choice of target was clearly determined by white supremacist history, discourse, and politics

I just wanted to echo this point, as I try to think through this (and set aside my rage at our state government's response). One of the things that is so shocking and horrifying about this, to me, is having known mentally ill people around here (I'm in SC) who do somehow osmose the racism into their illness. Who have it as a framework. You can be mentally ill and choose to commit a hate crime and essentially be a terrorist. This ocean of racism we're drowning in makes it all possible at once.
posted by mittens at 6:53 AM on June 18, 2015 [20 favorites]


let's kill more humans, that will stop people from devaluing human life
posted by Greg Nog at 6:48 AM on June 18 [11 favorites +] [!]


Actually, the life of someone who walks into a church and kills nine people for no reason is not a life that we have any reason to value.
posted by jayder at 6:53 AM on June 18, 2015 [11 favorites]


> I suspect he knows he's the villain but plans to die historic in an epic battle with Batman.

No, it means he wants to make an easily understandable statement as a terrorist: black people, you will be killed in America, even if you're literally praying in your church.
posted by gilrain at 6:53 AM on June 18, 2015 [18 favorites]


But the leap by the media to mental illness just looks like an excuse to downplay the hatred involved.

I totally see this point but I think maybe the point lmfsilva is making (please forgive me if I'm wrong!) and, if not, the point I am going to make here, is that even if there is mental illness involved, that does not absolve us of our responsibility as a society. Being like "we're not racist, we just don't offer any support for people who are mentally ill!" does not actually make it okay (also this is still because of racism even if mental illness is also a part of it).

There are a lot of places where maybe something could have been done about this and it feels like this country has shrugged and said "fuck it, what can you do?" at every point:

1) Limiting access to guns -- "fuck it, what can you do?"
2) Providing mental health services -- "fuck it, what can you do?"
3) Protecting people of color -- "fuck it, what can you do?"
4) Holding anyone, police or otherwise, accountable for violence against people of color -- "fuck it, what can you do?"
5) Having a media which responds sensitively and appropriately by supporting victims and not glorifying perpetrators -- "fuck it, what can you do?"
6) Maybe just trying, as a society, not to be so God damn racist so people don't think it's okay or good to do stuff like this-- "fuck it, what can you do?"

Are any of these things easy? No, of course not! But that doesn't mean that the solution to these issues is to throw up our hands in dismay which seems to be what we're doing now. There are a lot of really bad things -- guns, racism, maybe mental health issues -- that came together to allow this to happen and we aren't really addressing any of them.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 6:54 AM on June 18, 2015 [103 favorites]


You only think there is a pattern of violence committed by whites against blacks because it keeps happening.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 6:54 AM on June 18, 2015 [40 favorites]


Actually, the life of someone who walks into a church and kills nine people for no reason is not a life that we have any reason to value.

I would appreciate you not "we" me into your shit moral philosophy, thanks
posted by Greg Nog at 6:56 AM on June 18, 2015 [123 favorites]


No, let him get life and then rot for several decades in a cell. Execution makes him a martyr.

The "it's about religion, maybe!" started on Fox, quit parroting their points CNN. And if this guy isn't some sort of Christian-flavored racist douchebag, I will eat my hat.
posted by emjaybee at 6:56 AM on June 18, 2015 [7 favorites]


For fuck's sake. These were real people who were killed in a terrorist attack. Can you wait until the fucking bodies are cold to impose your pro-death-penalty agenda on the discussion, jayder?

Same goes for people who want to talk about gun control and deinstitutionalization of people with mental illness, for what it's worth. Give it a rest. Now is not the time.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 6:59 AM on June 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


My family lives in South Carolina. Just yesterday I was talking with my mom--who is Hispanic--about the coming elections, the horrible racism that still spews out of SC, and how none of their politicians seem to care. It's a long shot, but I'm hoping those assholes will start to care now.
posted by Kitteh at 6:59 AM on June 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


I wonder if the police actually can find him. I could be wrong, but I think this is one of the first mass attacks where the individual didn't wait for a suicide by cop. So really they're dependent on friends of the guy turning him in, which is always a crapshoot.
posted by corb at 7:00 AM on June 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


Expanding on my point five above, one of the problems I think really is how stuff like this is reported. People who study these issues have made it clear that in reporting we should be talking about the victims, not the perpetrator, because we end up glorifying them by discussing them which serves as an inspiration to others even when we think we are portraying them in a negative light (like how there's no such thing as an anti-war movie).

In this case, Black people were shot and killed, but of course once again we're all talking about the White asshole we did it. If you want to be famous and have people study you and talk about you on the news and be in awe of you and have lengthy conversations about your motivations, it's clear that the easiest way to do that is to commit an act of horrific violence because everyone will be fascinated by you. Instead of talking about the innocent (Black) people who suffered and died and deserve our love and support, everyone focuses on this douchebag and there are pictures of him everywhere and people try to learn more about him. Not only is it really horrible that in a situation where nine Black people died we are talking primarily about the White person who did it, it also means a tragedy like this is more likely to happen again.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 7:01 AM on June 18, 2015 [49 favorites]


Somewhere George Orwell writes - to paraphrase - that if extreme hatred and resulting pathological behavior are proof in themselves of mental illness, then extreme generosity and resulting socially beneficial behavior are also proof of mental illness, since both are defined by their extreme deviations from the norm and unusual understanding of self-interest/self-preservation.

What strikes me is that even if the "commit violence by yourself against strangers and then either be killed or imprisoned for life" part is somehow emerging from delusion and illness, the belief that Black lives don't matter and violence against Black people is totally acceptable is widespread and deep-rooted and no more a product of illness than any other set of beliefs.

If we as a society really believed that racist violence was a product of mental illness and that people who committed it were ill and in need of treatment, we would handle it very differently (and it would probably be much rarer, because a society like that would have ways to identify and treat mental illness generally before people had any kind of crisis, whether violent or not). So yeah, if everyone who commits racist violence is ill and needs treatment, then we need to be treating a lot of cops and teachers and ordinary people on the street, and we need a substantial body of work about how to diagnose and treat the kinds of illness that give rise to racist violence. I don't think this is an accurate understanding of the world, but I could believe in a parallel universe situation where this was a real social norm. As it is, talk of "mental illness" is just a smokescreen for "we don't think this was that important in the grand scheme of things, really".

It's just utter shit. I keep thinking of this photo from the 1930s (I think - maybe twenties or early forties) of an NAACP office in a downtown, and they had a banner that they had made that they would hang out when there had been a lynching. It looked like a one of those church banners in the picture, and it said something like "A man was lynched today". (Which begs the question of what happened when women were killed, I guess.) But this is all just a continuation of those times. It's like no matter what has been done culturally or politically, we white people are never, ever willing to let our hatreds die; all that happens is it becomes a little less acceptable in certain periods to actually act on them, and then it all starts over.
posted by Frowner at 7:03 AM on June 18, 2015 [37 favorites]


I could be wrong, but I think this is one of the first mass attacks where the individual didn't wait for a suicide by cop.

Yeah, one of the things that screams "terrorist" to me about this story instead of the usual unhinged mass shooter narrative is that he got away. This seems a lot more like a Timothy McVeigh than a James Holmes.

I wonder if he's planning to do it again.
posted by Jacqueline at 7:05 AM on June 18, 2015 [6 favorites]


Same goes for people who want to talk about gun control and deinstitutionalization of people with mental illness, for what it's worth. Give it a rest. Now is not the time.

You are welcome to this opinion, of course, but this kind of discussion is one of the ways we try to prevent another tragedy from happening. It seems kind of insulting to the victims (and dangerous for future victims) NOT to have this conversation. For me at least, and I think for many others, we're not trying to push a political agenda, we are trying to think about ways that we can stop other people from dying in the future. I think it is always the time for that.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 7:05 AM on June 18, 2015 [32 favorites]


[A few comments deleted. Don't interrogate each other, and don't act surprised that some people think even murderers shouldn't be executed. Let's not make a painful thread more painful.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 7:06 AM on June 18, 2015 [6 favorites]


[A few more deleted. Let's not be posting names of suspects until they're confirmed. Thanks.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 7:09 AM on June 18, 2015 [5 favorites]


ArbitraryAndCapricious' second comment in the thread speaks for me.

.
posted by Gelatin at 7:09 AM on June 18, 2015


Mrs. Pterodactyl, those are good points. I wasn't specifically addressing lmfsilva, or anyone in here, more the mainstream media. But it's a fast-moving thread and I'm disgusted by yet more evidence of the severity of racism in the world so it probably came across harshly.

On preview, Frowner is doing better at my point than I did. I advocate for the mentally ill as part of my day job, and as a group they are about as racist as the general population and much less dangerous. The rush to a mental illness explanation when the shooter is white or Asian, but not when black or Middle Eastern, is just one indicator among many of the racist slant to the news.
posted by harriet vane at 7:10 AM on June 18, 2015 [5 favorites]


The FBI has confirmed the suspect is Dylann Roof, age 21, of the Columbia, SC area.
posted by sallybrown at 7:10 AM on June 18, 2015 [4 favorites]


Mrs. P, I understand what you're saying, but I think for most people it's a combination of trying to figure out why something happened, and in this case, because there's also an active manhunt.

Yeah, in this case these are really good points, although I wish when we tried to figure out why something happened we were willing to include "guns" and "racism" on the list of options.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 7:10 AM on June 18, 2015 [1 favorite]




The first link that comes up when you Google the name in question is to 4Chan's "Politically Incorrect" forum, so yeah, my gut says that's probably him.
posted by dortmunder at 7:10 AM on June 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


The lazy explanation of "mental illness" is a way of saying, "This action was not the logical consequence of a coherent (if evil) ideology. No ideology here, nosirreeeee..."

The ideology-that-must-not-be-named is white supremacy. White supremacy (and its handmaidens, misogyny and homophobia) runs so deep in this country that it is not even recognized as an ideology. It is an ideology that is internally consistent, and led to its own implied conclusions it results in violence.

I believe have to name it, over and over again, whenever it shows its face, in order to begin exorcising it. White supremacy. White supremacy. White supremacy.
posted by overeducated_alligator at 7:12 AM on June 18, 2015 [43 favorites]


I am...pleasantly surprised with the efficiency of the Federal government in this instance.
posted by corb at 7:12 AM on June 18, 2015 [7 favorites]


I get the sense that this guy might not have any friends to turn him in. I think if there's a chance that somebody recognizes him, it's probably going to be employees of businesses that he frequents. Back in my retail days, my coworkers and I used to speculate about which people among our more "eccentric" regulars and habitues might have been actual psychopaths or criminals of some sort. I wouldn't be surprised if this guy has a similar notoriety for being a "character" among service industry folks in his area.

On preview, looks like they have a name and a face. I wonder what his story is?
posted by Strange Interlude at 7:13 AM on June 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


Here is an example of what happens when we demure on the #BlackLivesMatter point.

Here is an example of what I now come to expect approximately once every two weeks, sometimes less, as a Black person in the US. I can expect that, aside from the less visible political and cultural policies that facilitate the "soft" deaths of people like me through discrimination and negligence, I will bear witness to multiple "hard" deaths such as those by white vigilantes and cops.

Here is an example of how our media narratives will effectively free this man from the burdens of his crimes.

Here is an example of why having the tools to discuss racism beyond men in pointy white hoods matters, and we need to redefine our shared understanding of what terrorism is.

Here is an example of why we need to privilege Black lives over white discomfort - to not obscure our national track record with crushing Black lives by folding it into pontifications about, say class warfare. Why we need to discuss race over and over and over and over and OVER again.

Even in a place of peace and mercy they were afforded none. I pray that the families of the people we lost can cling to each other and find healing. They will need it.
posted by Ashen at 7:13 AM on June 18, 2015 [122 favorites]


The kid grew up under a confederate flag and we're going to act all surprised about this. Take that fucking flag down, Haley.
posted by ftm at 7:15 AM on June 18, 2015 [47 favorites]


Was he carrying the gun in a fanny pack?
posted by srboisvert at 7:15 AM on June 18, 2015


The FBI has confirmed the suspect is Dylann Roof, age 21, of the Columbia, SC area.

That picture has him wearing (I believe) an apartheid era South African flag patch on his jacket, so that's definitely some evidence of motive, if it's him. (Not that there was any real doubt, obviously).
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 7:16 AM on June 18, 2015 [4 favorites]


Supreme Court holding just now: Holding: Texas's specialty license plate design constitutes government speech, and thus Texas was entitled to refuse to issue plates featuring the proposed Confederate Veterans' design
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:17 AM on June 18, 2015 [5 favorites]


The first link that comes up when you Google the name in question is to 4Chan's "Politically Incorrect" forum, so yeah, my gut says that's probably him.

I didn't even need to Google it. The grandiose "I'm letting you live to tell everyone what happened here" bullshit plus that bowlcut just screams /pol/. They're probably in an uproar right now.
posted by fifthrider at 7:17 AM on June 18, 2015


I get the sense that this guy might not have any friends to turn him in.

Eric Rudolph isn't too far in our past. That guy was running loose for years.

This guy's actions just made him a lot of friends with fellow white supremacists.
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:18 AM on June 18, 2015 [6 favorites]


So really they're dependent on friends of the guy turning him in, which is always a crapshoot.

If they thought he was an Arab they would shut down the city and then the county and then the state and search it inch by inch like they did with the Boston Marathon bomber.
posted by bukvich at 7:18 AM on June 18, 2015 [35 favorites]


I'm not sure if that was meant as some kind of "gotcha," telling the aging lefty that he's stumbled into the den of the right-wing enemy somehow, but I stand by my point, even if the NRA comes to a similar opinion from a different rhetorical route.

As one aging lefty to another it wasn't intended as a "gotcha."

I can see how it reads that way because I was too clever by half in my sentence structure.

I was just pointing out that by making the argument you shouldn't call a shooter a shooter you are making the same argument as the NRA. I find it rhetorically valuable to rub it in their noses. If word usage is what offends them about these killings then I am going to use that word. Fuck those guys. This guy didn't hug these people to death, or even stab them. He shot them.

I have no problem with calling them murderers and terrorists. That's what they are, but I also think doing so minimizes the tools used in the attack. This is another argument that's often made with gun control. "He would have just done it anyway. He's a murderer. He would have used a knife or bomb if he didn't have a gun." And by refusing to call him a gunman or shooter I think it capitulates to that argument. He didn't use a knife or bomb. He used a gun.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:18 AM on June 18, 2015 [11 favorites]


.
posted by Iridic at 7:18 AM on June 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


The apartheid South Africa flag is as close to swearing out the "I'm a racist and I'm doing this because I'm a racist" affadavit as you could get. I wonder if it will matter to the press.
posted by gerryblog at 7:18 AM on June 18, 2015 [23 favorites]


That picture has him wearing (I believe) an apartheid era South African flag patch on his jacket, so that's definitely some evidence of motive, if it's him.

The two flags are the (Union of) South Africa and Rhodesia. Not exactly the kind of countries you would associate yourself with if you liked black people.
posted by Thing at 7:19 AM on June 18, 2015 [26 favorites]


And before we start delving into this guy's life (inevitable) I wanted to engage Mrs. Pterodactyl's point more. When these things happen, focusing on the lives of those taken is part of the grieving process, and that's painful and sad, and people mostly shy away from such things (I am putting myself in this camp). The messed up story of a killer, by contrast, is also usually sad but contains drama and has an unresolved outcome, so we are drawn to talk about it and speculate on their motives and so on.

I'm not sure how to defeat this part of ourselves, and be more noble in our approach to tragedy. We want to know why something happened, and the victims can't tell us. So we focus on the perpetrator. Later, we'll analyze their family, their history, our society's role in shaping them (that's where racism and guns should, but probably won't, be our main emphasis). All the while the media circus of speculation is going on around the legitimate investigation. And yes, the killer is the one whose name is remembered.
posted by emjaybee at 7:20 AM on June 18, 2015 [8 favorites]


Governor Haley was sure to set the message right from the outset: "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."

Sure we do.

Yes, of course this despicable act was terrorism.
posted by Gelatin at 7:20 AM on June 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


21 is so young. I don't even begin to know what makes someone that young have that much hatred.
posted by corb at 7:20 AM on June 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


A young white man being a raging racist idiot is hardly inexplicable . Raised in a racist state, middle name storm... I'm really not seeing a whole bunch of "I guess we'll never know" here.
posted by Artw at 7:24 AM on June 18, 2015 [27 favorites]


.........

I found this little bit bleakly amusing:

A white male was briefly detained at the Shell gas station at Meeting and Calhoun streets. Two loud pops were heard and a crowd of people rushed to the front of the gas station where police had the male on the ground and were handcuffing him...David Corrie, 21, of Ladson, said he was walking out of the store and the officers forced him to get down. He said the officers told him they were just doing their jobs, and he fit the description.

This sickens me, makes me sad and unfortunately feels kind of inevitable. As the linked This Modern World comic stated, we will have the occasional mass shooting and many smaller scale ones. The powers that be have decided that for the United States and that is not likely to change. Once you combine that with the perception that you can shoot black people and have minimal consequences/it is something done by the best members of the community, well, you get things like this.

Maybe I'm wrong. I hope to hell I'm wrong, because I truly hope to never see something like this again.
posted by Hactar at 7:25 AM on June 18, 2015


One of the founders, Denmark Vesey, was a man of incredible historic significance, having plotted a slave rebellion in 1822.

and

Yes, of course this despicable act was terrorism.

Well, this is South Carolina. To the powers that be and many of the citizens, Vesey is a terrorist and racist traitors are heroes. The reactions of Haley et al doesn't give me a whole lot of hope.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:25 AM on June 18, 2015 [12 favorites]



Gawker has a picture of him wearing the apartheid era flags of Rhodesia and South Africa on a jacket. Charming.
posted by dortmunder at 7:26 AM on June 18, 2015


Lindsey Graham: "There are bad people in this world who are motivated by hate. Every decent person has been victimized by the hateful, callous disregard for human life shown by the individual who perpetrated these horrible acts. Our sense of security and well-being has been robbed and shaken."
posted by mittens at 7:26 AM on June 18, 2015


Mrs. Pterodactyl : Thanks for putting it a lot better than I ever could. There are plenty of reasons why crap like this keeps happening with a chilling frequence. By allowing the opinion/decision makers an easy, unaccountable way out, nothing will ever change. Have to keep cornering them, until they run out of corners to hide.

and on preview because I'm typing slow today: harriet vane, I was aiming at the media - I'm not saying the guy is mentally dangerous until someone with a direct link to the suspect and a psy background says he is. As of news break, he was a (almost assuredly) racist, armed terrorist, and the media should treat him like that. If they want to bring mental health into the issue, like they did almost immediately, then they should press into why there are so many "mad men with guns" around. And I'm not talking Pete Campbell.
posted by lmfsilva at 7:27 AM on June 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


A young white man being a raging racist idiot is hardly inexplicable . Raised in a racist state, middle name storm... I'm really not seeing a whole bunch of "I guess we'll never know" here.

It's fascinating to note that his FB page friends list is dominated by POC, and a few hip-hop artists.

Who knows how well curated that is, or whatever - it's not conclusive by any means, drawing actual conclusions is stupid. But it's... unexpected.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 7:27 AM on June 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


And by refusing to call him a gunman or shooter I think it capitulates to that argument. He didn't use a knife or bomb. He used a gun.

Let's call him a "terrorist shooter" then. That gets both points across pretty well.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:27 AM on June 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


21 is so young. I don't even begin to know what makes someone that young have that much hatred.

Social isolation, circumscribed prospects, and the existence of a pre-existing ideological framework of supremacy and hatred. If you grow up thinking that you're better than other people, but at the same time aren't in the greatest situation yourself, your entire self-image is based on resentment and contradiction. Finding a scapegoat is the easy way to resolve that cognitive dissonance.

Same pattern everywhere and in every time.
posted by fifthrider at 7:28 AM on June 18, 2015 [43 favorites]


And yes, the killer is the one whose name is remembered.

I worked for a newspaper for 13 years. Every day I walked by this front page on my way to my office. That page made me proud to work there and know my work mattered.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:28 AM on June 18, 2015 [114 favorites]


The other thing that strikes me about recent media coverage of tragedies like this is the glib use of the term "shooter" or "gunman" for the murder / terrorism suspect.

Yes, Second Amendment supporters typically don't like this because "shooter" is morally neutral, and the whole point is that this is an identifiable "bad guy" scenario. If a cop or armed citizen had used deadly force to stop this guy, thus preventing deaths of innocents, the cop/citizen would also be a "shooter" but one who used deadly force to protect others. (You can also compare it to the wolf/sheepdog language used in law enforcement and first responder communities.)

LTCOL Dave Grossman has some writing and presentations about this distinction - essentially, don't call an active murderer a "shooter" because it's disparaging to the pro-social shooters who protect us.
posted by theorique at 7:32 AM on June 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


Shooter is basically going to be like all the other shooters, only moderatly more racism flavored in what is already a pretty racism flavored set. There's a production line of these uninteresting-outside-of-their-access-to-guns motherfuckers.
posted by Artw at 7:35 AM on June 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


> It's fascinating to note that his FB page friends list is dominated by POC, and a few hip-hop artists.

He probably can't get his hourly hit of foaming, racist hatred without a steady stream of innocent fuel from his victims. You don't become a racist by ignoring black people... at least, not an active, violent racist. You become a racist by hating them every day.
posted by gilrain at 7:35 AM on June 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


I've got NBC news streaming on the Roku and the unbelievable motherfuckers are discussing whether the Rhodesia and apartheid South Africa patches on the jacket of the guy who went into a black church and yelled about them raping white women and needing to die might indicate some kind of possible racial animus.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:35 AM on June 18, 2015 [72 favorites]


Every time something like this happens, it get blamed on psychiatric/psychological issues, even when it's a blatant terrorist attack with a clear agenda like this.

Even if you cannot ascribe an agenda to the killer, the fact that it's easier for a mentally ill person to get guns than it is to get meds is rooted in the political choices we as a society have made.
posted by jonp72 at 7:36 AM on June 18, 2015 [18 favorites]


btw, if the south african and rhodesian flags give you pause but you’re silent on the stars and bars, you might be frontin. -@bomani_jones
posted by DynamiteToast at 7:37 AM on June 18, 2015 [45 favorites]


For those wondering about Rhodesia and what significance it might have to some people in the US, here's a short history about foreign volunteers/mercenaries in the Rhodesian Bush War.
posted by Thing at 7:38 AM on June 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


You become a racist by hating them every day.

Yep, and by closely scrutinizing everything the object of your contempt says and does looking for any trace of more evidence to confirm your judgments of them. Same as we do to each other socially on Facebook or in any other aspect of our lives, only more obsessively and fueled by an intense conviction of your own superiority.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:38 AM on June 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


Unless the dead committed acts of hubris, thereby bringing nemesis upon themselves, this is not a tragedy but a crime.
posted by ocschwar at 7:39 AM on June 18, 2015 [15 favorites]


I am...pleasantly surprised with the efficiency of the Federal government in this instance.

They're certainly getting lots of practice with these types of incidents.

*sighs*
posted by Fizz at 7:39 AM on June 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


From the Post and Courier article:
Outside Medical University Hospital, the area trauma center where the wounded were taken, Jon Quil Lance stepped away from the building to smoke a cigarette and think about his grandmother, Ethel Lance, who he’d heard was shot in the church.

“I’m lost, I’m lost,” he said. “Granny was the heart of the family.” He said his grandmother had worked at the church for more than 30 years.

“She’s a Christian, hardworking; I could call my granny for anything. I don’t have anyone else like that.” He said he didn’t know her condition. “I don’t even know if she’s alive now.” He threw his hands up. “I don’t even know if my grandmother is alive.”

He paced up and down Ashley Avenue, and his thoughts gathered momentum. “What was this guy thinking? That dude shot a bunch of elderly people! Now people are going to be afraid to go to church. I don’t know what’s going to come of this. I’ll tell you this, I’m not the only one praying tonight.”

At 12:45 a.m., as word spread about the deaths, Lance fell to the ground and sobbed. “Somebody better get that (expletive).” A friend cradled him at the hospital’s entrance.

posted by emjaybee at 7:39 AM on June 18, 2015 [16 favorites]


News anchors are reaching spectacular heights of dumbness with their bullshit "insight" and speculation today. Chris Cuomo was wondering earlier if it was not a white guy but someone black in disguise.
posted by Artw at 7:40 AM on June 18, 2015 [7 favorites]


Every time something like this happens, it get blamed on psychiatric/psychological issues, even when it's a blatant terrorist attack with a clear agenda like this. Yet, there's still a huge taboo when it comes to mental health.

Is Extreme Racism a Mental Illness?

There's quite a bit of research out there in what it takes to be a racist and a lot of it points to the fact you have to have a fairly poor grasp of reality and a lack of empathy to be racist. Personally, I'm not sure I buy this as a mental health issue, but the two aren't inseparable.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:42 AM on June 18, 2015 [5 favorites]


No need share their stupidity with the rest of us.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:42 AM on June 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


essentially, don't call an active murderer a "shooter" because it's disparaging to the pro-social shooters who protect us

Gosh, we don't want to offend those folks.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 7:43 AM on June 18, 2015 [6 favorites]




I've been watching my twitter feed, and I really wish people would learn the word and.

This is a terrorist act AND a hate crime AND an assassination AND the act of a white separatist/supremacist. You don't need to pick one. All are true.

I mean, you are deep into White Supremacy if you're wearing a Rhodesian flag. Most Americans wouldn't recall where Rhodesia was, and certainly wouldn't remember who it was named after. But when you're wearing the old South Africa flag, the Rhodesian Flag, and the Confederate Battle Flag, you've made a very specific point about your opinions in race relations.

You clearly meant to kill a Senator if you sat in front of him for an hour, then deliberately shot him.

You clearly meant to invoke terror if you left one victim alive to make sure everyone knew that you did this deliberately.

Your hate is obvious.

This is an AND, not an exclusive OR.
posted by eriko at 7:43 AM on June 18, 2015 [153 favorites]


I'm going to be pretty surprised if the suspect lives to be arrested and prosecuted. This seems likely to end with him either offing himself or commiting suicide by cop.
posted by jayder at 7:44 AM on June 18, 2015


essentially, don't call an active murderer a "shooter" because it's disparaging to the pro-social shooters who protect us

Nah. Until the guns rights groups purge their leadership--or, hell, say a single goddamned word of protest--for supporting violence against women, PoC, LGBT folk, and others I'm not going to assume "shooter" should be free of those connotations.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:44 AM on June 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


Oh.

AND a shooter.

Since we're playing that game.
posted by eriko at 7:45 AM on June 18, 2015 [9 favorites]


For those wondering about Rhodesia and what significance it might have to some people in the US, here's a short history about foreign volunteers/mercenaries in the Rhodesian Bush War.

I remember reading somewhere that Soldier of Fortune magazine, which I remember being in almost any supermarket where I grew up in the 1970s, had a lot of material about white American volunteers for the Rhodesian government.
posted by jonp72 at 7:45 AM on June 18, 2015


If only we had a secret domestic spying program that could identify and stop these terrorists before they acted...
posted by cjorgensen at 7:46 AM on June 18, 2015 [46 favorites]


I get the sense that this guy might not have any friends to turn him in.

I found what I'm pretty sure is his Facebook page (not linking because I think that counts as doxxing under site policy?) and he's got a relatively low friend count (88 at the moment*) for a 21-year-old who went to high school in the US. Most people his age would have hundreds, just from the typical high schooler behavior of friending everyone you've ever met plus a bunch of people you haven't but who went to your school or whatever.

I'm also surprised by how many on his friends list appear to be black (23 at the moment*).

*I specify "at the moment" because there will probably be a mass-unfriending soon if for no other reason than to stop receiving messages from the media and others asking his Facebook "friends" about him.
posted by Jacqueline at 7:49 AM on June 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


only we had a secret domestic spying program that could identify and stop these terrorists before they acted...

We did have a surveillance program, until the same people who supposedly can't concieve of racial violence in a state that still flies the Confederate flag got upset that they were "unfairly" targeted. It was shut down just before another white supremacist shot up a Sikh temple. Coincidence, I'm sure.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:50 AM on June 18, 2015 [7 favorites]


From his Facebook page, it also looks like that bowl cut is indeed real and not a bad wig.
posted by Jacqueline at 7:51 AM on June 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


I found what I'm pretty sure is his Facebook page

Yeah, that FB page seems odd, wouldn't be surprised if it was plant or something else. Good idea not to link to it.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:54 AM on June 18, 2015


21 - old enough to learn the hate, too young to build up the life experience to learn that most of it is bullshit.
posted by King Sky Prawn at 7:58 AM on June 18, 2015


Re: his number of Facebook friends, shuffling through Reddit I learned that "88" is also a common neo-Nazi code for "Heil Hitler", H being the eighth letter.
posted by mr. digits at 7:58 AM on June 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


Yesterday was actually the anniversary of the beginning of the original slave revolt and reprisals. So this may well be VERY old-fashioned terrorism.
posted by anotherpanacea at 7:59 AM on June 18, 2015 [10 favorites]


It's fascinating to note that his FB page friends list is dominated by POC, and a few hip-hop artists.

One of the baffling things to me over the decades is trying to figure out how people who are bigoted can separate out people they are friends with who fall into the groups they have horrible stereotypes about and resentments against. I've seen this both with racism against blacks and hispanics as well as anti-semitism. If I pressed them on how they could tell a racist joke when (I knew from other blathering) they had a buddy or coworker who is part of the group being belittled or derided, I'd get responses like, "Well, my friend so-and-so is okay, he isn't one of THOSE [blacks/hispanics/Jews] who are like [x]!" I used to hear this kind of shit all the time from relatives (uncles / cousins) before I stopped wasting my time going to those kind of horrific extended family picnics and receptions (of which bigotry and sexism were of course only one aspect of the horrors to endure).

Short version - it doesn't surprise me in the least the murderer has black FB "Friends" -- and I bet some of them are friends and acquaintances outside FB in real life. In fact, nuts as it seems, it would surprise me if he didn't. People seem to be capable of tremendous feats of mental convolution and rationalization to prop up their petty irrational prejudices and hatreds.
posted by aught at 8:00 AM on June 18, 2015 [5 favorites]


[One comment deleted. Let's not derail onto the semantics of "shooter," thanks.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 8:02 AM on June 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think it's important to note that this guy did at least two things which are very atypical for an American mass murderer. (I suppose it says something about our culture that there is such a thing as a typical mass murderer, but here we are.)

He spent an hour with his victims-to-be before commencing the murder. This is very unusual. Most murderers distance themselves from or dehumanize their victims. Then he left a witness to tell the story. He didn't just not bother to conceal his identity. He wanted to make sure that there was someone to tell the story, because he knew he wasn't going to hang around to tell it to the police himself.

You just don't see those behaviors in real life. But there is one place you do see both of them -- the very first scene of Natural Born Killers.

I would suggest that if you want to know what's going to happen next you revisit that movie, because I have a strong feeling the killer was playing it in his head as he watched the church service. He sat there for an hour so that he could be fully invested in the story. It's the act of a scriptwriter who wants to make sure you are properly horrified and have nightmares about the scene.

I would guess that his real animus isn't so much racism as fame. His real purpose was to have everyone talking about him this morning. In that sense it is terrorism, but not for the most obvious purpose. He has scored his victory because we're all talking about him this morning. Racism makes a good narrative purpose though, like the overt motives of the not-terrorists in Die Hard.

It will be interesting to see whether his next move (and I will bet a large pile of pictures of Ben Franklin that there will be a next move, oh yes) continues this racial narrative or mixes it up. The patches and other hints suggest he might be more than shallowly invested in it, but then those are also the things a good director will stuff the frame with to make sure you get the point. Does he think he's the Punisher, meting some kind of consistent justice, or the Joker sowing chaos? Tune in to the sequel to find out I guess.
posted by Bringer Tom at 8:02 AM on June 18, 2015 [25 favorites]


Re: his number of Facebook friends, shuffling through Reddit I learned that "88" is also a common neo-Nazi code for "Heil Hitler", H being the eighth letter.

That part about 88 being a Neo-nazi thing is true, but his friends count was 89 when I looked at it earlier - and other reports have it at over 90. That number will likely continue to fall.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:02 AM on June 18, 2015 [4 favorites]


Short version - it doesn't surprise me in the least the murderer has black FB "Friends" -- and I bet some of them are friends and acquaintances outside FB in real life. In fact, nuts as it seems, it would surprise me if he didn't. People seem to be capable of tremendous feats of mental convolution and rationalization to prop up their petty irrational prejudices and hatreds.

"Oh, he's one of the GOOD ONES."

A lot of (closeted or not-so-closeted) racists seem to use Chris Rock's lines - "I've got no problem with BLACK PEOPLE; it's just the ....... that I can't stand"
posted by theorique at 8:03 AM on June 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


I would guess that his real animus isn't so much racism as fame.

Could we not do this please?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:03 AM on June 18, 2015 [34 favorites]


I have read that in the wake of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in the 1960s, everyone but the most hardcore and hateful of racists felt some degree of sadness and empathy for the victims, their families, and communities. And just about everyone felt horror at the fact that someone had attacked a church.

From some of the coverage and reactions to this recent act of terrorism, it looks like we've somehow managed to move backwards from that point.

I truly believe that if the church bombing happened today, some networks would lead with "experts" and "journalists" who would wonder if maybe it was a false flag attack and then say, "We're just asking questions here. Just speculating." and then, of course, deny that race in any way had anything to do with it.

As for the murderer, this is one of the first mass killings in a long time that I find completely unfathomable.

In my memories of attending black churches as a child, I can recall the amused surprise with which white visitors were greeted, surprise which quickly turned to delight at their presence and eagerness to involve them in all the day's activities.

I can easily imagine the same thing occurring at Emanuel AME, but what I can't imagine is the kind of empty and twisted heart it would take to spend an hour in fellowship and a love of Christ as a visitor to a congregation and then kill them in cold blood.

.........
posted by lord_wolf at 8:04 AM on June 18, 2015 [31 favorites]




What's wrong with discussing fame as possible motive? It certainly has been for some shooters in the past.
posted by Jacqueline at 8:05 AM on June 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


Somehow we never hear these theories about shooters at, say, Everybody Draw Muhammad Day.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:05 AM on June 18, 2015 [19 favorites]


I don't think psychoanalysis from a distance using 90s action movies as the lens is very useful, certainly not at this moment.
posted by Xavier Xavier at 8:06 AM on June 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


Jacqueline, because the only thing we know for sure about this guy is that he had spouted racial animus before he committed an act of terror.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:06 AM on June 18, 2015 [5 favorites]


I truly believe that if the church bombing happened today, some networks would lead with "experts" and "journalists" who would wonder if maybe it was a false flag attack and then say, "We're just asking questions here. Just speculating." and then, of course, deny that race in any way had anything to do with it.

Don Lemon would wonder aloud if the church was not actually bombed, but was hit by Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 emerging from a time/space wormhole.
posted by delfin at 8:07 AM on June 18, 2015 [6 favorites]


still reading, this one hit me hard, dunno why, will read more and return later


.

posted by infini at 8:07 AM on June 18, 2015


...
...
...
posted by Xavier Xavier at 8:07 AM on June 18, 2015




Well, then using the AND language suggested above, why can't it be racism AND fame?
posted by Jacqueline at 8:08 AM on June 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


Jacqueline: What's wrong with discussing fame as possible motive? It certainly has been for some shooters in the past.

If it had been phrased in a way that was merely adding fame as a possible motive, that would be one thing, but the phrasing "...his real animus isn't so much racism as fame" explicitly puts forth a zero-sum tension between the two motives when no such tension exists.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:09 AM on June 18, 2015 [23 favorites]


For the past several shootings like this (and god, how fucking horrendous is it that I have to say that), I have been thinking about posting on FB that I am once again donating $10 to the Brady Campaign or other gun-control group, and I will update at the end of the year with how much money I ended up donating even with the cheap, drop in a bucket price of $10 every time some fucknut decides to shoot innocent people for "no reason".

I am finally fucking ready to do it. Maybe some of you are too. Make all your Facebook friends complain about your posts, and make them uncomfortably aware that YOU REALLY SHOULDN'T HAVE TO MAKE MULTIPLE POSTS IN A YEAR OR EVEN A MONTH ABOUT DONATING MONEY AGAIN BECAUSE SOME FUCKNUT SHOT PEOPLE.
posted by nakedmolerats at 8:09 AM on June 18, 2015 [19 favorites]


I totally agree that one of his motives is racism, BTW -- but I also agree that the way he did it (leaving a victim alive to tell the story etc.) suggests that he was also motivated by a desire for fame. So just to be clear: I think it's both, not one or the other.
posted by Jacqueline at 8:09 AM on June 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


Because most folks (*cough*white people*cough*) would rather believe that he was doing it for fame than admit that maybe America has a racism problem.
posted by Kitteh at 8:10 AM on June 18, 2015 [12 favorites]




"I don’t think a letter in Roof’s own blood saying 'I did it because I hate black people' would even be proof enough for white america."

Remember Elliot Rodger? It absolutely wouldn't be enough proof.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:11 AM on June 18, 2015 [42 favorites]


I think the issue is that if the shooter wasn't motivated by racism, would he still have gone out and shot nine random people just to be famous?
posted by dry white toast at 8:13 AM on June 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


So.... Do you think they will fly the Confederate Flag at half-mast ?
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:13 AM on June 18, 2015 [18 favorites]


I have been to a few black churches and am always surprised at the gracious welcome I've received.

Apparently the people killed were mostly elderly. Imagine the things they survived to end up like this. I would like to know more about them.

Rev Clementa Pinckney
posted by maggiemaggie at 8:14 AM on June 18, 2015 [13 favorites]


My thoughts are going out to the victims' family and friends
posted by mlo at 8:14 AM on June 18, 2015


There are a lot of ways to be famous that don't involve killing black people for explicitly stated racist reasons.

My rule of thumb is: If somebody says they are committing a racist act for racist reasons, that's what they are doing.
posted by maxsparber at 8:15 AM on June 18, 2015 [20 favorites]


I think the issue is that if the shooter wasn't motivated by racism, would he still have gone out and shot nine random people just to be famous?

I think it's likely he would have done something like this but for a different purported motive, yes. Some small percentage of young men will "run amok" and become mass killers. Which ideology gets to them first is what determines whom their victims will be.
posted by Jacqueline at 8:16 AM on June 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


Which ideology gets to them first is what determines whom their victims will be.

I don't think it's your intent, but this really sounds like you're saying his racism was just window dressing, not a core motivation.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 8:19 AM on June 18, 2015 [13 favorites]


"@Nettaaaaaaaa: If they call this man a terrorist, would have to admit that the U.S. has been terrorizing black folk, on & off the record since its founding."
posted by dry white toast at 8:19 AM on June 18, 2015 [20 favorites]


fwiw I think most terrorists of all stripes are in it for fame at some level. Doesn't make it not terrorism.
posted by maggiemaggie at 8:19 AM on June 18, 2015 [5 favorites]


CNN reporting that he has been caught.
posted by pearlybob at 8:20 AM on June 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


His father bought him a new gun in April, for his 21st birthday. i.e., a month after he was arrested on drug and trespassing charges, and while he was out on bond on those charges. (source)
posted by likeatoaster at 8:21 AM on June 18, 2015 [9 favorites]


I have seen similar reports that they have a suspect in custody.
posted by Captain_Science at 8:21 AM on June 18, 2015


CNN reporting that he has been caught.

Are any reputable news outlets confirming this?
posted by tonycpsu at 8:21 AM on June 18, 2015 [28 favorites]


Local news reporting that as well, since uh, CNN is less than reliable.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:22 AM on June 18, 2015 [2 favorites]






Double zing!
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:23 AM on June 18, 2015


News here in Charlotte is reporting he was captured in the near by town of Shelby,NC.
posted by Captain_Science at 8:23 AM on June 18, 2015


His father bought him a new gun in April, for his 21st birthday. i.e., a month after he was arrested on drug and trespassing charges, and while he was out on bond on those charges.

Who was arrested here, Roof or his father?

EDIT: I didn't see the source link. It was Roof who was arrested.
posted by Strange Interlude at 8:24 AM on June 18, 2015


I think the issue is that if the shooter wasn't motivated by racism, would he still have gone out and shot nine random people just to be famous?

Knowing that the whole white-black issue is a big thing within American society, especially in former Confederate states, he must have known that this would create a bigger media splash than "only" shooting nine random people.

That being said, an action that has identifiably racist consequences, and leverages racism, is probably racist.
posted by theorique at 8:24 AM on June 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


May he live a long time.
posted by Artw at 8:25 AM on June 18, 2015 [2 favorites]




I remember reading somewhere that Soldier of Fortune magazine, which I remember being in almost any supermarket where I grew up in the 1970s, had a lot of material about white American volunteers for the Rhodesian government.

I had some vintage issues of SoF, the Rhodesian Army ran full page recruiting ads in the magazine.
posted by MikeMc at 8:26 AM on June 18, 2015 [9 favorites]




Some small percentage of young men will "run amok" and become mass killers. Which ideology gets to them first is what determines whom their victims will be.

I'm not sure it's that much of a dartboard sort of thing when most of the time the shooting murders are either entirely indiscriminate or targeting some specific group of non-white non-male people. The ideology is either white male supremacy or it ain't.
posted by griphus at 8:26 AM on June 18, 2015 [5 favorites]


I don't think it's your intent, but this really sounds like you're saying his racism was just window dressing, not a core motivation.

No, I think that the prevalence of hateful ideology plays a huge role. I'm just saying it would be a different hateful ideology.

Unfortunately there are a bunch of hateful ideologies to choose from in the US so even if anti-black racism were eliminated tomorrow we'd still have attacks against women, religious minorities, elected officials, doctors, scientists, etc.

Disillusioned/entitled young men plus exposure to hateful ideologies is a bad combination. One of the downsides of the internet is it's making it easier for these young men to saturate themselves in these ideologies, whereas before you'd have to know someone in person or at least seek out some relatively rare books or something to get started down this path.
posted by Jacqueline at 8:27 AM on June 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


Charleston SC to Shelby NC on a map, in case you, like me, are not up on your Carolinas geography
posted by everybody had matching towels at 8:27 AM on June 18, 2015 [5 favorites]


His father bought him a new gun in April, for his 21st birthday. i.e., a month after he was arrested on drug and trespassing charges, and while he was out on bond on those charges.

Who was arrested here, Roof or his father?


The kid.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:28 AM on June 18, 2015


I have $25 that says before the evening's broadcast at least one major news organization runs a picture of the asshat gunman* with a kitten, or tutoring children, or graduating from high school, or playing football. Any takers?

* not sure if we're allowed to use his name yet.
posted by cjorgensen at 8:28 AM on June 18, 2015 [5 favorites]


From the Charleston County Public Library:
Charleston County Public Library is devastated by the senseless shootings Wednesday night at Mother Emmanuel AME Church in downtown Charleston that took the lives of nine members of our community, including one of our own - St. Andrews Regional Library Manager Cynthia Hurd. Cynthia was a tireless servant of the community who spent her life helping residents, making sure they had every opportunity for an education and personal growth.
The library is closed today.
posted by metaquarry at 8:30 AM on June 18, 2015 [28 favorites]


Gun culture having a hateful ideology built right in certainly stacks the deck.
posted by Artw at 8:30 AM on June 18, 2015 [8 favorites]


Thank god they caught him alive (if this is true), rather than the police killing him so all this can be quickly passed over. Perhaps a lengthy trial in which his racist ideology can explored (like what happened with the Norwegian terrorist, Breivik) will convince some people that this just might have had something to do with race.
posted by demonic winged headgear at 8:30 AM on June 18, 2015 [8 favorites]


Don't bet on it.
posted by Artw at 8:31 AM on June 18, 2015 [9 favorites]




Fox News: Charleston shooting is an attack on faith, not race—calls for pastors to arm themselves

Spin overdrive.
posted by Artw at 8:32 AM on June 18, 2015 [12 favorites]


Perhaps a lengthy trial in which his racist ideology can explored (like what happened with the Norwegian terrorist, Breivik) will convince some people that this just might have had something to do with race.

Prosecutors will go for the death penalty, but agree to life without parole to "spare the victims' families more pain." Count on it.
posted by dortmunder at 8:33 AM on June 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


Did any of these asswads come out talking about "attacks on faith" when that Sikh temple got shot up a few years ago?
posted by nakedmolerats at 8:33 AM on June 18, 2015 [47 favorites]


Someone needs to tell Hasselback this was a racist, not an Immortal. Racists have been killing people on churches for a bit, now.
posted by lmfsilva at 8:33 AM on June 18, 2015 [6 favorites]


Fox News: Charleston shooting is an attack on faith, not race—calls for pastors to arm themselves

They'll stop doing that once somebody over there realizes they're advising black people to carry guns.
posted by Celsius1414 at 8:35 AM on June 18, 2015 [47 favorites]


But if a black person wearing religious garb can be presumed to be armed, then that provides more justification for police to shoot them on sight.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:37 AM on June 18, 2015 [10 favorites]


Armed black people makes it easier to justify the police killing them, they'd love that.
posted by Artw at 8:37 AM on June 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


Elizabeth Hasselback: "A horrifying attack on faith killing 9 people, including a famed pastor. So, if we're not safe in our own churches, then where are we safe?"

This conversation is loony: they go right to arming clergy at the pulpit. The hell?

Look, I went to Boston College, same as Elizabeth Hasselback, and in NONE of my religion or ethics classes would this notion have flown. Come to think of it, in any logic classes, discussing this event and ignoring racism over "the war on religion" also wouldn't've gotten past the Jesuits. Sheesh!
posted by wenestvedt at 8:38 AM on June 18, 2015 [11 favorites]


Did any of these asswads come out talking about "attacks on faith" when that Sikh temple got shot up a few years ago?

THAT IS NOT THE KIND OF ATTACK ON FAITH WE ARE TALKING ABOUT HERE.
posted by theorique at 8:39 AM on June 18, 2015 [7 favorites]


News and media spin overload. It's exhausting. I struggle to maintain a balance where I'm informed of these events that occur in my society and impact me and my friends and family members with the fact that these types of stories can be extremely distressing and exhausting to my mental health. It creates such stress and anxiety. Ignorance is bliss sometimes.

I think I'll be unplugging from this thread and from social media for the rest of the week. Stay safe friends.
posted by Fizz at 8:40 AM on June 18, 2015 [16 favorites]


. . . . . . . . .
posted by Going To Maine at 8:42 AM on June 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


Wesley Lowery: The confederate flag at the S.C. statehouse is not flying at half staff this AM

Edward Baptist (via his Twitter feed, edited for readability):
SC's stars and bars flag started as the battle flag of pro-slavery traitors who refused to accept an election's results. In the course of Civil War, the flag became the symbol of not only slavery and treason, but the murder of black soldiers. It flew over Ft. Wagner as the 54th Massachusetts charged, and it flew over the desecration of the bodies of the men who fell. In the 1950s, the battle flag was revived not just as a symbol of resistance to federally mandated desegregation, the stars and bars was also a symbol of terror: of the violent intimidation of African Americans who dared assert their rights. The stars and bars promised lynching, police violence against protestors and others, and violence against churches. SC's state flag is a flag of slavery. But it is also a flag of terrorism. That terror is among other things anti-religious and particularly, anti-Christian. Churches have been bombed & burned for what it symbolizes. Ministers, worshippers, people singing hymns have been attacked time and time again by those who serve it and those who wave it. So here we are again. SC may lower the pro-terrorism, pro-slavery, anti-religious flag to half mast for a day. But they plan to raise it again.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:42 AM on June 18, 2015 [32 favorites]


Thank god they caught him alive (if this is true), rather than the police killing him so all this can be quickly passed over. Perhaps a lengthy trial in which his racist ideology can explored (like what happened with the Norwegian terrorist, Breivik) will convince some people that this just might have had something to do with race.

We can't extend habeas corpus to terrorists lest they use the trials as bully pulpits for recruiting drives for their fellow whackjobs but it's totes cool when it's just black hating.
posted by phearlez at 8:44 AM on June 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


. . . . . . . . .
posted by haiku warrior at 8:47 AM on June 18, 2015


We can't extend habeas corpus to terrorists lest they use the trials as bully pulpits for recruiting drives for their fellow whackjobs but it's totes cool when it's just black hating.

This seems like a personal attack on a user here when it's entirely possible that the person who posted the comment you're referencing believes terrorists should be extended habeas corpus as well.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 8:48 AM on June 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


Santorum Calls Charleston Shooting 'Assault On Religious Liberty'

Yes, the shooter saying "You rape our women and you're taking over our country. And you have to go" before killing black churchgoers CLEARLY indicates his alliance with gay marriage, secularism and Hollywood.

Shut the FUCK UP, Frothy.
posted by delfin at 8:48 AM on June 18, 2015 [39 favorites]


Funny how when George Tiller was shot, nobody tried to claim it was because of anti-religious bigotry.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:48 AM on June 18, 2015 [64 favorites]


Also:

Elizabeth Hasselback: "A horrifying attack on faith killing 9 people, including a famed pastor. So, if we're not safe in our own churches, then where are we safe?"

Ask George Tiller that, you vacuous toad.
posted by delfin at 8:49 AM on June 18, 2015 [26 favorites]


This seems like a personal attack on a user here

it is not
posted by phearlez at 8:54 AM on June 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


I would guess that his real animus isn't so much racism as fame. His real purpose was to have everyone talking about him this morning. In that sense it is terrorism, but not for the most obvious purpose. He has scored his victory because we're all talking about him this morning.

If you believe this, why are you talking about him?
posted by layceepee at 8:55 AM on June 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


His father bought him a new gun in April, for his 21st birthday. i.e., a month after he was arrested on drug and trespassing charges, and while he was out on bond on those charges.

can we indict his idiot father as an accessory to murder?
posted by longdaysjourney at 8:56 AM on June 18, 2015 [5 favorites]


Santorum Calls Charleston Shooting 'Assault On Religious Liberty'

I think what he meant to say was "assault on a soft target". Then again "soft target" doesn't score points with potential backers.
posted by MikeMc at 8:56 AM on June 18, 2015


As an addendum to my comment above, here's the picture of the US flag flying at half mast while the Confederate flag is not.

Welcome to the CSA, folks.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:57 AM on June 18, 2015 [25 favorites]


This was called out way upthread already:

Gov. Nikki R. Haley of South Carolina asked the state’s residents to pray for the victims and their families. “We’ll never understand what motivates anyone to enter one of our places of worship and take the life of another,” she said in a statement.

We will never understand - never understand - what motivates someone to do this. Really?

Why not take him at his word, since he specifically wanted you to know why he was doing this and specifically left someone alive to tell the story?

“I have to do it,” the gunman was quoted as saying. “You rape our women and you’re taking over our country. And you have to go.”

...
...
...
posted by RedOrGreen at 8:58 AM on June 18, 2015 [6 favorites]


By the way , The Guardian has a very good thread of updates on the situation (with more about the fallout today in the community).
posted by maggiemaggie at 8:59 AM on June 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


can we indict his idiot father as an accessory to murder?
Does SC have a felony murder law?
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 9:00 AM on June 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


As an addendum to my comment above, here's the picture of the US flag flying at half mast while the Confederate flag is not.

To be fair there, there isn't really a way out of being offensive here other than NOT HAVING A FUCKING CONFEDERATE FLAG.
posted by Artw at 9:00 AM on June 18, 2015 [52 favorites]


Someone responded to the tweet about the stars and bars not being at half-mast with a comment that "it's not an official flag and therefore they don't have to lower it".

And despite my better judgement I responded that "then if it's not an official flag it shouldn't be on a government building at all and it should be lowered all the way and then burnt and then the ashes should be buried in a landfill".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:01 AM on June 18, 2015 [92 favorites]




I would guess that his real animus isn't so much racism as fame.

Either/or thinking isn't very helpful here. It's certainly possible that the killer might have the goal of becoming the world's most famous racist.
posted by jonp72 at 9:04 AM on June 18, 2015 [5 favorites]


So, it seems like a some effort was made to capture him alive. Wish that effort were expended on random black people pulled over for less murderous shit.
posted by qcubed at 9:04 AM on June 18, 2015 [14 favorites]


can we indict his idiot father as an accessory to murder?

We can at the very least use this as a banner every time the NRA clowns stand against any sort of limitation on private transfer of weapons. We manage to file the paperwork to transfer the registration for vehicles whenever they get sold/bought/donated; doing so when weapons change hands isn't a bridge too far.
posted by phearlez at 9:06 AM on June 18, 2015 [11 favorites]




The "he was motivated by fame, (in addition to/more than) racism!" thing is ludicrous horseshit. We know that he had the flags of white supremacist nations on his jacket, and a license plate commemorating a white supremacist rebellion. It has additionally been reported that he told people in the AME church that he had to kill the people there because he said that they were raping his women and taking over, which are two very old racist tropes. It was not reported that he told the people in the church his name, which would seem to be the bare minimum a killer motivated by a desire for fame would do. Leaving someone alive to tell the story of what happened is wholly consistent with a desire to terrorize other African-Americans.

Facts will out, but at present, all signs point to the likelihood that this was a killer motivated by white supremacy. Trying to shoehorn in some other motivation based on literally nothing muddies the waters and downplays the role that white supremacy played in motivating this horrendous killing.
posted by burden at 9:08 AM on June 18, 2015 [31 favorites]


For us ignorant folks: how is Gov. Nikki Haley? I'm assuming she's nowhere near as nutty as Sanford, but I just don't know. Thanks.
posted by Melismata at 9:10 AM on June 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


So many emotions, but really it just comes down to this:

...
...
...


And I have no doubt in another few days/weeks, there will be another opportunity to leave some periods in a thread about another mass murder while the talking heads engage in their speculative whatifery. Just sad and tired.
posted by nubs at 9:10 AM on June 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm curious about the middle name "Storm." Did he bestow it on himself? It calls to mind the Stormfront website. I suppose it could be a name given by normal parents for non-horrible reasons, but it really sounds chilling as the name for a white supremacist mass murderer. I can't help thinking there might be a story behind that name that connects logically with this slaughter.
posted by jayder at 9:11 AM on June 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


It seems I have a heretofore unknown (by me) connection to this church. One of it's founders was Denmark Vesey, known for leading the first (abortive) slave rebellion in the US. He took his surname from his former owner, Joseph Vesey, a Bermudian slave ship captain. I am directly descended from said Joseph, my paternal grandmother being a Vesey...
posted by jim in austin at 9:13 AM on June 18, 2015 [14 favorites]


This discussion of whether to call him a terrorist or not is interesting to me since I have come to find the term 'terrorist' to be way devalued by overuse, particularly from the US government.

Which isn't to say I don't completely agree on the hypocrisy, just that I find 'act of terrorism' to be less hackle-raising, personally, than 'hate crime.' The double-standard is revealing about our racism but I'm not sure expanding the use even further communicates the heinous nature of the act.
posted by phearlez at 9:13 AM on June 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


Does SC have a felony murder law?

Yes.

Also:

State v. Bixby, Opinion No. 26871, August 16, 2010

The elements that must concur to justify the conviction of one as an accessory before the fact are: (1) that the defendant advised and agreed, or urged the parties or in some way aided them, to commit the offense; (2) that the defendant was not present when the offense was committed; and (3) that the principal committed the crime. State v. Smith, 316 S.C. 53, 447 S.E.2d 175 (1993).

If there's justice, the prosecutor will charge this asshole's father.
posted by longdaysjourney at 9:13 AM on June 18, 2015 [7 favorites]


Probably that would get tossed out for harming the rights of the gun.
posted by Artw at 9:21 AM on June 18, 2015 [9 favorites]


.

It's not very surprising that he was found in Shelby, NC - a city known for its active KKK community.
posted by What'sAPedantWalter? at 9:21 AM on June 18, 2015 [4 favorites]


One of it's founders was Denmark Vesey, known for leading the first (abortive) slave rebellion in the US.

The anniversary of the planned date for the rebellion was two days ago, also.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:22 AM on June 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


The perpetrator as far as I'm concerned is an assassin, and mass murderer/terrorist.
He picked a very significant date. It's the period of time marked as Juneteenth.
That frequently goes along with acts of terror.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 9:24 AM on June 18, 2015 [4 favorites]


charge the dad with felony murder for giving his son a gun ... when he has no clue his son is going to use it in a mass murder?

that's pretty silly.
posted by jayder at 9:24 AM on June 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


The assassin wore a patch depicting the Apartheid era South African flag on his jacket.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 9:26 AM on June 18, 2015


when he has no clue his son is going to use it in a mass murder?

We don't know one way or another right now. If it turns out he did know, then yes.
posted by The Master and Margarita Mix at 9:26 AM on June 18, 2015 [1 favorite]




charge the dad with felony murder for giving his son a gun ... when he has no clue his son is going to use it in a mass murder?

No, but accessory before the fact at the very least.
posted by longdaysjourney at 9:26 AM on June 18, 2015 [4 favorites]


Giving your son a gun when he was just arrested a month ago... That's silly.
posted by sio42 at 9:27 AM on June 18, 2015 [4 favorites]


Katjusa, it is also the anniversary of the date selected by the former pastor of this very church to lead a slave revolt.
posted by waitingtoderail at 9:27 AM on June 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


Felony murder charges are invoked when someone commits a felony that results in a death, whether the person intended for the death to happen or not. I don't know whether it was a felony to illegally procure a gun for his son, but if it was, than that's exactly the kind of situation for which felony murder charges exist.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 9:27 AM on June 18, 2015 [6 favorites]


Speaking of Chris Rock, mentioned earlier in this thread. On Columbine.

Of course, you could probably just replace remarks about age, dress, and location, but it's still white men.
posted by qcubed at 9:28 AM on June 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


For us ignorant folks: how is Gov. Nikki Haley? I'm assuming she's nowhere near as nutty as Sanford, but I just don't know. Thanks.
posted by Melismata at 9:10 AM on June 18
[1 favorite −] Favorite added! [!]

Governor Haley is pretty right wing, she did give a nice tribute to State Senator Pinckney. I think she was sincere about it.
I get Fox Carolina in my FB feed because of the Greenville giraffes. It's the only reason I include a Fox affiliate station.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 9:32 AM on June 18, 2015


> If there's justice, the prosecutor will charge this asshole's father.

I'm strongly anti-gun, but I don't agree that this would be justice.

Roof is responsible for these murders. Period. Let's not dilute that. He already blames his victims for what he "had to" do.
posted by desuetude at 9:32 AM on June 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


The former classmate told The Daily Beast that he didn't think Roof was a racist so much as a conservative with a lot of "Southern Pride."

"He made a lot of racist jokes, but you don’t really take them seriously like that," Mullins said. "You don’t really think of it like that.”


Head. Desk.
posted by Xavier Xavier at 9:34 AM on June 18, 2015 [40 favorites]


For a felony murder charge to even be on the table, the felony has to be an inherently dangerous felony which I doubt the gift of a gun would qualify as, in the extremely unlikely event that giving the man a gun was a crime at all.

Inherently dangerous felony is stuff like robbery, evading arrest in a motor vehicle, etc.
posted by jayder at 9:36 AM on June 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


Y'know, it's reasonable to assume that some of the suicide bombers and other terrorists we've seen have had psychological problems. That doesn't make them any less terrorists.

But this dude is white, so obviously we can't use that label, right? Can't be a terrorist. Could only be "troubled."

Also, he's 21. We sometimes try teenagers for murder as adults, and this guy is an actual legal adult and should not be spoken of as if he's a child.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 9:36 AM on June 18, 2015 [16 favorites]


.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 9:37 AM on June 18, 2015


The former classmate told The Daily Beast that he didn't think Roof was a racist so much as a conservative with a lot of "Southern Pride."

"He made a lot of racist jokes, but you don’t really take them seriously like that," Mullins said. "You don’t really think of it like that.”


Frankly I bet most of his peers are the same
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 9:38 AM on June 18, 2015 [12 favorites]


The "he was motivated by fame, (in addition to/more than) racism!" thing is ludicrous horseshit.

Totally, especially since there's actual proof that he was doing this because he was a racist, and 0% proof that he was doing this in order to get famous. Leaving witnesses alive? That's not what you do when you want to get famous, that's what you do when you want there to be no mistake that you were doing this 100% for racist reasons.
posted by 23skidoo at 9:40 AM on June 18, 2015 [9 favorites]


The first link that comes up when you Google the name in question is to 4Chan's "Politically Incorrect" forum, so yeah, my gut says that's probably him.

That 4chan thread is ... something. It's like, the worse and more upsetting the news, the more the chans feed off people's emotions.
posted by theorique at 9:40 AM on June 18, 2015


We don't know one way or another righ now. If it turns out he did know, then yes.
posted by The Master and Margarita Mix at 9:26 AM on June 18


If he did know then you just charge him with murder because he's actually directly involved in the conspiracy. You don't need a felony murder law in that situation.
posted by jayder at 9:42 AM on June 18, 2015


> The former classmate told The Daily Beast that he didn't think Roof was a racist so much as a conservative with a lot of "Southern Pride."

I'm an observer from afar, but from where I stand there seems to be an awful lot of overlap in those two Venn diagrams.

Anyway, fuck this guy and fuck the culture that made him into what he is.
posted by The Card Cheat at 9:43 AM on June 18, 2015 [2 favorites]




.
My heart hurts.
posted by dougzilla at 9:45 AM on June 18, 2015 [1 favorite]




"...but I'm not sure expanding the use even further communicates the heinous nature of the act."

That's not "expanding" the use of the term, it's using it precisely as it's understood.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 9:48 AM on June 18, 2015


That's not what you do when you want to get famous, that's what you do when you want there to be no mistake that you were doing this 100% for racist reasons.

I'm beginning to think that this guy could have literally dressed in a KKK uniform and held a press conference after the shooting explaining in detail his belief in the superiority of the white race and the need to exterminate all other races, and we'd still have people here saying "You know, I think this might actually have more to do with fame than race ...".
posted by tocts at 9:49 AM on June 18, 2015 [33 favorites]


FYI, if you want to watch Obama's statement, it starts at about 59 minutes here.
posted by yasaman at 9:53 AM on June 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


That 4chan thread is ... something. It's like, the worse and more upsetting the news, the more the chans feed off people's emotions.

The /pol/ board is literally a Stormfront outpost on 4chan. What you're seeing is not just rando channers enjoying misery, it's white supremacists and MRAs and fascists (generally all three in the same person) cheering on a comrade or critiquing his form.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:53 AM on June 18, 2015 [18 favorites]


I don't know whether it was a felony to illegally procure a gun for his son

That's a question I don't even know the answer to, and I'm pretty well read on guns. There are federal laws against 'straw purchasing' - ie, buying guns for people when they can't buy them themselves, like for example, if they are felons. But even laws against straw purchasing generally have exemptions for guns designed to be gifted to immediate family. So I'm not sure if there's a portion of law covering that.
posted by corb at 9:55 AM on June 18, 2015


That 4chan thread is ... something. It's like, the worse and more upsetting the news, the more the chans feed off people's emotions.

For the record, large majorities on literally every other board on 4ch, with the exception of /b/ and possibly /k/, utterly hate /pol/'s guts and only tolerate that board's existence for the purpose of containment. They're really, really obvious when they crossboard, too - differences in grammar and punctuation, of course, and flagrant disregard for board culture and rules, but mostly you can pick out the two or three guys who seem to want to draw the Protocols of the Elders of Zion into every discussion of Japanese cartoons.

Smalltext for semi-derail.

posted by fifthrider at 10:02 AM on June 18, 2015 [7 favorites]




[A couple comments deleted. Let's not expand this out to have the same debate about guns we've had a thousand times. corb, I don't even know how to generalize about the kind of poor judgment involved in linking to the Huey Newton thing as if it's a rebuttal to points about race here. Don't go down that road or you will get a day off.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 10:05 AM on June 18, 2015 [21 favorites]


...
...
...

Regarding the Rhodesia patch, James Earl Ray (MLK's killer) was fascinated with Rhodesia and was finally apprehended in the process of trying to get there, where he thought he'd be welcomed as some sort of racial hero. Not sure if this guy was familiar with that or not.
posted by freecellwizard at 10:09 AM on June 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


WTF, America? It's just plain War on Black People. Fox trying to spin it as War on Christians and downplaying race hate is just so incredibly vile, all of a piece with their daily lies and hate. I'm deeply ashamed that this is happening in my country. We need to start saying No More Violence, No More Racism, and we need to start meaning it.

. . . . . . . . .
posted by theora55 at 10:12 AM on June 18, 2015 [11 favorites]


.........

The Knoxville Unitarian Church attack was another instance where the white shooter-terrorist specifically cited hatred for african americans as motivation.
posted by Poldo at 10:13 AM on June 18, 2015 [4 favorites]


In times of sorrow, I often find myself turning to music, and today it was "We Shall Overcome". I learned that it was first used as a protest song in 1945 - in Charleston. I draw hope from the chorus:

Deep in my heart
I do believe
We shall overcome
Someday

This version, by the Morehouse College Glee Club, is beautiful and powerful.

On that hopeful note, I visited Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal's website and saw that here they say "All members are asked to support the Harvey-Whitlock-Bennett WMS Outreach Project by donating non-perishable items (canned goods, etc.) to the Lowcountry Food Bank. Please place items in the container located in the lower level of the church." The food bank also has a way to donate online.

This is what I can do in this moment, but this is not all I can do, or will do. My term as president in my own congregation (Unitarian Universalist) is about to start, and racial justice issues are high on our priority list. Beyond the tragedy of the deaths, the grief for the victims, and the rage and sorrow and shock at the systemic racism and domestic terrorism which caused their deaths, I feel for the leadership of the church. The two known victims are both part of the ministerial staff. Any ministerial transition is stressful in the life of a church. To lose two ministers (so far) under these circumstances is unthinkable. Prayers for strength and grace in the days to come for the entire congregation.

. . . . . . . . .
posted by booksherpa at 10:17 AM on June 18, 2015 [22 favorites]


. . . . . . . . .

I haven't browsed /pol/ before and have no desire to return, but their reaction to this attack is interesting if you can stomach it, from an amateur anthropologist point of view. It's... very different from just about everywhere else.
At this point I'm honestly convinced that they're going to find out that he browsed /pol/. I have fucking friends and family who know I browse here. The social backlash this is going to bring about will be staggering.
Um, yes, when your friends and family learn that you hang out in a community of racists, you get social backlash for being racist. That's how it's supposed to work.
posted by Rangi at 10:18 AM on June 18, 2015 [33 favorites]


Obama's statement was tough to watch. Biden was almost too heartbroken and sad for me to look at, and Obama was just angry and tired. Some quotes from the the statement:

He said he's "necessarily constrained" in talking about the details of the case, but he's not constrained about the "emotions that tragedies like this raise."

"I've had to make statements like this too many times."

"Once again innocent people were killed in part because someone who wanted to inflict harm had no trouble getting their hands on a gun."

"Let's be clear, at some point we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence doesn't happen in other advanced countries. It doesn't happen in other places with this kind of frequency. And 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 be important for the American people to come to grips with it, and for us to be able to shift how we think about the issue of gun violence collectively."
posted by yasaman at 10:19 AM on June 18, 2015 [66 favorites]


From a Daily Beast article, his grandfather, a lawyer, said Roof has 2 sisters, that his dad had been married and divorced twice. I guess his stepmom said that Roof's dad is a contractor and Roof only recently got into racist hate group stuff.

I'm willing to bet his family probably contributed to that some. I've always been surprised at how white people are willing to say racist stuff about blacks and Jewish people even in the presence of a person of color who is part of a non-black & non-Jewish minority group.
posted by discopolo at 10:20 AM on June 18, 2015


I'm not a Christian. I'm not even sure I'm a god believer at all. I still prayed this morning to whatever may be out there to hold and love and support the families, communities, friends and country of those murdered by an avatar of the inherent hate and fear of a frightening large percent of our population.

How many more have to die at the NRA altar? How many more people of color have to die before we can finally bury Jim Crow? What the fuck, America? What the ever loving fuck?
posted by dejah420 at 10:24 AM on June 18, 2015 [21 favorites]


It's interesting that the Police Chief said that the car had "a very distinctive front license plate" but apparently could not bring himself to say that it was a confederate commemorative plate, the same logo that flies over their state capital. Seems like that would be useful information for the public in the search. Talk about whitewashing.
posted by JackFlash at 10:25 AM on June 18, 2015 [69 favorites]


That is insane.
posted by Artw at 10:28 AM on June 18, 2015


This is devastating. One thing that really reached a deep place for me when I first read about the suspect's statements was his promotion/belief in the mythology of the "black rapist." Angela Davis and others have written on this:

"The myth of the black rapist of white women is the twin of the myth of the bad black woman-both designed to apologize for and facilitate the continued exploitation of black men and women. Black women perceived this connection very clearly and were early in the forefront of the fight against lynching...It is a painful irony that some anti-rape theorists, who ignore the part played by racism in instigating rape, do not hesitate to argue that men of color are especially prone to commit sexual violence against women...For once the notion is accepted that Black men harbor irresistible and animal-like sexual urges, the entire race is invested with bestiality. If Black men have their eyes on white women as sexual objects, then Black women must certainly welcome the sexual attentions of white men. Viewed as "loose women" and whores, Black women's cries of rape would necessarily lack legitimacy."

.
posted by anya32 at 10:29 AM on June 18, 2015 [21 favorites]


booksherpa, If I started playing "We Shall Overcome" I'd be crying like a baby for hours.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 10:30 AM on June 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


It's interesting that the Police Chief said that the car had "a very distinctive front license plate" but apparently could not bring himself to say that it was a confederate commemorative plate, the same logo that flies over their state capital. Seems like that would be useful information for the public in the search. Talk about whitewashing.

I really hope the mayor, who marched from Charleston to Columbia to protest the Stars and Bars remaining the state flag back in 2000, gives him holy hell for that.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:30 AM on June 18, 2015 [14 favorites]


The Confederate Flag: Not Racist, but #1 with Racists
posted by savetheclocktower at 10:31 AM on June 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


JackFlash: "It's interesting that the Police Chief said that the car had "a very distinctive front license plate" but apparently could not bring himself to say that it was a confederate commemorative plate"

This stood out to me as well. Why even mention it if you're not going to describe it?
posted by mhum at 10:32 AM on June 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


White privilege is gunning down 9 black people, being taken alive, and then Fox News asking if the answer to prevent another tragedy like the one you cause is "more guns."

And asking how did a 21-year-old learn such hate? In a nation that has a long history of thousands of people turning out for lynchings and taking FUCKING POSTCARD PHOTOS of it? We've got to be carefully taught, and we are. We're still being taught.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 10:32 AM on June 18, 2015 [11 favorites]


[theorique, I'm not sure if you're trolling or just exercising bad judgment, but take the day off.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 10:32 AM on June 18, 2015 [11 favorites]


> The Knoxville Unitarian Church attack was another instance where the white shooter-terrorist specifically cited hatred for african americans as motivation.

According to the article you linked to:
Adkisson stated that he had targeted the church because of its liberal teachings and his belief that all liberals should be killed because they were ruining the country, and that he felt that the Democrats had tied his country's hands in the war on terror and they had ruined every institution in America with the aid of major media outlets. Adkisson made statements that because he could not get to the leaders of the liberal movement that he would then target those that had voted them into office.
That's about how I remembered it. The UUA is mostly white, but it does have a high density of Democrats.
posted by nangar at 10:33 AM on June 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


That's not "expanding" the use of the term, it's using it precisely as it's understood.

Using something more is expanding the use of it; it's not an ideological statement about the correctness of the using it. I feel like I was pretty clear in saying that I am in complete agreement that it's hypocritical to only call things terrorism when they're aimed at white folks. Doesn't change the fact that we'll call it terrorism when someone copies documents from a Japanese corporation or tries to inform fellow citizens about the government tapping their phones. I'm not opposed to being consistent and calling this terrorism too, only observing that we've used that term in America a lot this last decade and it's got a lingering smell of hyperbole on it for me no matter how accurately it's being used in a single instance.

"a very distinctive front license plate" but apparently could not bring himself to say that it was a confederate commemorative plate, the same logo that flies over their state capital. Seems like that would be useful information for the public in the search.

I suspect that would be depressingly unhelpful in narrowing the field of cars to examine.
posted by phearlez at 10:34 AM on June 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


It Happened on Calhoun Street…
… in a church that was founded by Denmark Vesey.
… just a few miles from the opening salvo of a rebellion intended to establish a slaveholding republic.
… just up the road from Columbia, where a Confederate flag still flies on the capitol grounds
… – a street named after one of the intellectual architects of white supremacy.

posted by marxchivist at 10:36 AM on June 18, 2015 [11 favorites]


In ever-so-slightly brighter news regarding the flag of treason: Supreme Court Says Texas Can Reject Confederate Flag License Plates
posted by zombieflanders at 10:37 AM on June 18, 2015 [7 favorites]




I'm not opposed to being consistent and calling this terrorism too, only observing that we've used that term in America a lot this last decade and it's got a lingering smell of hyperbole on it for me no matter how accurately it's being used in a single instance.

With respect, if this event is not terrorism, then the term is meaningless. And given the event and its unfolding details, having a side discussion of linguistic fallout from the GWoT seems crass.
posted by Celsius1414 at 10:44 AM on June 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


As it is, talk of "mental illness" is just a smokescreen for "we don't think this was that important in the grand scheme of things, really".

Also for "we're willing to throw mentally ill people under the bus to avoid talking about the issues with racism in this country".

21 is so young. I don't even begin to know what makes someone that young have that much hatred.

Really? What could make someone living in a white supremacist as shit city in a region that still worships the confederacy in a racist-ass country turn to racist-ass violence? Are we just supposed to shake our head and pretend this shit is unknowable, and not the obvious result of what happens when you create this kind of fucked up culture?
posted by NoraReed at 10:47 AM on June 18, 2015 [47 favorites]


Are we just supposed to shake our head and pretend this shit is unknowable, and not the obvious result of what happens when you create this kind of fucked up culture?

...yes? Because the alternative is to realize that America as a whole is still pretty damn racist, and we ended that in 2008 or something when we elected a Kenyan into office.

/s
posted by qcubed at 10:49 AM on June 18, 2015


How many more have to die at the NRA altar? How many more people of color have to die before we can finally bury Jim Crow? What the fuck, America? What the ever loving fuck?

I just, after Sandy Hook I thought -- that's it,you can't sweep away a bunch of dead children -- but apparently you can and gun control is just never going to happen and these mass shootings are just like weather events now.

Americans have quietly decided they're rather have their security blankets then prevent pointless murders. There's no getting past that.
posted by The Whelk at 10:50 AM on June 18, 2015 [75 favorites]


Are we just supposed to shake our head and pretend this shit is unknowable, and not the obvious result of what happens when you create this kind of fucked up culture?

No, I think it's completely obvious how people can become racists when immersed in it. What I fail to comprehend, on any level, is how someone so young could have been radicalized so quickly that they were willing to throw their life away (no guarantee police would take them alive) in order to murder other people that they spent an hour hearing as human beings.
posted by corb at 10:51 AM on June 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


"I'm not opposed to being consistent and calling this terrorism too, only observing that we've used that term in America a lot this last decade and it's got a lingering smell of hyperbole on it for me no matter how accurately it's being used in a single instance."

So your argument is that the things that are undeniably and obviously terrorism (acts of non-governmental violence aimed at promoting fear in the service of political goals) that we have avoided labeling as such because it makes (some of) us uncomfortable, we shouldn't begin labeling as "terrorism" because we've been calling lots of trivial things "terrorism"?

That's dumb. It's especially dumb if your complaint is that the word has been watered down and rendered less meaningful. Using it when it really applies acts directly against what you're complaining about. Avoiding the use of it when it applies does the opposite. Rethink your argument and your position. You are reacting on the basis of simply disliking the overuse of the word terrorism. I understand that -- the overuse/misuse bothers me, too. But. this. isn't. a. misuse. If ever it should be used, if ever using this word should connect to horrific violence in the context of political action, it's about these murders.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 10:52 AM on June 18, 2015 [5 favorites]


I just, after Sandy Hook I thought -- that's it,you can't sweep away a bunch of dead children

Seriously. If the senseless murder of dozens of small children doesn't change anything, then you probably ought to just prepare yourself for a lifetime of America in the grips of a death cult.
posted by selfnoise at 10:53 AM on June 18, 2015 [37 favorites]


A death cult with an incredibly powerful and well-funded lobby.
posted by poffin boffin at 10:54 AM on June 18, 2015 [38 favorites]


What I fail to comprehend, on any level, is how someone so young could have been radicalized so quickly

Because it's not very far outside the main cultural currents. He didn't have a long way to go.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:54 AM on June 18, 2015 [13 favorites]


how someone so young could have been radicalized so quickly that they were willing to throw their life away

Pretty sure that the average age of suicide bombers is late teens / early twenties.
posted by Jacqueline at 10:54 AM on June 18, 2015 [8 favorites]


> With respect, if this event is not terrorism, then the term is meaningless.

I believe this event is terrorism; I also believe the term is nearly meaningless. If we start using it as broadly as its definition warrants we'll eventually realize that it is not a useful label. It's like how some libertarians call taxation theft — well, yeah, it is theft, if you want to get super-technical about it. But what value does that label have in a discussion on taxes?

Whether this is terrorism or not (and, again, it is) doesn't matter to me with regard to how his trial should be conducted and what his penalty should be. The label's only rhetorical value (and this could very well be your point) comes from the fact that we tend to apply it to the actions of non-Americans, and Arabs in particular, and often Arab-Americans. But even this distinction isn't useful if, like me, you think that all terrorists who commit crimes on US soil should be tried in US courts, regardless of nationality.

In this weird fantasyland of mine, the word "terrorism" would only be useful in crime prevention — since preventing politically-motivated crime requires different tactics than preventing crimes of desperation or greed.
posted by savetheclocktower at 10:56 AM on June 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


> What I fail to comprehend, on any level, is how someone so young could have been radicalized so quickly that they were willing to throw their life away (

Young people are impulsive and notoriously terrible at really understanding consequences for things. And, lacking the perspective that having more years under one's belt can bring, have a very hard time imagining an outcome that is not the romanticized results of their ignorance.
posted by rtha at 10:57 AM on June 18, 2015 [11 favorites]


21 is so young. I don't even begin to know what makes someone that young have that much hatred.

It's relatively old for a frontline soldier, and it is useful to think of the killer as being that. He isn't a messed-up kid. He's a soldier in the vaguard shock troops of racism. We wouldn't be surprised to see a 21-year-old storming the beaches of Normandy.

He picked his own beach and got his own gun and gave himself his own orders, but, make no mistake, this is a soldier in a war, and it is a war against black people.
posted by maxsparber at 10:57 AM on June 18, 2015 [42 favorites]


Yeah, I'm not sure why this is even a question. Young people are impressionable, lack perspective, and have a much poorer concept of what it is they are throwing away when they commit acts like this.

I would be willing to bet that a graph of suicide bombers by age has an enormous downward curve after the early '20s.
posted by tocts at 10:59 AM on June 18, 2015 [6 favorites]


Getting young people to throw their lives away for racist-ass reasons is one of the things this country is best at; it's a big part of why we continue to have troops to throw at wars on places populated mostly by brown people. More than that, this is only "radical" if you compare it to what America pretends to be; it's not at all far out of the norm when you consider how fucking racist this country actually is.
posted by NoraReed at 10:59 AM on June 18, 2015 [27 favorites]


Young people are impressionable, lack perspective, and have a much poorer concept of what it is they are throwing away when they commit acts like this.

That's not an excuse for murdering 9 people.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:00 AM on June 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


It absolutely isn't an excuse but it does at least partly explain why the people who commit racist terrorism via mass shootings tend to be young white men.
posted by NoraReed at 11:02 AM on June 18, 2015 [5 favorites]


That's not an excuse for murdering 9 people.

No. But it is a part of the reason.
posted by Floydd at 11:02 AM on June 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


Literally no one is using it as an excuse for murder. It's an attempt at answering corb's question about how someone so young could end up so radicalized.
posted by poffin boffin at 11:03 AM on June 18, 2015 [32 favorites]


When both the President and the populace feel helpless about it?
posted by infini at 11:03 AM on June 18, 2015


corb, look up the writings of Robert Pape, including The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism. (pdf) He's Professor of Political Science at Univ., Chicago, specializing in why people become suicide bombers.
posted by zarq at 11:04 AM on June 18, 2015 [9 favorites]


Rethink your argument and your position.

Well, you just made up this argument and attributed it to me, so I'm gonna pass on thinking about it yet again. Feel free to go back and read the parts of my original comment that you didn't quote (presumably because they didn't support your need for some righteousness).

Are you and roomthreeseventeen collaborating on finding the worst possible ways to interpret people's statements? It's not an excuse? Who excused anything? Who could possibly look at the above comments in this thread and think a single person here thinks this awful shit is in any way okay or excusable? Turn off the "assume worst intentions" filter for fuck's sake.
posted by phearlez at 11:07 AM on June 18, 2015 [8 favorites]


This just saddens and angers me deeply. Every time you think things might be getting better, we fall backwards.
posted by jonmc at 11:10 AM on June 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


[One comment deleted. Let's not turn this into a debate over whether it's ok for the US to have a military.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 11:10 AM on June 18, 2015



Young people are impressionable, lack perspective, and have a much poorer concept of what it is they are throwing away when they commit acts like this.


The vast majority of young people don't do this kind of thing, and they have a pretty good sense of what it means and that it's wrong. This guy does not deserve any sympathy for lacking empathy.
posted by discopolo at 11:10 AM on June 18, 2015 [4 favorites]


this guy does not deserve any sympathy.

More fabrications of things nobody here said.
posted by phearlez at 11:11 AM on June 18, 2015 [7 favorites]


The vast majority of young people don't do this kind of thing, and they have a pretty good sense of what it means and that it's wrong. this guy does not deserve any sympathy.

Jesus christ. Maybe look above at phearlez's comment about turning off your "assume worst intentions" filter. That was not a statement of sympathy. It was an answer to a question asked by another poster about why someone so young would do this.
posted by tocts at 11:12 AM on June 18, 2015 [10 favorites]


Gotcha, tocts. Sorry. I MISUNDERSTOOD!!!!
posted by discopolo at 11:17 AM on June 18, 2015


from the video of SC Senator and Reverend Honorable Clementa C. Pinckney speaking about Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church:
In the 1960s, many churches were involved, many people were involved in the life of the community and in changing lives and in changing laws and helping people to live better in our area. In a nutshell, you can say that the African American church, and in particular South Carolina, has seen as its responsibility and its ministry and its calling to be fully integrated and caring about the lives of its constituents and the general community. We don't see ourselves, or many of us don't see ourselves, as just a place where we come and worship, but as a beacon and as a bearer of the culture and a bearer of what makes us a people. But I'd like to say that this is not necessarily unique to us, it's really what America is all about. Could we not argue that America is about freedom, whether we live it out or not, but it really is about freedom, equality and the pursuit of happiness. And that's what church is all about. Freedom to worship and freedom from sin, freedom to be full what god intends us to be and have equality in the sight of god. And sometimes you got to make noise to do that. Sometimes you maybe have to die, like Denmark Vesey, to do that. Sometimes you have to march and struggle and be unpopular to do that.

[...]

There are many people who would say why would you as a preacher, why would you as a pastor be involved in public life and I've already said it but I'll say it again: Our calling is not just within the walls of the congregation, but we are part of the life and community in which our congregation resides. And so many have made great strides and we have encouraged others to do so. And even now, even though you are here, we don't like to see our church as a museum but as still a place of change and still a place where we can hopefully change and work on the hearts and minds and spirits of all people. And we hope you will find a kindred spirit here at Mother Emanuel.
RIP
posted by kliuless at 11:19 AM on June 18, 2015 [16 favorites]


And during the vigil a short time ago at the Morris Brown AME church (per the Guardian and tweets), some idiot called in a bomb threat and they evacuated everyone. They have already given the all-clear. What would possess someone to...?
posted by zachlipton at 11:19 AM on June 18, 2015


racism
posted by NoraReed at 11:21 AM on June 18, 2015 [16 favorites]


What would possess someone to...?

Yeah, some people in America are just simmering with racism, and when one racist boils over it inspires them to boil their racism over, too.
posted by 23skidoo at 11:24 AM on June 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


This just saddens and angers me deeply. Every time you think things might be getting better, we fall backwards.

Just wait until SCOTUS once again declares racism is over when they likely gut housing discrimination laws later this month. We'll be one step closer to 1861 and one further from 1968.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:28 AM on June 18, 2015 [9 favorites]


Inspired by other racists and presumably put out that folks dared to be upset by violence against black folks.
posted by phearlez at 11:30 AM on June 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


The fact that some people are trying to turn this into a " war on Christians" thing and co-opt is literally stomach turning.
posted by The Whelk at 11:30 AM on June 18, 2015 [53 favorites]




What a terrible and sad event.

I would be willing to bet that a graph of suicide bombers by age has an enormous downward curve after the early '20s.

I wonder if that is equally true for men and women, or if there is a different pattern of radicalization? And, for that matter, whether or not there is any overlap between suicide bombers and these kinds of domestic terrorists.
posted by Dip Flash at 11:32 AM on June 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


The fact that some people are trying to turn this into a " war on Christians" thing and co-opt is literally stomach turning.

Seriously. White supremacist enters black church, utters hate speech, murders nine black people: white people somehow convinced they might be the real victims here.
posted by the turtle's teeth at 11:35 AM on June 18, 2015 [48 favorites]




One of my favorite podcasts is The Dollop, a history podcast by comedians Dave Anthony and Gareth Edwards.

They recently covered Tom Dennison and the Omaha Riot, in which a drunken white mob of thousands murdered an innocent black man in Omaha under the banner of "protecting white women." Not the most hilarious podcast they've ever done, but more proof that this bullshit "reasoning" goes back for ages. As if we needed more proof .
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 11:40 AM on June 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


     .
....   ....

posted by sylvanshine at 11:41 AM on June 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
posted by mynameisluka at 11:41 AM on June 18, 2015 [7 favorites]


From ramix's link: It was the 14th time in Obama’s presidency that he was speaking out about a mass shooting.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:44 AM on June 18, 2015 [26 favorites]


Rep. John Lewis: I grew up in the rural South. Every Wednesday night as a child we went to Bible study prayer meetings. I’ve been to Charleston many, many times. I have spoken in many of these churches, and this makes my heart hurt. I feel like crying.

How many more shootings must we endure? How many more human beings must be murdered before we speak up and speak out, before we say we must put an end to gun violence.

It is not just one person pulling the trigger, it is what's in our environment, in our makeup, that drives someone to a point where they are willing to murder innocent people, of all places in the house of the Lord, studying the holy word, praying prayers of peace, love, and forgiveness.

If you cannot go to a church, or a mosque, or a temple, to study and pray, where can we turn as a nation and as a people?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:47 AM on June 18, 2015 [10 favorites]


From Jamelle Bouie at Slate: The Deadly History of "They're Raping Our Women"
posted by mhum at 11:48 AM on June 18, 2015 [5 favorites]


They recently covered Tom Dennison and the Omaha Riot

That was the subject of my play Minstrel Show. I did not discuss the Tom Dennison element in my play, because I think it is overstated in general, as well as being overstated in the podcast. There is some evidence that Dennison, Omaha's crime boss, had a hand in stirring up the crowd, and he certainly benefited from the resulting riot, but the fact is we don't have a smoking gun about his involvement, we don't know the extent of it, and it may have been minor.

Thousands of Omahans participated in the riot. I think Omaha has gravitated toward the "this was a hate crime perpetrated by a crime boss" storyline because it makes the event the product of one man, and makes the motivations a power grab, instead of racism.

The riot could have and probably would have happened without Dennison's involvement. Omahans had lynched black people before. They rioted against the Greek population just 10 years earlier. The fact is, whatever involvement Dennison had, he was simply making use of a deep well of racism that already existed in Omaha, and the event must primarily be seen as an expression of that racism, rather than an especially contemptible political ploy.
posted by maxsparber at 11:48 AM on June 18, 2015 [10 favorites]


The fact that some people are trying to turn this into a " war on Christians" thing and co-opt is literally stomach turning.

What makes my blood boil is the inherent comparison there between the alleged persecution of Christians in 21st century America with the actual racism and discrimination, not to mention, say, police shootings, that people of color continue to face regularly. It's especially stomach turning if you have even the more remote awareness of the long history of racist shootings, bombings, etc... against black churches in the South. But these idiots have their preset talking points and just plug in whatever horrific facts are in the news today to advance their agenda.

The fact that the shooter was a racist doing this for racial reasons is not some big secret we're going to have to ferret out through a massive investigation. He said "You rape our women and you're taking over our country. And you have to go." Surely he didn't mean Christians when he said "you."
posted by zachlipton at 11:55 AM on June 18, 2015 [14 favorites]


[A few comments deleted. If you're saying something that can be interpreted as grossly wildly racist, make sure to be clear that you don't agree with it - or consider not posting it at all.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 12:02 PM on June 18, 2015


On that Confederate Flag:
Last night, Haley wrote on Facebook, “We’ll never understand what motivates anyone to enter one of our places of worship and take the life of another.” Haley seems confused, or something—but the rest of us could easily leap to the possibility that a racist murderer might be highly motivated by a number of things, such as racism, as well as a desire to murder, and also maybe a governor who is like, “What I can tell you about this slave-state white supremacy symbol officially sponsored by my administration is that CEOs think it’s pretty chill.”
posted by AceRock at 12:05 PM on June 18, 2015 [8 favorites]


Shit like this is going to get worse and worse as the United States transitions into a majority minority nation, especially since the Republican Party, which has pandered to racists for decades, seems determined to keep on pandering all the way.
posted by kirkaracha at 12:10 PM on June 18, 2015 [7 favorites]


what the fuck?

.
posted by lkc at 12:12 PM on June 18, 2015


For your "reading pleasure". Twelve presidential hopefuls respond to the terror attack in Charleston.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:19 PM on June 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 12:20 PM on June 18, 2015



For your "reading pleasure". Twelve presidential hopefuls respond to the terror attack in Charleston.


They all look randomly cobbled together from a word generator with "incomprehensible" and "heartbreaking" as inputs.
posted by sweetkid at 12:24 PM on June 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


So basically, it's only the fringe candidates that gave statements longer than 140 characters, while the rest just try to blandly go through the motions?
posted by corb at 12:25 PM on June 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


Accentuating the irrationality of the Charleston news, the paper puts an ad for a gun shop on the front page today.

This was an unfortunate juxtaposition, but it reflects a sad truth. Gun sales go up after mass shootings. Next to Obama suggesting in the mildest possible terms that we should examine our gun policies, mass shootings are the best advertisement gun companies have.

I was so hopeful in the months after Sandy Hook. I'm from Newtown and my Facebook feed was full of activity regarding gun control. I mean, my classmates and our friends from the area, we donated, we lobbied, we thought we were making progress but no, Senator Turtle Head and his cronies managed to block any sensible legislation and then the pro NRA backlash began. At least one of my classmates now posts "don't take our guns" shit regularly while still keeping her "Sandy Hook - Never Forget" icon active.

And gun sales increased.

I am so sad about this latest massacre. Obviously I'm going to try to keep pushing for sensible gun laws in every way I can, but I feel like all I can offer the families of the victims are my tears and sympathy. I feel like that's all any of us are ever going to be able to offer families of victims of Gun massacres.

Because gun massacres are good for the gun business , which means they're good for the politicians who support gun businesses. There's no enormous campaign donations to be made by courting gun opponents.
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:25 PM on June 18, 2015 [9 favorites]


Ok. Let me try this again because I'm upset and shocked that my earlier comment is being characterized as "could be interpreted as grossly, wildly racist."

If you read up on.the history of the KKK there is evidence that it was founded to protect widows of dead Confederate soldiers from freed black male slaves. I am not saying they NEEDED protecting but that this was, in fact, by at least one account a founding purpose of the KKK. Which I am saying because it just supports further the contention that this killer's obsession with blacks "raping our women" not only has a long history but was shared by those who founded the most terrifying hate group in the US.
posted by jayder at 12:28 PM on June 18, 2015 [6 favorites]


Gun sales go up after mass shootings. Next to Obama suggesting in the mildest possible terms that we should examine our gun policies, mass shootings are the best advertisement gun companies have.

These are not separate. The reason gun sales go up after mass shootings is because people are anticipating stricter gun control to go into effect and are trying to beat the hammer before it drops - or they're gun speculators who know that if they buy early and wait a month, if gun control starts looking like it's actually happening, they can double their money.

So it's not like people buy more guns after shootings and also after gun control suggestions - it's the fact that they anticipate the latter when the former happens.
posted by corb at 12:30 PM on June 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


With regard to the "Confederate Flag", please remember that the Confederate States of America never used that flag. The third CSA flag incorporated it, but the "Confederate Flag" was never scraggly used as a symbol of the Confederacy.

It is, however, one of the primary flags used by the Ku Klux Klan.

It isn't a "Confederate Flag", it's the kkk flag, and every asshole flying it knows it whether they admit it or not.
posted by sotonohito at 12:39 PM on June 18, 2015 [17 favorites]




Er, not tht I'm defending the Confederacy, I just think it is both historically accurate and helps from a rhetorical stand point to properly identify that particular flag as what it is: the flag of the KKK
posted by sotonohito at 12:41 PM on June 18, 2015


From the Guardian, all 9 victims have now been identified:

Cynthia Hurd, 54
Susie Jackson, 87
Ethel Lance, 70
Rev DePayne Middleton-Doctor, 49
Hon Rev Clementa Pinckney, 41
Tywanza Sanders, 26
Rev Daniel Simmons Snr, 74 – (Only victim to die in hospital, at MUSC)
Rev Sharonda Singleton, 45
Myra Thompson, 59
posted by maggiemaggie at 12:42 PM on June 18, 2015 [18 favorites]


Rev DePayne Middleton-Doctor, 49
Hon Rev Clementa Pinckney, 41
Rev Daniel Simmons Snr, 74
Rev Sharonda Singleton, 45


That looks like he didn't just kill one preacher, but that he destroyed a significant part of the spiritual core of the community.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:48 PM on June 18, 2015 [26 favorites]


also from the Guardian link: From our crew on the scene: Charleston County building where coroner was speaking is now being evacuated due to a threat.

not the bomb threat earlier, another different threat.
posted by twist my arm at 12:49 PM on June 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


not the bomb threat earlier, another different threat.

Respect the culture!
posted by zombieflanders at 12:51 PM on June 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


I posted this on my FB:

So - Fox News wants more guns in churches, eh?

Yeah - I totally remember that verse in the Bible, when they were all chillin' in the book of Acts living in their totally Capitalist Society (which wasn't in any way a commune of dirty hippies sharing everything in common), and loaded with guns, just a waitin' for the Roman Empire to get the guns from their cold dead hands.

Yup, that was my favorite part of the Bible where the Christians never actually martyred themselves and instead they put up a brave ferocious battle with all kinds of weapons any time they felt a little afraid, because Jesus never gave them the peace that passes all understanding, no sirree, they were chickenshits right to the bloody end.

Then they died and went to heaven with Republican Jesus forever and ever amen.
posted by symbioid at 12:52 PM on June 18, 2015 [25 favorites]


Respect the culture!

Heritage*, not Hate.

*heritage of hate
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 1:04 PM on June 18, 2015


I wasn't born in the US and I am extremely thankful for the opportunities my family found here, but every fiber of my being constantly screams that enshrining the second amendment was a horrible mistake. Nonwithstanding the historical intricacies that demanded it, it is something this country I've called home for 20 years cannot seem to approach rationally.

It both saddens and enrages me that we have to witness yet another act of hateful terrorism, where all anyone is left with ends up being complete and utter helplessness. I wish we had another reason to come together and find strength in our neighbors, than grief over the dead.
posted by erratic meatsack at 1:06 PM on June 18, 2015 [4 favorites]


Let us imagine a twisted, Bizarro world in which we really _could_ take Captain Bowlcut at his word and he was striking a vengeful blow against the rapists of white women.

Whenever I think to myself "Self, who is responsible for an awful lot of raping of white women?", senior citizens, middle-aged women and Reverends always come to mind.

Even among RACISTS he was a dumb son of a bitch.
posted by delfin at 1:09 PM on June 18, 2015 [19 favorites]


Preventing the rape of white women has always been an excuse, not the actual agenda. White women have always been more likely to be raped by white men than by anyone else, and they're really unconcerned about that. The agenda of white supremacists has always been white supremacy, and the rest is just justification.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 1:12 PM on June 18, 2015 [31 favorites]


Preventing the rape of white women has always been an excuse, not the actual agenda. White women have always been more likely to be raped by white men than by anyone else, and they're really unconcerned about that.

I'd lay odds that a person with this flavor of irrational hate intersects near completely with the "that's not RAPE rape" crowd.
posted by phearlez at 1:16 PM on June 18, 2015 [5 favorites]


Even among RACISTS he was a dumb son of a bitch.

Much like ISIS committing ever increasingly atrocious acts to try to spur a US-led ground war to bring about the "end times", racists like this would love nothing more than to incite a "race war".
posted by hwyengr at 1:18 PM on June 18, 2015


...
...
...

The Second Amendment comes from a world of swords, black powder and candlelight. Although I am not a huge fan of pretending to know what the Founders would do if they were alive today, I do not believe they could even conceive of the kind of mass destruction of which a single man can make himself capable today, much less enshrine a person's right to it in law.

I wrote elsewhere: Those of us who are also white Southerners should pause and reflect today, to be sure we are committed to being better than this -- to stand up for others, to refuse to let jokes pass or to let hateful displays pass, to refuse to be unconscious of what we are and what we represent -- and above all: "God damn it, you have got to be kind."

As an ally I can't do much, but I can do what I can, quietly. A popular tweet today reads: Black church welcomes white man with open arms .he turns around and kills them.. Metaphor for our whole existence. My job, as a cracker, is not to argue or plead with that statement, but just sit with it. Sit with it, understand it, be silent before it.
posted by Countess Elena at 1:21 PM on June 18, 2015 [41 favorites]


I wasn't born in the US and I am extremely thankful for the opportunities my family found here, but every fiber of my being constantly screams that enshrining the second amendment was a horrible mistake.

Keep in mind that a major impetus for enshrining armed militias in the Constitution was a fear of slave rebellions in the South.
posted by JackFlash at 1:28 PM on June 18, 2015 [17 favorites]


The reason gun sales go up after mass shootings is because people are anticipating stricter gun control to go into effect

If 20 murdered children can't bring about any meaningful gun control, let alone the most recent massacre's nine innocent victims, then shooters know they have a free pass in this country. That ship sailed long ago.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 1:30 PM on June 18, 2015 [19 favorites]


Someone I follow on Twitter had an interesting observation.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:37 PM on June 18, 2015 [11 favorites]


If you read up on.the history of the KKK there is evidence that it was founded to protect widows of dead Confederate soldiers from freed black male slaves. I am not saying they NEEDED protecting but that this was, in fact, by at least one account a founding purpose of the KKK. Which I am saying because it just supports further the contention that this killer's obsession with blacks "raping our women" not only has a long history but was shared by those who founded the most terrifying hate group in the US.

The idea that the KKK was founded to protect anyone or anything, rather than to attack -- to threaten, to harm, to murder, in the name of restoring white supremacy -- is progaganda. It was propaganda then, it's still occasionally propaganda now, and we do a disservice to history and to modernity to suggest it was or is anything other than propaganda. What this killer had in common with the KKK is racism, and we have sufficient evidence of his racism and of his motivations without bringing the KKK into the story that I don't think it's needful to mention them, even to condemn them in the same breath, in order to understand or condemn this tragedy.
posted by cjelli at 1:41 PM on June 18, 2015 [19 favorites]


Wow, Roof's roommate sounds like a real piece of work:
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.”
It's pretty damn racist all by itself to be so monumentally indifferent that a guy who you know is arming himself and telling you his plans for starting a race war, and just not doing anything about it.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:41 PM on June 18, 2015 [49 favorites]


Corb: So basically, it's only the fringe candidates that gave statements longer than 140 characters, while the rest just try to blandly go through the motions?

Could you please not make objectively false statements?

Hillary Clinton dedicated a major portion of her address today to the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Conference today to this issue.

"We have to face hard truths about race, violence, guns and division."

"How many innocent people in our country from little children, church members to movie theater attendees, how many people do we need to see cut down before we act?"

"So as we mourn and as our hearts break a little more, we will not forsake those who have been victimized by gun violence, this time we have to find answers together."

"I pledge to you I will work with you," Clinton told the room of elected officials. "Let's unite in partnership, not just to talk but to act."
posted by JackFlash at 1:44 PM on June 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


He had been planning this for six months and his father gave him a gun 2 months ago. It does make me wonder about what his father knew.
posted by maggiemaggie at 1:45 PM on June 18, 2015 [12 favorites]


JackFlash: corb was responding to a link to Twitter statements from another person's comment.

Could you please spend a minute figuring out the context of a comment before attacking someone?
posted by Jacqueline at 1:49 PM on June 18, 2015 [4 favorites]


As far as I'm concerned, both the father and the roommate need to be charged with abetting, if they both knew of this kid's plans.
posted by Strange Interlude at 1:51 PM on June 18, 2015 [7 favorites]


"Parents are having to explain to their kids how they can go to church and feel safe, and that's not something we ever thought we'd deal with." - Gov. Nikki Haley
You can only think that if you are a moron. There were so many attacks on black churches in the 1990s (~700!) that there were congressional hearings and a task force. And that is leaving aside all of those from the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s.

Conservatives: (noun, plural) People who are bad at history.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 1:51 PM on June 18, 2015 [73 favorites]


You can only think that if you are a moron.

Or white.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 2:07 PM on June 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


...
...
...
posted by une_heure_pleine at 2:10 PM on June 18, 2015


I don't know what to think given Nikki Haley isn't technically white.
posted by infini at 2:10 PM on June 18, 2015 [4 favorites]


".... He said he was going to do something like that and then kill himself.”

But he didn't. Huh.

I don't know what to think given Nikki Haley isn't technically white.

Neither is Bobby Jindal. Conservative's gonna conservative.
posted by Melismata at 2:12 PM on June 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


I don't know what to think given Nikki Haley isn't technically white.

Yeah, I should clarify that I was agreeing that black people already know they can be killed in church, not to imply anything about Governor Haley, other than the company she keeps.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 2:16 PM on June 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


Nikki Haley grew up in a Sikh family, and I believe that I've read that she still occasionally attends Sikh religious services with her parents, so yeah, you'd think it wouldn't be a huge shock to her that people might have to worry about that.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 2:16 PM on June 18, 2015 [7 favorites]


Email just now from the Bernie Sanders campaign. Emphasis mine, because I thought the language chosen was interesting in the light of earlier discussions about framing:
Dear scrump -

What transpired in Charleston, South Carolina last night was not just a tragedy, it was an act of terror.

Nine of our fellow Americans were murdered while praying in a historic church because of the color of their skin. This senseless violence fills me with outrage, disgust, and a deep, deep sadness.

This hateful killing is a horrific reminder that, while we have made important progress in civil rights for all of our people, we are far from eradicating racism.

The Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church is one that has been attacked, burned, and rebuilt throughout its 200-year history. While their community mourns now, they will rebuild, and they will emerge stronger than before.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and their congregation. But we can add our actions to our prayers. The families and the community that have been hurt so very badly by this brutality need our help. Let us stand with them in their time of mourning.

You can help by making a donation to the Emanuel AME Church community
(donation link removed) today.

Thank you,

Bernie Sanders
posted by scrump at 2:23 PM on June 18, 2015 [40 favorites]




I'm not aiding and abetting terrorism.
posted by vibrotronica at 2:32 PM on June 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


As was the case when Mike Brown was killed, the Library of Aleph Twitter account is posting the titles of relevant images from the Library of Congress' collection:
  • [Coffin containing a child victim of the Birmingham, Alabama church bombing is being carried from church, as mourners follow]
  • "Save our land : join the Klan"
  • Ushers at the Sixth Ave. Presbyterian Church turn away three negroes who attempted to attend Easter Sunday services
To see the pictures, plug the titles into the search at LC's Prints & Photographs Online Catalog.
posted by metaquarry at 2:34 PM on June 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


So presumably you're naming institutional and cultural white supremacy within American culture then?
posted by CrystalDave at 2:35 PM on June 18, 2015 [9 favorites]


I totally remember that verse in the Bible, when they were all chillin' in the book of Acts living in their totally Capitalist Society (which wasn't in any way a commune of dirty hippies sharing everything in common), and loaded with guns, just a waitin' for the Roman Empire to get the guns from their cold dead hands.

That's actually in there.

He said to them, "But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.
posted by jpe at 2:37 PM on June 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


At the very least we've heard from two of his peers that he was openly racist, one said he talked about starting a civil war, and neither one of them seemed to think it was all that unusual.

(until he actually acted on it).
posted by maggiemaggie at 2:39 PM on June 18, 2015 [5 favorites]


“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.”

There is no ambiguity here at all: this is the dictionary definition of terrorism. Have any mainstream news sources dared to use the T word yet?
posted by George_Spiggott at 2:40 PM on June 18, 2015 [11 favorites]


Every time I read about the beautiful, beautiful lives that were stolen from this earth, I tear up. My heart breaks for the community who lost so many kind, smart, generous spirits. Horrible, horrible devastation has been wrought by an evil terrorist in the name of an evil ideology.

.........
posted by batbat at 2:42 PM on June 18, 2015 [7 favorites]


Ta-Nehisi Coates: Take Down The Confederate Flag. Now.
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.
posted by tonycpsu at 2:48 PM on June 18, 2015 [63 favorites]


Look, I know everybody's feeling fighty. I'm feeling fighty. But the people you're feeling fighty against are not here. The specific person you're feeling fighty against is in custody right now. The other people you're feeling fighty against are in the fucking Klan. This motherfucker wanted to start a race war. The best thing we can do to fight him is not start a race war. The opposite of war is not more war. It is peace. The opposite of hate is love. You want to fight the forces of hate? Use love. Race is a poisonous social construct. Deconstruct it. The fight is not between white and black, it is between those who accept and revel in the poison of hate and those who reject it.
posted by vibrotronica at 2:51 PM on June 18, 2015 [6 favorites]


So presumably you're naming institutional and cultural white supremacy within American culture then?

Honestly, the headline is waaaay more likely to get folks riled up than the subhead: Chris Crass explains the ways in which white folks nurture racism by refusing to call it by its name.
posted by Going To Maine at 2:51 PM on June 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


The best thing we can do to fight him is not start a race war. The opposite of war is not more war. It is peace.
The opposite of what this guy did is justice. The correct response to this incident is to fight for racial justice so that our society will stop killing black people.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 2:53 PM on June 18, 2015 [39 favorites]


That's actually in there.

He said to them, "But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.


And this is what came after (emphasis mine):
It is written: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors’; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfillment.”

The disciples said, “See, Lord, here are two swords.”

“That’s enough!” he replied.
posted by zombieflanders at 2:54 PM on June 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


The other people you're feeling fighty against are in the fucking Klan.

You're leaving out the much larger category of enablers and apologists who are doing their best to airbrush away the racial animus that prompted these murders. Letting these efforts at misdirection go unchallenged emboldens the killers and Klansmen.
posted by tonycpsu at 2:59 PM on June 18, 2015 [35 favorites]


The other people you're feeling fighty against are in the fucking Klan.

Defining racism by the guys who wear the hoods and shave their heads is a major reason why this keeps on happening and somewhere between 40% and 50% of Americans can't be arsed to care.
posted by zombieflanders at 3:01 PM on June 18, 2015 [53 favorites]


Every time I read about the beautiful, beautiful lives that were stolen from this earth, I tear up.

Same here.

Every life is precious, but, damn him, he killed some of the leading lights in that community, people who added to the lives of those around them every single day.

I hope that as part of the honor of their memories and as an eff you to Roof and people who think like him, the community becomes even stronger, more loving, and more supportive of each other and even more open to embracing those from outside the community. Like, seeing even more people showing up to Bible study, more interfaith events, more gatherings that include people of every race, etc.

I think that's the way we show Roof and his ilk that they don't get to win.
posted by lord_wolf at 3:02 PM on June 18, 2015 [10 favorites]


TNC, today:
Surely the flag’s defenders will proffer other, muddier, interpretations which allow them the luxury of looking away. In this way they honor their ancestors. Cowardice, too, is heritage.
posted by AceRock at 3:07 PM on June 18, 2015 [49 favorites]


I weep for the victims and their families and friends.
posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 3:12 PM on June 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


Every White Person is Aiding and Abetting Terrorism Unless Naming Institutional and Cultural White Supremacy in #Charleston

Oddly when I saw the words "institutional and cultural" in that title, I thought he was going to talk about the way that Charleston (and other coastal SC areas) exploit Gullah people for the sake of white tourism dollars, while nudging other Black people out of the touristy sections of town. I should say I haven't really explored the city, I've only been a few times, so this may be unfair, but my impression is of there being this big unseen border between the part of town where we white folks go to soak up culture and history and spend our money, and the part of town where you see Black folks who aren't selling baskets to tourists.

My point being, I guess, that yes this is a national tragedy, but it's also a very specific local tragedy in a very specific local context, and I am a little surprised not to see more of that discussed in the articles and blogs I've read so far today.
posted by mittens at 3:23 PM on June 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


I've been wondering what to do about this which has any more value than retweeting. I live in DC, which means my representative would vote the right way but that's moot because she can't, which leaves donating as the most obvious option.

I stepped up my donation to SPLC, added NAACP and, thanks to his statement earlier, Bernie Sanders.

Who should I add to that list?
posted by adamsc at 3:32 PM on June 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


"Simon Peter then, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest's slave, and cut off his right ear; and the slave's name was Malchus.

So Jesus said to Peter, "Put the sword into the sheath; the cup which the Father has given Me, shall I not drink it?"…

- John 18:10,11

it's depressing how few "christians" actually seem to know their bible
posted by pyramid termite at 3:32 PM on June 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


> The other people you're feeling fighty against are in the fucking Klan.

The struggle is not solely with and against the card-carrying Klan members and neo-Nazis, but with people like his housemate, to whom racist jokes are not something to be taken seriously. It's with politicians and pundits who spend a lot of time handwringing over what happened to our youth and how they could have gone so wrong instead of acknowledging that there is this bath of prejudice and division that we soak in from the time we're born, instead of acknowledging that other people actively and passively taught this guy that racism is acceptable and normal.

Are all the people in favor of the Confederate flag hanging at the state house in the fucking Klan? Not hardly. And yet.
posted by rtha at 3:37 PM on June 18, 2015 [33 favorites]


to whom racist jokes are not something to be taken seriously.

Racist jokes are one thing. Roof (allegedly, according to his roomate) said he was going to kill a bunch of people hoping to incite a race war.*

That this wasn't met with a JESUS FUCK WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU is... another thing entirely.

* seriously, when has that ever worked ? Like, some yahoo or other tries this every few years, and it never incites a war. Ever. Christ, every racist shitbag thinks they're the first to come up with the idea.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 3:45 PM on June 18, 2015 [12 favorites]


The Charleston shooting victims: a poet, a politician, a librarian, women of faith
Six women and three men were killed when a gunman attacked the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal church. These are their stories

posted by infini at 3:45 PM on June 18, 2015 [17 favorites]


seriously, when has that ever worked ? Like, some yahoo or other tries this every few years, and it never incites a war.

The argument can be made that there already is a race war, and black people are losing every day.

The "inciters" are ignorant of the reality of many things, not least of which is the reality of life as a black person in this country.
posted by Celsius1414 at 3:51 PM on June 18, 2015 [10 favorites]


The best thing we can do to fight him is not start a race war.

Look, I'm trying to find a nice way to say this, but it's really hard. So: maybe you aren't intending to, but you come off in your comment as either incredibly clueless, or a troll.

There is already a race war going on -- one started by white supremacists, and perpetrated against minority communities in this country. Telling the victims to "not start a race war" borders on telling a rape victim "don't make a scene about it". Minority communities have every right to be angry about this. Telling them to turn to peace and love, as if they're the ones who are perpetrating this shit, is downright offensive.
posted by tocts at 4:00 PM on June 18, 2015 [91 favorites]


vibratonica, please don't tell me you're seriously trying to do the "not all white men" thing in here.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:02 PM on June 18, 2015 [4 favorites]


Peter Tosh, 1977:

Everyone is crying out for peace, yes
None is crying out for justice
Everyone is crying out for peace, yes
None is crying out for justice

I don't want no peace
I need equal rights and justice
I need equal rights and justice
I need equal rights and justice
Got to get it, equal rights and justice


Prioritising peace is prioritising the status quo.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 4:06 PM on June 18, 2015 [21 favorites]


The reason gun sales go up after mass shootings is because people are anticipating stricter gun control to go into effect

It's comforting to know that so many irrational and paranoid people have so many guns
posted by shakespeherian at 4:12 PM on June 18, 2015 [17 favorites]


That this wasn't met with a JESUS FUCK WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU is... another thing entirely.

Seriously - and then the guy lived with him for six more months! I'd consider that worthy of breaking the lease, but hey, I'd probably have told somebody, too, so what do I know.

The opposite of war is not more war. It is peace.

I'm not religious at all, but I saw someone tweet this scripture today and it seemed very appropriate:

They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. 'Peace, peace,' they say, when there is no peace. (Jeremiah 6:14)
posted by dialetheia at 4:13 PM on June 18, 2015 [11 favorites]


That this wasn't met with a JESUS FUCK WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU is... another thing entirely.

I can imagine the conversation going something like this:

"I'm going to start a fucking race war"
"Uh, huh...can I borrow your phone charger?"

"Seriously?!"
"Seriously, I have like 10% battery left, where's your charger."

"RaHoWa is about to come down and you're talking about your stupid phone?"
"Whatever dude. Did you remember to pay the cable bill? It was due today."
posted by MikeMc at 4:16 PM on June 18, 2015 [4 favorites]




The argument can be made that there already is a race war, and black people are losing every day.

There really isn't any argument, the evidence that we've been in a race war for centuries is all around us. The flag of terrorists and traitors has not been just openly flown for 150 years, but made part of the official state flags for almost the entire former Confederacy. Parks and highways and entire towns and counties are proud to honor the cruelest dehumanizing bastards of our country's history and founders of notorius hate groups. The military trains their soldiers on bases named after people that broke their oaths of service in the name of enslaving their fellow human beings, while the names of those they sought to kill or re-enslave are forgotten and passed over. Children are taught about their by-the-bootstraps heroism and nobility in the face of scurrilous aggression of a mechanized menace, not that they betrayed their nation for thirty pieces of silver with which to buy people like they were heads of cattle. You don't even need to ask for money to perpetuate the repeatedly-disproven myths about black-on-black violence and the absentee black parent, but ask to research the impacts of firearms or a disturbing rise in the violence of white conservatives and you'll be laughed off the floor of the Capitol, if you're not smeared as a traitor to the Constitution yourself.

So, yeah, all this finger-wagging about not letting the racists start a race war? Sorry folks, the genie escaped that bottle before your great-grandparents were out of their diapers.
posted by zombieflanders at 4:25 PM on June 18, 2015 [48 favorites]


I find it remarkable that people are surprised that the confederate war flag isn't at half mast. By its very definition, that flag represents the idea that those who were killed weren't people.
posted by DoctorFedora at 4:29 PM on June 18, 2015 [14 favorites]




This cartoon from This Modern World is relevant far too often. But it is always too soon to talk about our national nightmare. TOO. SOON.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 4:53 PM on June 18, 2015 [8 favorites]


Martin Luther King, Jr. "Letter from a Birmingham Jail":
I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.”

This is what "Every White Person is Aiding and Abetting Terrorism Unless Naming Institutional and Cultural White Supremacy in #Charleston" means. It means calling for peace is not the same as calling for justice. You cannot be at peace with the institutions and culture that actively attacks you. Do not confuse calls for justice as attacking you as a person. But know that if you defend "peace" with an institution or culture that actively seeks to harm another, you are siding with that institution and culture. And if you ignore it, and do nothing? I have no nice words for you.
posted by daq at 4:59 PM on June 18, 2015 [59 favorites]


Ivan Fyodorovich: “So your argument is that the things that are undeniably and obviously terrorism (acts of non-governmental violence aimed at promoting fear in the service of political goals) that we have avoided labeling as such because it makes (some of) us uncomfortable, we shouldn't begin labeling as "terrorism" because we've been calling lots of trivial things "terrorism"?

That's dumb.”
Indeed. Which is why I just had the usual argument at the dinner table tonight.

Obviously this is terrorism, but I got told it is not, he's just "cuckoo." When I argued that the perpetrator expressed a clear political message making it textbook terrorism, I got told that then so is the armed robbery in the rich part of town last night where the two black suspects got away with $200 and some jewelry after telling the white family that they were robbing them because of "Ferguson and Baltimore." When I said a little later that eliminationist thinking doesn't solve anything, I got told, "You're not a warrior anymore." I'll leave out what got said when the President said that it's too easy for people to get a gun.

Naturally, and as usual, I'm the jerk though. That much was made clear.
posted by ob1quixote at 5:02 PM on June 18, 2015 [7 favorites]


Thus spake a Facebook friend of mine, in response to the "this is a war on Christians" malarkey:
If you also believe that this shooting should be framed in terms of the oppression of Christians, please read on: Christ often used images of fish and fishermen in his teaching. He told his disciples "I will make you fishers of men." To that end, please do the following.

1. Go to the grocery store and buy a five-pound bag of your favorite frozen fish fillet. Tilapia, haddock, doesn't matter.
2. Bring it home.
3. Hold bag firmly in front of you with both hands. If bag is small or difficult to hold, place in a larger plastic bag or tote.
4. Take a nice, comfortable stance.
5. Using a quick, strong swinging motion, drive the bag of frozen fillets into your forehead as hard as possible.
6. Repeat.
7. Repeat.
8. Repeat. You should now feel dizzy and may possibly find yourself on the floor.
9. Place all social-media-accessing devices in your possession in the sink.
10. Fill sink with water.
That was the point I told him I was going to commence formally begging him to sign up for an account here.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:09 PM on June 18, 2015 [41 favorites]


By the by, I am not just "fighty at the Klan." When you have folks telling Black Girl Scouts Protesting Animal Cruelty to ‘Go Back to Baltimore’, how is that not a race war?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 5:09 PM on June 18, 2015 [19 favorites]


I saw a bunch of discussion of the state flag and the availability of the Confederate license plate thing but the news is reporting specifically that the shooter had the Confederate license plate on his car.

My surprised face: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
posted by Justinian at 5:26 PM on June 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm kind of surprised nobody has walked onto the statehouse grounds and burned the Confederate flag. Burn that piece of crap and dare the state to prosecute you for it. I suppose that's easy to say and hard to do. It would sure be satisfying, though.
posted by Justinian at 5:41 PM on June 18, 2015 [18 favorites]


I held it together pretty well today at work until I read this, about Cynthia Hurd:
Above all, she loved connecting people to the world at large, colleagues said — but she also wasn’t above loving a stylish pair of shoes.

“She had a fierce shoe game,” said Kim Williams-Odom, a library branch manager who said Hurd, also a branch manager, mentored her career. “She was definitely a stylish lady.”
posted by sallybrown at 5:44 PM on June 18, 2015 [11 favorites]


Gee, he was apprehended without incident. The police made sure he wasn't killed or even injured. That will allow him to go into court and declare his beliefs in front of All America, get a World Class Defense Lawyer who can provide Judge and Jury with a clear justification for NOT giving him the Death Penalty, and then become a VIP among the White Supremacist gangs in prison. He has a pretty good future ahead of him, but he may have known all that before he started shooting. And now he can provide a proud example for anyone else who'd like to do the same thing... and there will be plenty.
posted by oneswellfoop at 5:57 PM on June 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


I just can't get over how much he looks like Rickety Cricket
posted by DoctorFedora at 6:01 PM on June 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I can't help but notice that when the cops arrested him somehow they didn't "fear for their lives", despite the fact that he was armed and had proven himself willing to kill. Funny that.
posted by sotonohito at 6:13 PM on June 18, 2015 [25 favorites]


This is kinda late, but also, this is not the first time that people have whipped out mental illness as an explanation for why this dude armed himself and killed people. In THIS country, it does not take non-normative cognitive conditions to make the murder of Black people seem logical. I would argue that a good many casual racists could be easily persuaded to condone a few more murders if the circumstances were right. Where the dominant cultural lens is anti-Blackness, the snuffing out of Black lives is merely an unfortunate by-product of Black people taking up space.

A good example of the mindset that could have encouraged murder is a caller on one of the recent podcast episodes of This Week in Blackness (or TWIB), one of the shows created by Elon James White. The hosts attempted to debate with an aggressive white caller who kept repeating this line about "white genocide." He argued that integration and the "forced" increased immigration from "Third World" countries led to decreasing numbers of white populations, the erosion of white communities and destruction of white culture. He felt deeply persecuted, deeply targeted, and felt that his people were under constant threat of assimilation and erasure by POC. Those sentiments are not so far removed from a lot of common attitudes about POC, Black people in particular, as to be absurd.
posted by Ashen at 6:14 PM on June 18, 2015 [10 favorites]


Justinian: “I'm kind of surprised nobody has walked onto the statehouse grounds and burned the Confederate flag. Burn that piece of crap and dare the state to prosecute you for it. I suppose that's easy to say and hard to do. It would sure be satisfying, though.”
That person should have been Nikki Haley.

P.S. I'm glad to see Maddow blurring out the perpetrator's face.
posted by ob1quixote at 6:14 PM on June 18, 2015 [6 favorites]


Yeah, I can't help but notice that when the cops arrested him somehow they didn't "fear for their lives", despite the fact that he was armed and had proven himself willing to kill. Funny that.

But if you're selling loosie cigarettes on Staten Island, they have to go with the chokehold.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:14 PM on June 18, 2015 [7 favorites]


when the cops arrested him somehow they didn't "fear for their lives",

i mean, it wasn't as if he was super dangerous, not like a (pre)teen girl at a pool party...

this fucking country.
posted by nadawi at 6:17 PM on June 18, 2015 [32 favorites]


AP: Friend says church shooting suspect ranted about race:
In recent weeks, Dylann Storm Roof reconnected with a childhood buddy he hadn't seen in five years and started railing about the Trayvon Martin case, about black people "taking over the world" and about the need for someone to do something about it for the sake of "the white race," the friend said Thursday.

[...]

"He said blacks were taking over the world. Someone needed to do something about it for the white race," Meek said. "He said he wanted segregation between whites and blacks. I said, 'That's not the way it should be.' But he kept talking about it."
Sure, Governor Haley. We will never understand what motivates anyone to do something like this. Nope. Never. It will forever remain a mystery.
posted by mhum at 6:27 PM on June 18, 2015 [6 favorites]


What's depressing about that is that there are places where someone saying 'Damn, I really want to go kill some black people next month' is so goddamned routine that nobody even really pays attention to the fact that someone said it.
posted by mikurski at 6:32 PM on June 18, 2015 [35 favorites]


The good news is that so many white guys talk like that yet never act on it. The vast majority of White Racists are all talk and no action. Although I deeply dread the likelihood that the genteel treatment of Roof will encourage many of the cowards to actually do something.
posted by oneswellfoop at 6:38 PM on June 18, 2015


"...Someone needed to do something about it for the white race,"

I have a feeling he was quite familiar with David Lane's Fourteen Words.
posted by MikeMc at 6:44 PM on June 18, 2015


Not sure what's more remarkable/depressing about this: that the president has, on average, given speeches about mass shootings twice a year for his presidency, or that the country's response has so consistently been "what a shame. Too bad that there was nothing that could be done to prevent it," like it's hurricane season or something.
posted by DoctorFedora at 6:49 PM on June 18, 2015 [6 favorites]


It is a terrible fucking day when that seems like 'good news'.
posted by jesourie at 6:49 PM on June 18, 2015 [4 favorites]


As if we needed more proof:

Dylann Roof, Suspect in Charleston Shooting, Flew the Flags of White Power [NY Times].
posted by tocts at 6:54 PM on June 18, 2015


The good news is that so many white guys talk like that yet never act on it

When I was a teenager in the South I knew a lot of guys (always guys) who talked like that, yeah. As far as I know none of them acted on it. They weren't even really what I would think of as dedicated white power kind of guys (they didnt like go to meetings or get super evangelical about it), it was just their version of stupid teenage macho-posturing shit, they would throw it out in conversations somewhat casually but had no real commitment or followup. It's super fucked up, but I can kind of understand why someone would ignore it --- I never took it as anything but stupid people saying stupid racist shit.

That was late 80's / early 90's but I'm not sure how much its changed.
posted by thefoxgod at 6:58 PM on June 18, 2015


From the Times article:
Mr. Tyler said on another occasion, the two were driving to a strip club by the zoo when Mr. Roof saw a black woman, used a racist word and said, “I’ll shoot your ass.”

“I was just like, ‘You’re stupid,’ ” Mr. Tyler said. “He was a racist; but I don’t judge people.”
I mean, if you're not going to judge someone for that, what in the hell would you possibly judge someone for? How is the next sentence, at a minimum, not "And then I got out of the car and never spoke to him again?"
posted by zachlipton at 7:01 PM on June 18, 2015 [12 favorites]




I mean, if you're not going to judge someone for that, what in the hell would you possibly judge someone for? How is the next sentence, at a minimum, not "And then I got out of the car and never spoke to him again?"

Because in much of the south, including where I grew up, many, if not most (I would say most) young white men think like that and talk like that amongst themselves, and if you are in the minority that doesn't and you speak up about it (hell, if you quietly demur) you are liable to, in the best case, be ostracized, or, more likely, get your ass whooped.

Most of the people that you know growing up that talked like that have more self restraint than to go on a murder spree, though, as much as they'd like to; they become judges and lawyers and businesspeople instead.
posted by junco at 7:11 PM on June 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


And cops, of course.
posted by junco at 7:12 PM on June 18, 2015 [11 favorites]


I actually feel a little bad for Joseph Meek, though, who was worried enough to take Roof's gun but then put it back because Meek was on probation and didn't want to get in trouble for gun possession. He's also the person who called authorities after he saw the surveillance video and told them it was Roof. He feels guilty, and he probably should feel guilty, but I have no idea what he should have done in that situation. I don't have a lot of confidence that if some kid with a criminal record called the cops and said that a guy he knew was saying crazy racist shit and had a gun, the cops would take it at all seriously. I mean, Elliot Rodger's parents contacted the police and said that he had filmed YouTube videos that talked about his plans to kill women, and the police went and talked to Rodger and decided everything was fine.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 7:23 PM on June 18, 2015 [19 favorites]


I have a feeling he was quite familiar with David Lane's Fourteen Words.

Can we not use this space to free-associate on random white supremacist things we could publicize?
posted by threeants at 7:36 PM on June 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


Whenever an evil little fuck does something like this, you have a parade of other evil little fucks (e.g. the NRA board member tonycpsu links to above) come slithering out of their morally corrupt little burrows to spout some vile gibberish. It just goes on and on and on, a mass shooting followed by media frenzy followed by some kind of committee having some kind of "debate" and then nothing. It's all so stupid and predictable.

This fucking species, man. Just an irreparably scratched record pumping out poison along with the noise. Holy shit. It is boring. An unending thread of fuckups and morons and scumbags pissing the colour off the face of the planet. Do something new!
posted by turbid dahlia at 7:38 PM on June 18, 2015 [7 favorites]


Does anyone know which states fly the Confederate flag? Between the current news about South Carolina and the Supreme Court case, I can't find a list anywhere.
posted by andoatnp at 7:54 PM on June 18, 2015


I'm actually kind of surprised that the Republican governor of Massachusetts, Charlie Baker, ended up having to walk back his comments about how states should be able to determine what flags fly if some of them want to fly the stars and bars.
posted by rmd1023 at 8:00 PM on June 18, 2015


I'm kind of surprised nobody has walked onto the statehouse grounds and burned the Confederate flag.

Meetup?
posted by Jacqueline at 8:11 PM on June 18, 2015 [23 favorites]


[oh God no please don't start a debate about the legality of the Civil War right now, my heart can't take it. Thanks. ]
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 8:20 PM on June 18, 2015 [41 favorites]


It's Not All About Mental Illness: The Big Lie That Always Follows Mass Shootings by White Males
Even when violence stems purely from delusion in the mind of someone who’s genuinely totally detached from reality–which is extremely rare–that violence seems to have a way of finding its way to culturally approved targets. Yeah, most white supremacists aren’t “crazy” enough to go on a shooting spree, most misogynists aren’t “crazy” enough to murder women who turn them down, most anti-government zealots aren’t “crazy” enough to shoot up or blow up government buildings.

But the “crazy” ones always seem to have a respectable counterpart who makes a respectable living pumping out the rhetoric that ends up in the “crazy” one’s manifesto–drawing crosshairs on liberals and calling abortion doctors mass murderers–who, once an atrocity happens, then immediately throws the “crazy” person under the bus for taking their words too seriously, too literally.

And the big splashy headliner atrocities tend to distract us from the ones that don’t make headline news. People are willing to call one white man emptying five magazines and murdering nine black people in a church and openly saying it was because of race a hate crime, even if they have to then cover it up with the fig leaf of individual “mental illness”–but a white black man wearing a uniform who fires two magazines at two people in a car in a “bad neighborhood” in Cleveland? That just ends up a statistic in a DoJ report on systemic bias.

And hundreds of years of history in which an entire country’s economy was set up around chaining up millions of black people, forcing them to work and shooting them if they get out of line? That's just history.
posted by ActionPopulated at 8:31 PM on June 18, 2015 [12 favorites]


.
posted by homunculus at 8:42 PM on June 18, 2015


Not at all trying to minimize all of the other horrible reasons this occurred, but why the HELL weren't this kid's issues OBVIOUS to someone in his life, starting with his parents?

Adam Lanza, Rodger Elliot, now this guy. I mean, fuck, this kid SCREAMS "issues" just looking at him, yet his parents gave him a gun? Seriously, no one in this kid's life even once thought "Gee this guy almost completely fits the profile of disturbed mass murderers to a T?" Not one person, once, ever?? What the fuck?!

This is not rocket science by now. If your teenage/early 20s son is dropping out of school, doing drugs, spending time on creepy internet hate group websites, doesn't groom himself, has no friends or girlfriend or job, and seems to have serious emotional issues connecting with other people...TAKE IT SERIOUSLY! Fuck! Fucking hell! There is an OBVIOUS pattern! Wake up! Is this just "not my boy" denialism or something? Should parents just be given a pass for utter and complete blindness?
posted by quincunx at 8:57 PM on June 18, 2015 [5 favorites]


Is this just "not my boy" denialism or something?

I'm not a parent, but I think that expecting parents to not sub-consciously avoid thinking of their child as a potential mass murderer is asking for a heck of a lot of mental work. (Parents, feel free to correct me…) "TAKE IT SERIOUSLY" is one of those things where one person's "I'm being serious" is another person's "I'm doing nothing."
posted by Going To Maine at 9:03 PM on June 18, 2015


I need us all to be clear on this.
Dylann Roof is a man. A grown man.
Do not call him a kid or a boy.

- @ShaunKing
[link contains picture of dylann roof]
posted by nadawi at 9:12 PM on June 18, 2015 [10 favorites]


Charles P. Pierce: Charleston Shooting: Speaking the Unspeakable, Thinking the Unthinkable
In which we confront the dark heart of America. Again.
posted by Devils Rancher at 9:22 PM on June 18, 2015 [8 favorites]




this kid SCREAMS "issues" just looking at him, yet his parents gave him a gun?

The NYT article says Roof bought the gun with money his parents gave him for his birthday. Also, it says
people who knew [Roof] said that in recent months, a young man they described as extremely shy had begun to harbor racist views and make increasingly violent statements about attacking black people.
It's possible that he's been like that a long time; it's possible it developed recently. We'll probably learn more over the coming weeks or months.
posted by Joe in Australia at 9:30 PM on June 18, 2015


Jon Stewart's commentary (excerpt) (full video) is extraordinary and it's incredibly sad that more in the media couldn't manage to say something similar today:
I have nothing other than just sadness that once again we have to peer into the abyss of the depraved violence that we do to each other, and the nexus of a just gaping racial wound that will not heal but we pretend doesn’t exist.
...
If this had been what we thought was Islamic terrorism … we invaded two countries and spent trillions of dollars and thousands of American lives, and now fly unmanned death machines over, like, five or six different countries. All to keep Americans safe. We’ve got to whatever we can. We’ll torture people.
Nine people. Shot in a church. What about that? Eh. What are you gonna do? Crazy is as crazy is, right?
That’s the part that I cannot for the life of me wrap my head around.
...
The confederate flag flies over South Carolina. And the roads are named for confederate generals. And the white guy’s the one who feels like his country’s being taken away from him.
posted by zachlipton at 9:53 PM on June 18, 2015 [62 favorites]


I just got into an argument on Facebook with someone who tried to tell me that the difference in the Eric Garner and Dylan Roof arrests lay in the former being "combative" while the latter wasn't. Sometimes I can't quite believe I inhabit the same planet as other people.
posted by bardophile at 10:29 PM on June 18, 2015 [8 favorites]


The fight is not between white and black, it is between those who accept and revel in the poison of hate and those who reject it.

Yeah. Tell them that. Y'know, the murderers. The racists. The ones who preach the hate. Because as far as I can tell, fighting it with love just leads to more dead people.
posted by qcubed at 10:29 PM on June 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


zachipton, thanks for posting that Jon Stewart video.
posted by goofyfoot at 10:30 PM on June 18, 2015




It's Not All About Mental Illness: The Big Lie That Always Follows Mass Shootings by White Males

Arthur Chu has been producing some fucking excellent pieces lately.
posted by NoraReed at 11:03 PM on June 18, 2015 [7 favorites]


. . .
. . .
. . .
posted by otherchaz at 11:17 PM on June 18, 2015


Holy shit. Apparently, even O'Reilly is calling this an act of terror. I haven't seen the whole context, just a pic of him in front of his stupid Talking Points box, but it plainly says this is no different than ISIS or al Qaeda killing people for who they are.

Stopped clocks, I guess.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 12:09 AM on June 19, 2015 [4 favorites]


This is one of the occasions when I wish I was swimming in money. If I was, I would book a flight down to SC and show up at that church to offer hugs to anyone who would accept one. And then I would set up a foundation for every victim to help their children and relatives.

Damn, the world is going to hell.
posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 1:41 AM on June 19, 2015 [4 favorites]


Holy shit. Apparently, even O'Reilly is calling this an act of terror. I haven't seen the whole context, just a pic of him in front of his stupid Talking Points box, but it plainly says this is no different than ISIS or al Qaeda killing people for who they are.

Stopped clocks, I guess.


Don't worry, he also said it was a "lie" to claim that this demonstrates that America is a country of "racial animus," then claimed that we're freer than other countries, and then started talking about federalism for some reason. This is O'Reilly's regular move where he says one totally non-arguable thing that he thinks represents "the left," then takes a hard turn right and announces how balanced he's being.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 5:25 AM on June 19, 2015


Well somebody is burning a Confederate flag. Good.
posted by harriet vane at 5:46 AM on June 19, 2015 [9 favorites]


I just had to explain to someone that the confederate flag, in any of its forms, is yes, truly a symbol of slavery because it's only purpose was to denote the Confederacy who THOUGHT SLAVERY WAS AWESOME. They said that symbols in themselves can't be "bad", because the swastika was Sanskrit. I'm like well, the only reason the Confederate flag exists is BECAUSE OF THE CONFEDERACY who became that BECAUSE THEY THOUGHT SLAVERY WAS AWESOME. It wasn't just out in the wild and someone said, hey that looks like a neato symbol, let's take that.

It's only 8:46 am here. It's way too early to have to be using all caps in a fb argument over something that is really not too hard to comprehend, unlike some of the more controversial and difficult topics that have been in the news the last few months.

Seriously. This one is easy. This is the Freshman 101 easy-pass class.

Why is it so hard for people to understand this?
posted by sio42 at 5:49 AM on June 19, 2015 [13 favorites]


Am I being oversensitive, or is anyone else bothered by the way Jon Stewart ended that piece? He says:
The confederate flag flies over South Carolina. And the roads are named for confederate generals. And the white guy is the one who feels like his country is being taken away from him. We’re bringing it on ourselves. And that’s the thing—al Qaeda, ISIS, they’re not shit compared to the damage we can do to ourselves on a regular basis.
Like...who is the "WE" there, and who is the "OURSELVES"? Because the nine people in that church were not the people who that confederate flag is meant to make feel good. Those nine people were part of a group whose ancestors were viewed as property by Confederate flag wavers, and who even today are systematically disenfranchised (affecting their ability to remove Confederate flag wavers from office) and have to worry about being shot on sight by government agents (police). So who is bringing what on whom, again?
posted by sallybrown at 5:56 AM on June 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


Why is it so hard for people to understand this?

I know you're asking this rhetorically, but I think the answer is kind of important to keep in mind. We (white people in general, white southerners in particular) have a vested interest in not looking racist. In keeping racism defined as something practiced by individuals rather than systems. Overt racism is a class marker down here. If we can define racists as being like the klan, or this killer, or rednecks, we believe we are keeping our hands clean. Our words, actions, ability to prosper, are certainly not racist, because look at those examples of trash. In a sense we're outsourcing the violent underpinnings of racial power, which helps us ignore the policy underpinnings.

The flag then, as a symbol of both the violence and the policy, has different meanings for people. If you've convinced yourself that you're not racist and so you aren't part of the problem, then the flag can be a symbol for you of heritage--and a very specific heritage, one that is based on really thinking of yourself as a postcolonial people: The white southern country as an invaded, occupied land, your language derided, your people denied prosperity. The flag is a powerful symbol of assumed victimhood. You pile enough layers of meaning on top of it, and for the average southerner who puts a flag bumper sticker on his truck, it is not consciously meant as a statement of racist intent, but of solidarity with a carefully sanitized past.

I think that explains why white southerners are so uncomfortable talking about the racism behind the flag. We're so careful to hide it from ourselves, it can be shocking and uncomfortable to be confronted with our complicity--even just on a symbolic, bumper-sticker level--with the hate that drives it all. And when sheer evil erupts like in Charleston, we find ourselves absolutely unable to comprehend or discuss it (seriously, if you ever wanted a "don't read the comments" example, our local newspapers fit the bill right now) in any useful way because we're veering between shock and an absolute refusal to look at our own guilt.
posted by mittens at 6:17 AM on June 19, 2015 [63 favorites]


Like...who is the "WE" there, and who is the "OURSELVES"?


I think it's pretty clear that he means the damage Americans do to America and Americans, as contrasted with the damage that foreigners do/have done.
posted by bardophile at 6:26 AM on June 19, 2015 [19 favorites]


Thank you, mittens. I was asking rhetorically but I'm glad you answered.
posted by sio42 at 6:27 AM on June 19, 2015


I'm kind of surprised nobody has walked onto the statehouse grounds and burned the Confederate flag. Burn that piece of crap and dare the state to prosecute you for it.

One does not simply walk onto the Statehouse grounds and burn the confederate flag. It flies on patrolled grounds at the top of a pole 50 or 60 feet high. Mind you, not that that's stopped people. Last guy who tried, as I recollect, clumb up that ol' pole with a cop in hot pursuit behind him. A cop who somehow had never learned that you shouldn't try to mace someone above you.

<Buford T. Justice>"What we're dealing with here is a complete lack of respect for the law!"</Buford T. Justice>
posted by octobersurprise at 6:31 AM on June 19, 2015 [14 favorites]


I give every month to the Southern Poverty Law Center because they are the main group in the United States that takes white nationalism (the pool of hatred in which this terrorist seethed) seriously. They track the hate groups and name them and oppose them. We need to take this as deadly serious. White nationalism is literally the breeding ground for many more of these attacks, and while they may be on the fringes they can hop right into the spotlight. So if you want to do something constructive from this, you could do a lot worse than supporting the SPLC.
posted by graymouser at 6:36 AM on June 19, 2015 [28 favorites]


Dylann Roof "almost didn't go through with it because everyone was so nice to him."

Why conservatives should hate the Confederate flag <---- a good article to share with conservatives -- written by a prominent conservative author
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 6:39 AM on June 19, 2015 [7 favorites]


I've held it together the last couple days, the link above about the murderer who "almost didn't go through with it because everyone was so nice to him" just pushed me over the edge here. I'll sit here at my desk and sob for awhile now.
posted by marxchivist at 6:44 AM on June 19, 2015 [15 favorites]




That really hits me in the gut. He went into that church, was welcomed, sat there with his victims for an hour, and then decided to stick to his plan of murdering them. I just can't even begin to comprehend that.
posted by Kitteh at 7:03 AM on June 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


That's not to discount @TheDailyShow /Jon Stewart. Just to say: don't wait for a white voice to tell you what black voices have been saying.

Thank you for sharing that -- my Facebook feed is pretty much covered in photos of Jon Stewart this morning, and it felt weird to me, and I couldn't pinpoint why.
posted by jaguar at 7:04 AM on June 19, 2015 [4 favorites]


That Flag Won't Lower Itself
Progressives were very quick to announce boycotts of Indiana earlier this year when the state enacted its anti-gay Religious Freedom Restoration Act. So why not revive a widespread South Carolina boycott right now? When is the right time, if not at this moment?

It would be an ugly fight. It would inspire a nasty backlash. But we elected a black president twice. Maybe now we could resist the force of that backlash.

Effects of the original boycott are still being felt, but the effectiveness is limited. (The NCAA still bans tournament games in South Carolina, but bent the rules to permit one this year.)

So let's bring the boycott back, full force.
posted by tonycpsu at 7:46 AM on June 19, 2015 [13 favorites]


Progressives were very quick to announce boycotts of Indiana earlier this year when the state enacted its anti-gay Religious Freedom Restoration Act. So why not revive a widespread South Carolina boycott right now?

For the record, I never actually ended my own personal boycott of South Carolina (which is a shame, as I've considered visiting Hilton Head a couple times, then looked at a map and thought "well shoot"). Some people are just quiet about their own activism.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:52 AM on June 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


Does anyone know which states fly the Confederate flag? Between the current news about South Carolina and the Supreme Court case, I can't find a list anywhere.

I think South Carolina is the only state which flies it quite so conspicuously, but Texas still uses it as a part of a "six flags over Texas" thing that's on the reverse of seal and displayed in some other official capacities. It's also contained in the Alabama Coat of Arms. The state flag of Mississippi incorporates the Confederate battle flag in the canton, and the flag of Georgia is based on the first Confederate national flag (the Stars and Bars) rather than the battle flag. There's some evidence that the flags of Alabama and Florida are designed to replicate the battle flag, but it's less clear cut historically, I believe. The flag of Arkansas contains a star that's designed to represent the Confederacy, and the general pattern (repeating white stars on blue) is very reminiscent of the battle flag, although I'm not sure if that's ever been documented.

I'm sure there are localities which fly it, as well, but that's the state level information I'm aware of.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 7:54 AM on June 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


fwiw - raised and living in arkansas - every time i see the flag i think, "man, that's like the confederate flag for people who have just enough sense to not fly the confederate flag." of course, some of the citizens of my state don't even have that much sense...
posted by nadawi at 8:00 AM on June 19, 2015


I feel like the flag discussion is kind of a distraction. I mean yes, it's disgusting and racist, but I'm afraid it's too easy to then compartmentalize this act as "Oh, that would only happen in south carolina!! Everywhere else isn't as racist as South Carolina, so we're cool!"

There are already a million ways people try to deflect and deny that racism and gun violence aren't national and pervasive problems.
posted by nakedmolerats at 8:06 AM on June 19, 2015 [6 favorites]


whether people use it for deflection or not the flag has got to go. i mean people in the south use "there are racists everywhere, not just here" as a deflection, so...
posted by nadawi at 8:09 AM on June 19, 2015 [9 favorites]


I feel like the flag discussion is kind of a distraction. I mean yes, it's disgusting and racist, but I'm afraid it's too easy to then compartmentalize this act as "Oh, that would only happen in south carolina!! Everywhere else isn't as racist as South Carolina, so we're cool!"

It's highly relevant to this particular event, and as a symbol it represents a lot of what both the former Confederacy and other places use as excuses for their racism. The rhetoric behind "state's rights," hateful speech and actions without consequences, rewriting history to bring back laws allowing racism and discrimination to flourish, and striking down laws that righted those wrongs are all integral parts of the attacks from those in power. I think it's extremely important we don't let the modern-day inheritors of the Confederacy in word and deed distance themselves from that. If they want to use the same excuses against women and LGBT people and other PoC as the Confederate flag-wavers did against black people, make them fucking own it.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:23 AM on June 19, 2015 [10 favorites]




(Here is the WSJ article they are referring to)
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:33 AM on June 19, 2015 [1 favorite]




I don't like the flag and agree that it shouldn't be around. But I'm wary of any big push to get rid of it or remove it from official state flags or similar. The allegiance to the ideas represented in that flag are the more dangerous and enduring artifacts that need to be dealt with.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:40 AM on June 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


why can't we deal with the ideas and get rid of the flags? i mean, so far we're doing neither, so working on one or both seems like a step forward.
posted by nadawi at 8:43 AM on June 19, 2015 [6 favorites]


Many Ask, Why Not Call Church Shooting Terrorism?, in which the NY Times reviews the non-use of the word "terrorism" by the media without actually acknowledging their own non-use of the term.
posted by Rumple at 8:43 AM on June 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


The allegiance to the ideas represented in that flag are the more dangerous and enduring artifacts that need to be dealt with.

Except that the flag flies over our government. Which means, by default, that the things that he flag stands for, those dangerous ideas, are what our government stands for.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:44 AM on June 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


I'm just saying I personally don't want the flag discussion in the media to overshadow the horrifying fact that South Carolina isn't special here. I would have been horrified, but not any more "surprised" , to read yesterday that this happened in any other state. Every state in America has a pervasive problem with racism. South Carolina may be more open with this particular symbol, but the symbols are fucking everywhere and they're called "American culture".

I personally worry that just as much of the media trumpeted that Obama's election=racism over, it's easy for the flag to become "the issue" to be removed and thus "solved", in the public mind. Instead of saying "this shitty flag represents 400 years of shitty ideas and taking it down is just the smallest, easiest part."

It's mostly a problem of how the media presents it to me.
posted by nakedmolerats at 8:45 AM on June 19, 2015 [4 favorites]




the media is going to fuck this up. they already are. they will not acknowledge their role in fanning the fires of this murderer's beliefs. i think we can condemn him and also give a hearty "what the fuck" to south carolina about the flag. it's not like the objection to the flag happened because of this - that's been an on going thing - and people are saying, "ok, is now the time to take it down? if not now, when?" it's like how after every spree murder committed by a white man people say "now is not the time to talk about gun control" well why the fuck not? if we don't talk about the things that support this, and guns and states so racist they still fly the flags of the confederacy absolutely supported this, then we'll just keep repeating it.

yes - racism all over. yes - the racism is the real problem. yes - some people not in the south look down their noses at the south because they don't think they're as racist. none of these are arguments for just letting the flag discussion go. the flag needs to come down.
posted by nadawi at 8:55 AM on June 19, 2015 [5 favorites]


Larry Wilmore on the contortions conservatives go to in order to color this as an attack on faith instead of an attack on race.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:56 AM on June 19, 2015 [9 favorites]


I don't like the flag and agree that it shouldn't be around. But I'm wary of any big push to get rid of it or remove it from official state flags or similar. The allegiance to the ideas represented in that flag are the more dangerous and enduring artifacts that need to be dealt with.

I concur in theory, but am coming to think that the flying of the flag has come to occupy the space that use of n----- or racist jokes did. It's what we should be thinking of (in my not so humble opinion) as a leading indicator of crappy behavior. Call it a gateway hate or a dog whistle of like-mindedness, whatever. But letting it air out without pushback helps normalize a "low level" bigotry (if anything can be such a thing) and sets a boundary. I want that boundary pushed back even further, and I think pushing on it is a necessary part of pushing on those ideas.
posted by phearlez at 8:59 AM on June 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


It's so horrible that what should be a happy anniversary of the 150th Juneteenth is being overshadowed by another painful reminder of how racist America is and can be.
posted by DynamiteToast at 9:00 AM on June 19, 2015 [11 favorites]


The idea that bringing down the flag of treason and slavery from over a statehouse is incompatible with the broader fight against racism, white supremacy and white nationalism is, frankly, the kind of attitude you get from spending too much time trying to triangulate and hone every political message. The reality is that pulling down that goddamn rag would be a concrete, visible victory over racism and hatred, and the kind of thing that will fuel more and better anti-racist work. You need a movement for this, and movements thrive on tangible objectives and real victories. Bring. It. Down.
posted by graymouser at 9:01 AM on June 19, 2015 [19 favorites]


"...but by some 'problem that defies explanation beyond the reality that evil still stalks humanity.'"

Insert the familiar Le Joueur généreux quote from Baudelaire about the devil. There he is, right behind them, hidden in their very words!

"Dylann Roof 'almost didn't go through with it because everyone was so nice to him.'"

This makes it crystal clear that it was a terrorist act. There is a mistaken popular equivalence made in this country between the crazed, murderous madman and the "terrorist". But while some terrorists are crazed, murderous madmen, that doesn't define terrorism nor are all terrorists like that. Ultimately, terrorism is violence enacted to incite terror in service to a political goal (conveniently, according to some, excluding state violence).

Roof made it clear what his position and goal was, his act intended to incite terror, and it was murderously violent. Moreover, by his own admission he was not motivated by personal animosity against the victims, nor was he in the thrall of some indiscriminate rage. His decision and his act was in the purest sense political, he announced at the scene that it was about political power in America.

This was terrorism if ever anything has been terrorism. It was racist terrorism.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 9:01 AM on June 19, 2015 [34 favorites]


. . . . . . . . .
posted by dawkins_7 at 9:02 AM on June 19, 2015


What is it with the inability of so many people in this country to admit that racism is a thing?

In addition to some of the reactions to this horrifying incident, I can recall things like the post here on MeFi about a year ago with a study showing how applications and resumes with black-sounding names were more likely to be rejected or ignored than identical documents with non black-sounding names, and there were a handful of people who felt like they had to go into the thread and claim that despite appearances race had nothing to do with the matter. Why was it so important to deny racism there?

And after every incident of police brutality, people rush to Facebook and news sites to remind us that none of us were there, and we can't say for sure what happened, but race absolutely, 100 -- no, 1000 -- percent, completely, truly and wholly had nothing to do with it.

Getting some Americans to cop to racism being a fact of life is like trying to get the Fonz to apologize. "It was r-r-r-r-r-r-r.... Nope, can't say it, won't say it."

What do they think is going to happen if they admit there's active, virulent racism infecting this country? Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton automatically and irrevocably get made co-Presidents for Life? Every white person has to give every black person they encounter $5 and a cold beer whenever they see one of us?

I really wish I understood more about what folks think it will cost them to come clean about racism.
posted by lord_wolf at 9:03 AM on June 19, 2015 [42 favorites]


Larry Wilmore on the contortions conservatives go to in order to color this as an attack on faith instead of an attack on race.

Just to hammer that segment (the beginning in particular) home: Jeb [Bush] on #CharlestonShooting: “I don't know what was on the mind or the heart of the man who committed these atrocious crimes.”
posted by zombieflanders at 9:04 AM on June 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


I've said it before, and I'll say it again. Americans seem to like big, dramatic victories, where they can unfurl gigantic "Mission Accomplished" banners and walk away all proud and shit about what they've done.

We did that with the election of Barack Obama, and defeated Racism. If we elect Hillary, we'll do it again, and say we defeated Sexism.

Of course, it's all bullshit. The real world is filled with complexities and facing that would be a collective shock that would explode the exceptional bubble of "Exceptionalism" we've made for ourselves, and so in cowardice, we'll twist the truth and avert our eyes from it, just so we can pretend in a polite fiction to ourselves that WE DID IT with balloons and streamers, even if we haven't.

We're not exceptional, we Americans. We're lazy cowards, because if we were fucking exceptional, we'd actually try to do shit about this. But we're not going to.
posted by qcubed at 9:11 AM on June 19, 2015 [8 favorites]


What is it with the inability of so many people in this country to admit that racism is a thing?

What do they think is going to happen if they admit there's active, virulent racism infecting this country? Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton automatically and irrevocably get made co-Presidents for Life? Every white person has to give every black person they encounter $5 and a cold beer whenever they see one of us?


[emphasis mine] I think the giving every black person $5 is a large part of it. A lot of racists already feel black people are leeching off of taxpayers (food stamps, affirmative action, etc.) and an open admission of systemic racism in this country means more tax dollars would go toward programs that benefit minorities. And I really think the core bottom-line issue with a lot of people is wanting to have more money for themselves and being afraid minorities are getting more than their "fair share."
posted by marxchivist at 9:16 AM on June 19, 2015 [10 favorites]


Helpful link for anyone who has to show it was all about slavery. Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia all issued declarations of secession. All of them specifically referenced slavery.

Virginia alone offered some passive-aggressive language, referring to "not only to the injury of the people of Virginia, but to the oppression of the Southern Slaveholding States," rather than specifically defending the institution itself.

Texas, for what it's worth, cited more reasons than just slavery. They complained about Mexicans and Indians, too.

Lots to be proud of there, huh?
posted by scaryblackdeath at 9:17 AM on June 19, 2015 [20 favorites]


We're not exceptional, we Americans. We're lazy cowards, because if we were fucking exceptional, we'd actually try to do shit about this. But we're not going to.'

Some Americans are fucking exceptional. It sounds like State Senator Clementa Pinckney was a fucking exceptional person.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:18 AM on June 19, 2015 [5 favorites]


Giving your son a gun when he was just arrested a month ago... That's silly.

It's also illegal.
posted by likeatoaster at 9:20 AM on June 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


Some Americans are fucking exceptional. It sounds like State Senator Clementa Pinckney was a fucking exceptional person.

Okay, you're right. Sorry. #NotAllAmericans.
posted by qcubed at 9:30 AM on June 19, 2015


What is it with the inability of so many people in this country to admit that racism is a thing?
There's what marxchivist said and there's the fact that it's a really big "thing." It's an enormous, impossible, unfixable wrong that if you admitted it and your part in it, you'd have to go a long way past $5 and a sixer. You'd have to empty your bank account and open your safety deposit box and your house and car and shoot yourself on your front lawn. Guillotine. Which is why the president of the confederacy was shucking and jiving with zingers like that the god-decreed natural state of black people was subjugation to tobacco farmers or whatever when he knew perfectly well that we went to Africa in ships and deliberately removed black people from their "natural state." That's why that monster did what he did after he almost didn't do it. If he'd allowed himself to feel normally and see clearly and understand, he'd've had to admit that he's a monster, born of monsters, living a monstrous life. Nobody feels like doing that of a Thursday, least of all Santorum et alia.
posted by Don Pepino at 9:31 AM on June 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


This kid wasn't born evil. We don't know exactly what pushed him to mass murder...his parents, his peers, whatever, but he was taught to hate this much. When a Muslim kid does something like this they say he was "radicalized" and they seek out his mosques and Imams and every other Muslim he ever associated with and blame them with breeding terrorism. The same thing needs to be done here.
The KKK should now be considered a terrorist organization. All white supremacist books, magazines, websites, YouTube videos and all other media needs to be considered pro-terrorist propaganda and outlawed. Treat the KKK the way they now treat ISIS.

In the mean time, the flags need to go. Either directly with organized mass marches to pull them down or through pressured corporate divestment from all states that fly them. Preferably both.
posted by rocket88 at 9:32 AM on June 19, 2015 [13 favorites]



I'm on the same side as others. I think the flag should be removed, discussed, etc. I feel like I posted a reasonable opinion that it is worrisome that "the flag" will become "the issue" , just as we see that "the lone deranged wolf" is the constant media depiction of shooters. And that in fact the media may have interests in giving more air time to "the flag issue" instead of guns, or terrorism.

But if we're going to say that yes we can and should talk about racism AND the flag and we can talk about lots of things at once, then hell yes one of those things should be what's behind the media fucking it up and calling them out on it.

There is obviously a cornucopia of shitty shit going on here and I think reasonable people can disagree somewhat on which shitty thing(s) should be on the agenda first. I don't think I'm being anti-the-good-fight for suggesting that media has limited bandwidth to create a narrative and it's not ridiculous to be concerned with which narrative they're choosing.
posted by nakedmolerats at 9:39 AM on June 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


I've seen a lot of folks ironically asking "WHERE WAS THIS GUY RADICALIZED", but looking at it as an actual question, I'm gonna guess the real answer includes reddit and 4chan.

Also, I am sadly unsurprised that I was right that he has said that he did it because he wanted to incite race war.
posted by rmd1023 at 9:41 AM on June 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


What do they think is going to happen if they admit there's active, virulent racism infecting this country?

If it's anything like what the anti-suffragists were worried about a century ago, they think that black people will be allowed to treat white people as badly as whites have been treating them.
posted by Rangi at 9:42 AM on June 19, 2015 [4 favorites]




I had fb person try to pull the " the reason for the war is highly debated" thing. He actually wrote those words. And when i replied with you know, history, he said "you seem upset?"

I managed to not swear in my reply. But it ended with "and you're not"

I don't know anyone could calmly, dispassionately discuss anything regarding the the flag, the war, the south, slavery, or race relations and not be upset right now.

I'm glad my fb is mostly an echo chamber and that i only see idiots like this on friends' poets.

I think my heart and head would explode if I had to deal with that all day in my feed.
posted by sio42 at 9:43 AM on June 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


All white supremacist books, magazines, websites, YouTube videos and all other media needs to be considered pro-terrorist propaganda and outlawed. Treat the KKK the way they now treat ISIS.

That implies that the way they treat ISIS - which doesn't even go quite that far - is a good and worthy way to treat things. We can fight religious terrorism without outlawing radical religious speakers, racism without outlawing the freedoms of the press and of speech. You don't have to send people to jail in order to isolate them, to make them irrelevant.
posted by corb at 9:44 AM on June 19, 2015


Apparently Roof is a My Little Pony fan.

Just to be clear, that was Photoshopped.
posted by Rangi at 9:45 AM on June 19, 2015 [6 favorites]




We can fight religious terrorism without outlawing radical religious speakers, racism without outlawing the freedoms of the press and of speech.

How?
Serious question.
posted by rocket88 at 9:49 AM on June 19, 2015


I concur in theory, but am coming to think that the flying of the flag has come to occupy the space that use of n----- or racist jokes did. It's what we should be thinking of (in my not so humble opinion) as a leading indicator of crappy behavior. Call it a gateway hate or a dog whistle of like-mindedness, whatever. But letting it air out without pushback helps normalize a "low level" bigotry (if anything can be such a thing) and sets a boundary. I want that boundary pushed back even further, and I think pushing on it is a necessary part of pushing on those ideas.

This is right. I grew up in the South. The Confederate Flag is everywhere. As a kid I was a flag nerd and a history nerd and I had an entire book devoted the Confederate Flags; I collected little flags and I had a bunch of tiny Confederate flags of various types. Eventually I grew up, and I grew out of this, and started seeing history for what it is, rather than what I had been told it was, but it's a process; taking the flag out of the public square will put people a little further along in that process than they would otherwise be. That's only considering what the constant Confederate flag waiving does to white people too.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 9:50 AM on June 19, 2015 [8 favorites]


There seem to be two narratives pushed by the media -- that Roof was a "lone wolf" who had totally unique views that led him to kill other people, or that Roof was a dupe who was "radicalized" by some nebulous group of real racists, like the KKK. Both narratives end up letting mainstream white American society off the hook (and the second rather lets Roof off the hook). Mainstream white American society is plenty racist enough, and violent enough, to create such hatred.
posted by jaguar at 9:54 AM on June 19, 2015 [11 favorites]


Only white people can save themselves from racism and white supremacism: So I and every other white South Carolinian who has let the racist jokes go unchecked, who has looked the other way at some sanctioned act of bigotry, who has not taken the time and effort to listen to what black people have to say about their experience, is, in some sense, responsible for Dylann Roof — even as he remains responsible for his own actions.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:57 AM on June 19, 2015 [6 favorites]



[emphasis mine] I think the giving every black person $5 is a large part of it. A lot of racists already feel black people are leeching off of taxpayers (food stamps, affirmative action, etc.) and an open admission of systemic racism in this country means more tax dollars would go toward programs that benefit minorities.


I dunno. I think that kind of calculation is part of it, maybe, for some people, but a lot of it is much more subconscious and inchoate. Our "selves" are built, moment by moment, out of all kinds of stimuli, and part of that (and usually an unexamined part) is our sense of place and history. And of course we want that place and history to be GOOD, so we come from GOOD people in a GOOD place, and any BADNESS in the past is stuff we overcame, rather than did, and so that's the history we get in school, and, for most of us, that's all the history we get.

And, when we discover evidence that history is incomplete and the stuff that's left out is often very BAD, it's a serious shock, and the only other obvious option is that we came from BAD people in a BAD place, and so we are BAD.

Or, of course, you can decide not to believe it, to pay attention to it, to grapple with it, to react with equivocation, misdirection, and outrage, which is what huge masses of people chose to do. The cost of this is, however, that the psychic wound in the country never drains; it just festers and swells, like an infection, poisoning all of us and every system and program until we can't event see the wound, just the sickly swollen sweating flesh we hope will magically go away if we believe in our GOOD past hard enough.

I wish this latest horror will be the needle that lays open the infection, but I can't say I have much hope that we will either heal or die properly, but just stagger on in a haze of anger, hate, and denial.

And, honestly, that metaphor is too abstract to be any damn use.
posted by GenjiandProust at 9:58 AM on June 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


How?
Serious question.


The sticky thing about rooting out terrorism, both domestic and international, is that it's so, so rooted in a persecution complex. Organized terrorist groups go out of their way to antagonize stronger groups, fully expecting to take losses, because the propaganda boost they get from looking like underdogs to susceptible groups is so great. Individual radicals gravitate towards narratives that allow them to explain their own mundane frustrations as the fault of a great, conspiring Other. This means that, in fighting these groups, we're always walking a tightrope between suppressing their reach and expanding their perverse 'credibility.'

In this light, directly banning racist speech risks playing into the same narrative we're trying to suppress. But at the same time, we have to do everything we can to do something.

I don't know what the answer is, exactly. I'm a political scientist, not a public relations specialist. All I know is that the only real way to finish off an ideology is to marginalize it so thoroughly that it becomes a punchline even for people with similar perspectives. We succeeded spectacularly in turning "Nazi" into an epithet, for instance - so spectacularly, in fact, that the American Right has become fond of using it as a universal suffix for disapproval. (Feminazi, Islamofascist, etc.) We're almost there on the KKK. Turning "neo-Confederate" into a similar label is going to take more work. It's going to take a very consistent, direct, and unanimous public condemnation. It's going to take exorcising symbols of the old order and taking concrete steps to reverse their policies. It's going to take time.

Ultimately, the challenge is to so marginalize an ideology that even the marginalized won't want to listen to it - remember that time the KKK issued a statement condemning the Westboro Baptist Church? Whether there's a hole deep enough to bury America's systemic racism, though, I don't know. I don't have much hope of seeing it in my lifetime.
posted by fifthrider at 10:05 AM on June 19, 2015 [4 favorites]


to add on to GenjiandProust's comment... i think, from what i hear, is that a lot of people do want to leave it the past AND they don't understand why others [black people] can't.

they don't want to understand the whole fabric of society and how it wasn't that long ago that black men were lynched for living while black.

they don't want to understand that a group does not just "get over" hundreds of years of systematic oppression.

it's like they think that because the Civil Rights laws got passed, that it just "erased" racism. it's not their lived experience.

just like how even when we have video of a police officer shooting an unarmed man and then dropping a weapon near his dead body, we have people who want to say it's not racism, despite having about eleventybillion similar videos.

and to come back to GenjiandProust's point, it's because we want to believe that we have left that awfulness behind. that we are GOOD. we cannot STILL be so racist, we fought a war where so many died for this cause, and yet here we are, all this time later, still in the same spot.

it's incomprehensible.
posted by sio42 at 10:17 AM on June 19, 2015 [4 favorites]


The regularity of mass killings breeds familiarity. The rhythms of grief and outrage that accompany them become—for those not directly affected by tragedy—ritualised and then blend into the background noise. That normalisation makes it ever less likely that America's political system will groan into action to take steps to reduce their frequency or deadliness. Those who live in America, or visit it, might do best to regard them the way one regards air pollution in China: an endemic local health hazard which, for deep-rooted cultural, social, economic and political reasons, the country is incapable of addressing. This may, however, be a bit unfair. China seems to be making progress on pollution.
posted by infini at 10:19 AM on June 19, 2015 [5 favorites]


Reconstructing the American Tradition of Domestic Terrorism
That a white terrorist murdered an African American politician and African American bystanders in a black church, using language straight out of Reconstruction, is not an accident. It reflects the vital intersection of American politics, race, and religion since 1866.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:21 AM on June 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


for the average southerner who puts a flag bumper sticker on his truck, it is not consciously meant as a statement of racist intent, but of solidarity with a carefully sanitized past.

Based on my 40+ years in the South, this is well put. Personally I find the flag offensive, and no way should it be a part of any government flags or symbols, but I also know a fair number of people with those stickers or front plates and they are not racist from what I can tell. I'm not excusing it, but the southern way of life (sans the racism) is routinely mocked and I think it's the regular Joe's way of saying "f*** you, big city people, you don't have it all figured out either". I think a better symbol needs to be found though. I had a (black female) law professor who was straight up terrified of her neighbor's stars-and-bars stuff and said so in class. It's too symbolic of hatred to keep getting used as a symbol of regional pride.

I have other thoughts on the mental health and gun law angles here, but I'll save them for another comment.

Those poor people. Ugh.
posted by freecellwizard at 10:21 AM on June 19, 2015 [5 favorites]


From @see_say_92 on Twitter:
White killer: "I am a racist. This was racially motivated."
Media: "Woah there buddy!!!! We don't know all the facts yet. Give us time."
posted by mhum at 10:23 AM on June 19, 2015 [35 favorites]


From Ta-Nehisi Coates' The Case for Reparations:
One cannot escape the question by hand-waving at the past, disavowing the acts of one’s ancestors, nor by citing a recent date of ancestral immigration. The last slaveholder has been dead for a very long time. The last soldier to endure Valley Forge has been dead much longer. To proudly claim the veteran and disown the slaveholder is patriotism à la carte. A nation outlives its generations. We were not there when Washington crossed the Delaware, but Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze’s rendering has meaning to us. We were not there when Woodrow Wilson took us into World War I, but we are still paying out the pensions. If Thomas Jefferson’s genius matters, then so does his taking of Sally Hemings’s body. If George Washington crossing the Delaware matters, so must his ruthless pursuit of the runagate Oney Judge.
previously on mefi
posted by rtha at 10:26 AM on June 19, 2015 [11 favorites]


"Roof was captured in Shelby, North Carolina, on Thursday morning during a traffic stop. He agreed to be taken back to South Carolina." (emphasis added)
- NBC News

That's odd wording. Did he agree to be taken into custody, too?
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 10:29 AM on June 19, 2015 [5 favorites]


That's not to discount @TheDailyShow /Jon Stewart. Just to say: don't wait for a white voice to tell you what black voices have been saying.

I mean yes, I agree. It's sadly all too easy for white people to tune out black voices talking about race, whether out of overt racism, race-relations fatigue, or feeling like it's inexplicably not our problem. I mean heck, we already had the President talk about this in the morning, but Jon Stewart's words resonated more.

But there's something enormously powerful about Stewart, the normally wisecracking host with a young audience, getting serious and saying "Shut up. We all know what this was" when virtually everyone else in the media and government seems afraid to call a spade a spade. In the mythical accounting scheme of public opinion, Jon Stewart's monologue shouldn't count for more than thousands of voices in the street reminding us that black lives matter, yet it likely does.
posted by zachlipton at 10:30 AM on June 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


That's odd wording. Did he agree to be taken into custody, too?

He waived extradition. There's normally a legal process both states have to go through to bring him back, and he'd be entitled to a hearing and various protections. He agreed to be taken back to South Carolina without going through that process.
posted by zachlipton at 10:32 AM on June 19, 2015 [4 favorites]


That's odd wording. Did he agree to be taken into custody, too?

It reflects that he waived his right to extradition.
posted by NailsTheCat at 10:32 AM on June 19, 2015


How?
Serious question.


fifthrider touches on some of it. I think the first step would be to take actual, measurable goals, and give them to the social scientists, and ask for some policy recommendations. And I think we would need to look not just at symbolic gestures - like taking down statues of Confederates or renaming bases - but at more tangible realities, such as achieving true integration or having a representative percentage of legislators.

I think it's also important to make the focus rehabilitation instead of punitive measures. I don't say this because the people in question particularly deserve rehabilitation or that it would be unjust to punish them - I say it because it's enormously effective. One of the best antifa members I ever met was a former skinhead who had come to realize the error of their ways. Those people, once rehabilitated, become the core of figuring out how to talk to other people to bring them around.

Because yeah, let's face it - especially in the rural South and Midwest, the face of anti-racism needs to not be some big-city individual who already comes in with anti-rural bias, whether it's understandable or not. It needs to come from Southerners, or rural Northerners - people who can separate the poisonous parts of the culture from the harmless parts of the culture without packing them all together. And it particularly needs to come from inside the white community. It needs to come from people that racists can look at and say, "I could be like that guy."

We need to separate our need to punish and destroy from our need to build a better world, especially when focusing on the former actively harms the latter. And we need to integrate segregated pockets - but NOT in ways that will give people reason to think other people are 'forced' on them.

What I would do, for example - offer homesteading to white individuals currently living in trailers or severely substandard housing willing to move into foreclosed and empty homes in black communities who choose to accept the program that are in danger of urban blight, with that homesteading being contingent on attending a full anti-racism curriculum where the only way to fail is to quit attending, but the way to pass certain stages is to demonstrate true anti-racist thinking. If they can't pass that, then they recycle to the beginning and start learning all over again. Communities that choose to accept the program would also get funds for redevelopment or refinancing. Let people think of integrated neighborhoods as a way to be a success story, rather than thinking of them as impoverished with nothing to offer..
posted by corb at 10:33 AM on June 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


The terrorist wants you to overreact. He wants you to compromise your values in fighting him, because then he can say "See? Your tolerance and free speech was a lie the whole time!" The terrorist engages in terrorism because he is weak, because he is losing. If he was strong, it would be a stand up fight. But he is weak, so he attacks soft targets. Terrorism is primarily a public relations operation. Never forget that. It's not really about killing people, it's about changing minds. You defeat the terrorist by giving his kids a better life. If the kids look at a vibrant multicultural democracy and say, "It's better to live like that than to be a violent racist like my dad", then the terrorist's all-important support among the people is lost and you have won.
posted by vibrotronica at 10:37 AM on June 19, 2015 [5 favorites]


i think, from what i hear, is that a lot of people do want to leave it the past AND they don't understand why others [black people] can't.

The media aids and abets this at every goddamn turn. I've said it before, and I'll say it again, the media seems to think we exist in some sort of permanent, history-less present. It seems like mainstream media is never, ever willing to acknowledge that history is a thing that happened, and that it's a thing that's still happening. And never mind capital-h History, the media is a goddamned goldfish that forgets what happened a week ago, a month ago, a year ago. There's a reason shows like The Daily Show and John Oliver's Last Week Tonight get so much mileage out of the simple act of queuing up some old footage to catch pundits out and remind viewers. They're literally the only ones who do so.

Our mainstream news media and journalism is, quite frankly, profoundly negligent in its total inability and unwillingness to engage in any form of in depth analysis that includes an understanding of historical context. I don't know if it's shitty history education or what, but your average AP US History student could draw a straight line from the Civil War to the Charleston shooting, yet god forbid anyone involved in the mainstream media do so.
posted by yasaman at 10:38 AM on June 19, 2015 [27 favorites]




What I would do, for example - offer homesteading to white individuals currently living in trailers or severely substandard housing willing to move into foreclosed and empty homes in black communities who choose to accept the program that are in danger of urban blight, with that homesteading being contingent on attending a full anti-racism curriculum where the only way to fail is to quit attending, but the way to pass certain stages is to demonstrate true anti-racist thinking.

Government-subsidized re-education camps are pretty much the ultimate conservative and libertarian paranoid nightmare. They'd scream that it was tyranny and social engineering as well as bribing people with brainwashing, and violently oppose it to their dying breaths.
posted by zarq at 10:58 AM on June 19, 2015 [10 favorites]


your average AP US History student could draw a straight line from the Civil War to the Charleston shooting,

a fb friend's friend was recently in charleston with her sons. she posted how they visited the Charleston Museum. she said that most of it was fine, but they got to a part about City under Siege and Slave Pottery. seh said her eldest son kept looking at the displays and saying "don't they know they lost the war? don't they know slavery was wrong?". she said it was difficult for both her and them.

the kid is like 10. i know i was there as a kid and i didn't make the same observation, but i do remember being sort of confused, but knew i couldn't ask, about why was everyone so excited about the south when it seemed it had been a bad place? i had forgotten about being there (the museum) until i saw her comment. i remember the slave auction block being part of the tour somewhere during our visit. i remember looking to see if anyone was crying while the tour guide spoke because i knew slavery was bad, but no one was crying. i just assumed for years after that it was just a model and not real and that's why no one had any reaction to The Badness of it.

this kid is obvs lightyears ahead of where i was. i hope there are more like him who will loudly and constantly question this, right there in front of whatever museum employee, guard, volunteers, and patrons happen to be there.

(they are on vacation and she's tried to keep this shooting away from them until they get home, but one of them had her phone and saw a NYT update alert and read it out loud. ugh.)
posted by sio42 at 10:58 AM on June 19, 2015 [13 favorites]


take actual, measurable goals, and give them to the social scientists, and ask for some policy recommendations.

And give those recommendations to the white Republican governments that run most southern states and wait for the changes to happen?
I don't think banning hate speech is an overreaction. Many countries do it. It's only America that has this all-or-nothing approach to rights. Reasonable limitations aren't an overreaction to anyone but Americans brainwashed in the supremacy of the Constitution. It's ridiculous to me that one group's right to spread hate speech trumps another group's right to live free from organized hate.
posted by rocket88 at 11:02 AM on June 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


Government-subsidized re-education camps are pretty much the ultimate conservative and libertarian paranoid nightmare. They'd scream that it was tyranny and social engineering as well as bribing people with brainwashing, and violently oppose it to their dying breaths.

The other problem is that the cause of segregation is usually white people keeping black people out, not white people lacking the means to move to nicer places in black neighborhoods.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 11:04 AM on June 19, 2015 [4 favorites]


The other problem is that the cause of segregation is usually white people keeping black people out, not white people lacking the means to move to nicer places in black neighborhoods.

Yep. White flight, etc.
posted by zarq at 11:05 AM on June 19, 2015


I really wish I understood more about what folks think it will cost them to come clean about racism.

Coming clean about racism pretty much demands accepting your own racism, I think, and a lot of people aren't willing to do so. I don't recall the surrounding discussion but I commented on a friend's facebook post about something with a statement that amounted up to the fact that almost all of us harbor racist impulses as a virtue of our cultural upbringing. Some friend of hers - perhaps not coincidentally a criminal prosecutor in the south - eventually threw up his metaphorical hands and said that if that's a definition of racism then the word is effectively meaningless.
posted by phearlez at 11:05 AM on June 19, 2015 [4 favorites]


The other problem is that the cause of segregation is usually white people keeping black people out, not white people lacking the means to move to nicer places in black neighborhoods.

Not to mention, what a nightmare it would be if that sort of action resulted in a gentrification pushing out the existing residents.
posted by phearlez at 11:07 AM on June 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


If you haven't noticed your confederate flag waving friends being racist, it's probably just invisible to you. They're choosing to brand themselves with slavery supporting symbols. That's a racist act.
posted by NoraReed at 11:07 AM on June 19, 2015 [6 favorites]


From the Washington Post (last year): Whites think discrimination against whites is a bigger problem than bias against blacks

That article draws on a 2011 study by Michael I. Norton of Harvard Business School: Whites See Racism as a Zero-sum Game That They Are Now Losing (pdf).
posted by mhum at 11:16 AM on June 19, 2015 [6 favorites]


The other problem is that the cause of segregation is usually white people keeping black people out, not white people lacking the means to move to nicer places in black neighborhoods.

But that article kind of perfectly exemplifies what I think is exactly wrong for integration. It's saying, 'Hey rich white people, we're going to move some black, poor people into your neighborhood' It helps to keep the stereotype that all black people are poor, that bringing black people into a neighborhood is going to bring poor people into the neighborhood and lower the tone (and property value) of the community.
posted by corb at 11:16 AM on June 19, 2015


I think homesteading for poor black people in white neighborhoods with empty houses would be a better approach than homesteading white people into black areas. Among other things, it really seems cruel to give white people free houses when black people have one of the lowest rates of homeownership in the USA.
posted by sotonohito at 11:18 AM on June 19, 2015 [24 favorites]


It's saying, 'Hey rich white people, we're going to move some black, poor people into your neighborhood'

Well, considering that the black people are poor in part because of redlining, it's just bending the tree back to where it was before the US government actively got into the segregation business.

I mean, those black people probably already would have been in the neighborhood had they not been denied the opportunity for a century. I know it upsets white people, but, then, I don't know of anything that helps solve centuries of oppression that doesn't also make white people angry.
posted by maxsparber at 11:22 AM on June 19, 2015 [25 favorites]


At least from an American perspective, it's not fair to compare the Confederacy to ISIS. The Confederacy was much worse. The Civil War caused 618,000 American deaths.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 11:23 AM on June 19, 2015 [7 favorites]


Here's a non-paywalled copy of the WSJ editorial.

It is utterly infuriating. At least the politicians spouting stock lines about "madmen" are being willfully ignorant of history; the WSJ is acknowledging awareness of the long history of attacks on black churches as a form of racial hatred and explicitly rejecting it's relevance, despite the killer here outright telling his friends he was a racist who wanted to kill black people.
posted by zachlipton at 11:24 AM on June 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


But that article kind of perfectly exemplifies what I think is exactly wrong for integration. It's saying, 'Hey rich white people, we're going to move some black, poor people into your neighborhood' It helps to keep the stereotype that all black people are poor, that bringing black people into a neighborhood is going to bring poor people into the neighborhood and lower the tone (and property value) of the community.

Fixing individual white people's racism through mandatory education programs, even supposing that those programs were executed perfectly, would do little to redress structural inequities, and homesteading white people in black neighborhoods could do much to exacerbate them. I don't think your proposed solution is a good idea, and integration of the kind described in the article I posted can be a success:
The proposed law said any development of more than 50 units (it has since been lowered to 20) must set aside no less than 15 percent of the housing for lower-income residents. Even more radical, the ordinance allowed the county to purchase up to a third of the affordable units for use as public housing.

No community within the county's jurisdiction was excluded.

The measure met fervid resistance from many suburban communities within the county. At one point, Siegel said, she needed a police escort. It took six years to pass the law. One advocate brought a birthday cake before the council each year to mark its failure.

When the council finally approved the legislation in 1973, the county executive vetoed it, only to see his veto over-ridden. The ordinance became law in January 1974, a time when other cities and towns were rushing to put up zoning barriers to keep out lower-income housing. Montgomery County's law was the first such zoning ordinance in the country, and it has spurred construction of more than 13,000 affordable housing units tucked into some of the county's most exclusive zip codes.

From the standpoint of desegregation, Montgomery County has become a model of what could have been.

Over three decades, its black population more than tripled to 18 percent. It remains one of the nation's richest counties, yet segregation has fallen well below the national average.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 11:32 AM on June 19, 2015 [20 favorites]


Here's a non-paywalled copy of the WSJ editorial.

I've actively been grateful for the WSJ paywall because it means I don't ever inadvertently read that paper. They are horrible. I would be ashamed to work there.
posted by cjorgensen at 11:34 AM on June 19, 2015 [4 favorites]


The bond hearing for the possession charge just happened, I know MSNBC carried it live. The families of the deceased were allowed to speak and it was incredibly sad, but everyone who did speak spoke of forgiveness for Roof.
posted by DynamiteToast at 11:34 AM on June 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


Gun Control Voices in Congress All but Silent After Charleston Shooting

Three years after the massacre of 20 children at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., galvanized some lawmakers to seek modest gun control legislation, the prospects now are even more remote.

Lawmakers, weary from the emotional fight and ultimate failure to get a bill to enhance background checks for gun sales off the Senate floor two years ago, seem resigned to the view that if 20 small children killed at a school cannot move Congress, then nine black men and women shot dead by a white man during Bible study will not, either.

posted by a lungful of dragon at 11:35 AM on June 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


What was in his mind?
posted by cjorgensen at 11:36 AM on June 19, 2015


As a white parent trying to raise anti-racist white children, I can tell you for certain it is ENORMOUSLY taboo to speak openly of America's white supremacy problem. I feel it in myself every time I talk to my children about race. I have to overcome this incredible internalized series of hurdles in order to be able to look my kid in the eye and say "We have a problem in this country where white people think that black people are dangerous and unworthy."

Try it yourself! See how hard it is! Imagine talking to someone ELSE'S kid about that, like you'd talk to them about pop music or or science! That starts to make it pretty clear just how much social pressure there is among white people to keep white supremacy hush-hush.
posted by KathrynT at 11:41 AM on June 19, 2015 [26 favorites]


Re: confronting one's own racism. Jim Sterling approaches it when he talks about his own past sexism, with the "Obviously Not" Syndrome. He explains:
...the “obviously not” syndrome. In my mind, I “obviously” wasn’t a sexist because I didn’t believe in mistreating women, in hurting women, that sort of more extreme activity the cursory glancer associates with sexism. That’s the insidious thing about misogyny and privilege — you never really think of the subtle things, the more sinister harmful things you may be perpetuating. Making jokes about feminist, being “satirical,” calling someone a “feminazi slut,” it was all fine and dandy, because I “obviously” didn’t mean it, and “obviously” didn’t think I was a bad person. The trouble is, when you start telling yourself it’s “obvious,” you give yourself no further cause to actually reflect on yourself or your behavior.
Nobody wants to think they're bad people. Racism is what other people do, obviously. Not them, they've got minority friends. They voted for Obama for president, or at least say they did, even as they quietly mutter, "not my president".

They all suffer from this syndrome. Like bullies, bigots and enablers are cowards at heart. Or, as I said earlier. Americans, but not all Americans.
posted by qcubed at 11:52 AM on June 19, 2015 [10 favorites]


integration of the kind described in the article I posted can be a success:

Technically, it does appear that way. But I have the odd distinction - weirdly coincidentally - of actually having lived in Montgomery County, MD, and at least where I lived, visited, and socialized it was a place full of enormous racial tensions. I cannot believe that integration that leaves behind massive tensions and racism in its wake is a success. True integration involves people being part of the same community and not hating each other, and it's what we should be striving for.

And I don't know the solution, but I think focusing integration attention only on extremely-low-income minority communities does more harm than good and causes completely unwarranted prejudice. Maybe the key is for example - helping those black families with 70K income to get loans for houses in better neighborhoods so they're not living worse than the 40K white families. Or support private school tax credits for minorities in certain income brackets. I don't really know the answer, but I know that it's not dumping projects into high-income neighborhoods and thinking that's going to lessen prejudice.
posted by corb at 11:58 AM on June 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


Daughter of deceased victim Ethel Lance to shooter in court: "I forgive you." (very difficult to listen to, obviously)
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:59 AM on June 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


A year or two of mandatory civil service would do a great deal to filter idiots like this out of many entitlements.
posted by buzzman at 12:00 PM on June 19, 2015


Fair enough, corb. I think this is kind of a derail from the subject of the thread, a massacre in South Carolina, but it's an interesting topic, so if you want to take it up in MeMail, my inbox is always open.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 12:02 PM on June 19, 2015 [4 favorites]


Gun Control Voices in Congress All but Silent After Charleston Shooting

The only politicians who seemed to say anything about gun control were President Obama and Candidate Clinton.

Unfortunately, none of the gun control reforms pushed by the Obama administration (and squashed by Congress) after Sandy Hook would have had any effect on Charleston. They tried to ban assault weapons, limit the size of commercially-available magazines and require background checks when a firearm is transferred privately. But Roof used a .45 caliber handgun that his dad had gotten him as a birthday present.
posted by zarq at 12:04 PM on June 19, 2015


You're probably right. Sorry! It's easy to get far off-field on this stuff because you want so desperately to solve it, rather than to dwell on what your mind knows is horrific. Memail it is!
posted by corb at 12:04 PM on June 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


the flag needs to come down.

I think I've made my position on South Carolina's confederate flag problem pretty clear in the past—for visitors to our congregation, I think it's a symbol of treason and slavery which belongs in a museum. At the same time, people elsewhere might not know that South Carolinians have been trying to "take it down" for nearly the last two decades. Some 50K gathered in January of 2000 and marched again that April. (I was at both of those.) And I'll bet that few people outside of the state even remember that John McCain was against the flag (well, after he was for it). Representative Jim Clyburn worked tirelessly to move the flag from the its previous position on the Statehouse Dome. (Clyburn's account, chapter 17 of his memoir Blessed Experiences: Genuinely Southern, Proudly Black, can be read in full on Google Books.)

I'd consider it a step forward if the flag were removed from the Statehouse grounds, or even moved to a less conspicuous place on the grounds. I dislike seeing it at all, but I'm not opposed to private individuals flying/wearing/owning it. I just call it truth in advertising and look for the day when it will only be seen on the Jersey Shore.
posted by octobersurprise at 12:10 PM on June 19, 2015 [6 favorites]


Unfortunately, none of the gun control reforms pushed by the Obama administration (and squashed by Congress) after Sandy Hook would have had any effect on Charleston.

Not to take away from zarq's point here, but it never fails to amaze me how the legality or illegality of the weapon is always used as an argument against further gun restrictions. It's either:

The gun was perfectly legal! Your gun laws don't do any good, so we shouldn't have any!

or

The gun was illegal and he got his hands on it anyway! Your gun laws don't do any good, so we shouldn't have any!
posted by scaryblackdeath at 12:16 PM on June 19, 2015 [12 favorites]


The flag thing is so strange to me. We all understand symbolism. If the flag wasn't a racist symbol, it would be at half mast right now. It isn't, because we all understand that it is a racist symbol, and so putting it at half mast after a racist murder would be a weird gesture.

We all get it. We all share the same understanding. And yet so many refuse to admit that this self-evident thing is even happening.
posted by maxsparber at 12:17 PM on June 19, 2015 [10 favorites]


Not to take away from zarq's point here, but it never fails to amaze me how the legality or illegality of the weapon is always used as an argument against further gun restrictions. It's either:

I agree. I'm in favor of far stricter gun restrictions than the mild ones the Obama administration tried to push forward after Sandy Hook.

Am firmly convinced that people who want to license firearms in this country should be required to pass mental health tests. And that getting a license and gun should be Very Damned Hard. You want a gun? First prove you need one and you're not mentally unstable. At the very least.
posted by zarq at 12:27 PM on June 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


Well, the Confederate flag is also at full staff right now because BY LAW the governor of South Carolina is not allowed to lower that flag from its standard position. It takes a two-thirds vote in both houses of the legislature to do anything but fly it at full staff in front of the state capitol. Why? Because there was pressure to take it off the roof of the capitol building and the South Carolina state legislature is populated by petulant children.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:28 PM on June 19, 2015 [12 favorites]


Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish, while that may be factually true, if the Governor herself went out there and lowered the flag, you tell me who is going to stop her.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:31 PM on June 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


I'm actually not sure she physically could; the flag is apparently padlocked in place and not even on a pulley, so it can't be lowered, only removed. The nonsense South Carolina goes through to keep the flag up tells you what you need to know, really, though.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:36 PM on June 19, 2015 [33 favorites]


Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish, while that may be factually true, if the Governor herself went out there and lowered the flag, you tell me who is going to stop her.

Sadly, I have a feeling a decent subset of racist fuckers would turn on the female, nonwhite governor in a damn hurry if she did something like that.
posted by nakedmolerats at 12:37 PM on June 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


There is an irony that a man with a pending felony charge was able to acquire a gun and use it to murder 9 people and the concern ends up being about a flag.

The flag should come down. If this is the precipitating event that makes this happen, great, but if that's all that comes from this, then expect there to be more mass shootings and more racially motivated killings and more cops killing people for no damn good reason. Something more than taking down the flag needs to be done. Sure, take down the flag because taking down the flag is an easy step, so let's go after the low hanging fruit, but I doubt you'll see this happen.

I'm a pessimist, so I expect we'll do pretty much nothing. The flag will continue to fly and then there will be another story to knock this out of the news cycles and we'll all move on.
posted by cjorgensen at 12:37 PM on June 19, 2015 [4 favorites]


Sadly, I have a feeling a decent subset of racist fuckers would turn on the female, nonwhite governor in a damn hurry if she did something like that.

Fair point. But my feelings about her would turn pretty quickly, too, so there's that.

As far as being physically able, I'm pretty sure a road flare would do the trick.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 12:40 PM on June 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


If the flag gets removed it'll be more change then any of the other shootings has inspired.

FTC
posted by edgeways at 12:44 PM on June 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


There are other gun control groups out there, but if you're interested, this is the one formed by people effected by Sandy Hook massacre.
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:52 PM on June 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish, while that may be factually true, if the Governor herself went out there and lowered the flag, you tell me who is going to stop her.

She would probably sacrifice a lot of her political capital in doing so. For "rocking the boat", she might annoy a great many persons and organizations who contributed to her campaigns and expected her to remain in office in order to execute on plans that they had paid for. She might make it up in admiration and support from flag opponents, but it would be a gamble. (The preceding does not evaluate the morality of either view, only the political pros and cons.)
posted by theorique at 12:54 PM on June 19, 2015


has anyone ever been able to successfully get someone to see the other side... you know when otherwise normal-seeming people say "it's not all cops" or "this isnt racist, he's just troubled".

i guess that's a better green question, but this comes up so often i just wonder what to say when it seems like all i can do is wish i had a cyberpunk-style software to slot behind their ear to fill them on the history and background that i've learned on here.

how do you condense that in a way that might make someone think, hmm, maybe i SHOULD put some more thought into this?
posted by sio42 at 12:55 PM on June 19, 2015




how do you condense that in a way that might make someone think, hmm, maybe i SHOULD put some more thought into this?

You may be familiar with the quote from Upton Sinclair: "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it."

I think this also applies to situations other than salary - for example, "image of himself as a nice person" or "perception of The System as fair and just".

In other words, I don't think you can make someone get a message - you can only talk to him and hope that he comes to the realization himself.
posted by theorique at 1:02 PM on June 19, 2015 [6 favorites]


Am firmly convinced that people who want to license firearms in this country should be required to pass mental health tests. And that getting a license and gun should be Very Damned Hard. You want a gun? First prove you need one and you're not mentally unstable. At the very least.

No ethical mental health professional is going to certify someone as guaranteed non-violent, and discriminating against people with mental health conditions is not a good thing. I would happily eliminate all legal rights to all guns for everyone, but this sort of suggestion is counter-productive.
posted by jaguar at 1:03 PM on June 19, 2015 [4 favorites]


No ethical mental health professional is going to certify someone as guaranteed non-violent

No, but it's perfectly possible to say, "someone with X condition is likely to be prone to violent, uncontrollable mood swings" or "dementia" and therefore should be disqualified from owning a gun. Perfection isn't the goal. Reduction of risk is. And if the reduction of risk is measurable, then why not?

...and discriminating against people with mental health conditions is not a good thing.

We set criteria for people being able to get other types of licenses, including driver's licenses, based on their ability to act responsibly and not endanger others. Including cognitive and neurological ability to actually drive. That's not stigma. It's safety.
posted by zarq at 1:16 PM on June 19, 2015 [4 favorites]




You need a third class medical certificate to be a private pilot. We seem to be hunky-dory with that level of "discrimination" against those with mental health issues. There's no logical reason that a similar standard for "piloting" an equally deadly weapon couldn't be applied.

And for the record, it's not a challenge to find a medical professional willing to certify you for those FAA certs. You may take up your ethics complaints with them directly. There are approximately 4,000 so you may need to adjust your postage budget.
posted by phearlez at 1:24 PM on June 19, 2015 [4 favorites]


Clinical Medicine and Research, from 2003: Neurologic Conditions: Assessing Medical Fitness to Drive
posted by zarq at 1:28 PM on June 19, 2015


Piloting is not a constitutional right. I hate that owning guns is, but it is. We should not be taking constitutional rights away from people with mental illness who haven't actually hurt anyone or who aren't a danger to themselves.

If psychiatrists have to approve people as safe to own firearms, what happens when they say someone is safe and then that person shoots someone? Likely, the psychiatrist gets sued. Psychiatrists are not going to want to get sued (and they are certainly extremely aware that violence is very hard to predict), so they're not going to approve anyone. It is a suggestion that is not practical to implement, is opposed by every psychiatrist I have ever talked to about the issue, and is discriminatory to boot.

It's also a derail back into "mental illness!" rather than racism, and I wish it would stop.
posted by jaguar at 1:32 PM on June 19, 2015 [10 favorites]


Likely, the psychiatrist gets sued.

Meh. Maybe, maybe not. It would depend on a lot of factors. They could be indemnified by law, for example, or there could be a cap on damages in order to make the malpractice insurance affordable.

I mean, there are legions of reasons it would be a not so great idea, to say the least, but the liability issues seem to me to be the easiest parts to resolve.
posted by lodurr at 1:35 PM on June 19, 2015


It's also a derail back into "mental illness!" rather than racism, and I wish it would stop.

maybe we can just make people who want to buy guns take a racism test. It should also be required for citizenship and voting rights. If we play oiur cards right, we could be out of this swamp in 70 or so years....

Oh, who am I kidding?
posted by GenjiandProust at 1:39 PM on June 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


In my country you need to get a certificate from the police that you are a "fit and proper" person and this includes assessing your mental state -- a friend used to joke a gun license is the closest thing we have to a Certificate of Sanity. So requiring some evidence that people are not psychotic before they can own a gun is certainly not a big practical obstacle to a regulatory regime.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 1:41 PM on June 19, 2015


You may be familiar with the quote from Upton Sinclair: "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it."

Then this is the path to take...on a collective scale. It seems you can't force change through reason or through appeals to decency, ethics, or morality; you can only force change through economic means. So hit them in the pocketbook.
It was successful in overturning Indiana's Religious Freedom Act, so why not elsewhere? Pressure businesses into divesting from offending states until they "see the light".
And this can do far more than get rid of an offending flag. Use it to target any state with minority-targeted voter suppression laws, too.

Here's the list of the largest employers in South Carolina.
posted by rocket88 at 1:42 PM on June 19, 2015 [4 favorites]


I suffer from mental illness, but somehow I'm not a racist and I haven't shot anyone ever. I really find it upsetting when events like these are twisted around so that madness is confused for racism. It's really offensive to us crazy people.

Seriously.
posted by brina at 1:43 PM on June 19, 2015 [54 favorites]


We should not be taking constitutional rights away from people with mental illness who haven't actually hurt anyone or who aren't a danger to themselves.

That's a reasonable point.

If psychiatrists have to approve people as safe to own firearms, what happens when they say someone is safe and then that person shoots someone?

To repeat: reduction of risk is not "no risk." An assessment would mean 'less likely' or 'more likely' to be an endangerment to others, with threshold criteria, not a guarantee of behavior, which I previously acknowledged was impossible.

Putting the constitutional issue aside for a moment, people with various chronic conditions have been undergoing cognitive and neurologic assessments for years regarding their ability to drive (or fly) without putting too much of a hardship on the medical profession. Without constitutional considerations, I doubt this would be any different.

It's also a derail back into "mental illness!" rather than racism, and I wish it would stop.

That was truly not my intention.
posted by zarq at 1:44 PM on June 19, 2015


I suffer from mental illness, but somehow I'm not a racist and I haven't shot anyone ever. I really find it upsetting when events like these are twisted around so that madness is confused for racism. It's really offensive to us crazy people.

This times a million.
posted by KathrynT at 1:45 PM on June 19, 2015 [12 favorites]


I'm actually not sure she physically could

They sell shotguns in South Carolina.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:45 PM on June 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


Statistically people with mental illness are less likely to harm others then people who do not have mental illness are. Saying "he shot people so he must be crazy" is not only a deflection, but also factually incorrect.
posted by sotonohito at 1:58 PM on June 19, 2015 [6 favorites]


Can we get off this mental illness derail? There's no evidence this shooter is mentally ill.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 2:00 PM on June 19, 2015 [14 favorites]


Here's the list of the largest employers in South Carolina.

You'll note how many of those are hospitals or government agencies. That particular form of boycott doesn't work on a state that has economically depressed itself to the point that big industries don't come here. We have nothing to sell you.
posted by mittens at 2:00 PM on June 19, 2015 [6 favorites]


Piloting is not a constitutional right. I hate that owning guns is, but it is. We should not be taking constitutional rights away from people with mental illness who haven't actually hurt anyone or who aren't a danger to themselves.

Let me know when you find a permanent location for your goalposts. Everyone is aware that the 2nd Am is a thing but you didn't decide to address that in your response. You tossed out something about stigmatizing the mentally ill and how you'd take all the guns away if you could. You left off the "but it would be unconstitutional!" from your desire but we have to just throw up our hands and walk away from this other proposal?

Constitutional rights - including bearing arms - are limited all the time. The First is often help to a content-neutral time and place standard. The second itself gets curtailed for convicts despite the word "felony" appearing nowhere in the Bill of Rights. Constitutional guides are not without interpretation.

All the above posts pointing out that mental illness as a general class is irrelevant here are entirely right, though I would point out that the strictures in FAA certification, for example, aren't garden variety issues like myself and plenty of other people deal with. It's codified as "a personality disorder that is severe enough to have repeatedly manifested itself by overt acts" or "manifested delusions, hallucinations, grossly bizarre or disorganized behavior." If the Aurora shooter had been examined under this criteria he wouldn't have been able to buy the weapons he shot up a theater with and killed 12.
posted by phearlez at 2:12 PM on June 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm not debating this in this thread anymore.
posted by jaguar at 2:15 PM on June 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


"South Carolina is too small for a republic and too large for an insane asylum." -- James L. Petigru
posted by kirkaracha at 2:21 PM on June 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


"All the above posts pointing out that mental illness as a general class is irrelevant here are entirely right, though I would point out that the strictures in FAA certification, for example, aren't garden variety issues like myself and plenty of other people deal with."

Regardless of your zeal in pursuing this argument, there's zero evidence that Roof suffers from any mental illness, he didn't purchase the gun anyway, and so this discussion has no relevance to this thread whatsoever except to associate mental illness with terrorist murder. So stop fucking talking about it.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 2:24 PM on June 19, 2015 [12 favorites]


Regarding people who support racist things but don't think of themselves as racist...

I've made reference to this before, but there's this great anecdote about a science experiment done with monkeys and a fire hose. Four monkeys are placed together in a room with some food in the middle. When the monkeys reach for this food, they get a blast from the fire hose. They hate that for obvious reasons and soon learn not to reach for the food.

If you replace one of those monkeys with a new monkey, the other monkeys freak out so much when it tries to reach for the food that it, too, learns not to reach for the food.

You can eventually replace all four monkeys and each new monkey will be taught not to reach for the food. At some point, you'll have a group of monkeys that won't reach for the food and have no idea that there was ever a fire hose involved. They'll keep all future monkeys from reaching for that food, though.

The fire hose is gone, but it is still an invisible part of the system that actively effects the way the monkeys behave.

Our social and political systems in the United States were designed with racist intent. It doesn't matter if the people who created those systems are long gone or the people who are part of those systems now have hearts as pure as gold, the racist intent is an invisible, active part of the system that effects the way we behave.

A significant number of people can't see that - they just know the way things are is "the way they've always been" (defined as "for their whole life as long as they can remember"). "If its always been that way, there must be a good reason for it and, thus, why are we trying to change it?"

I've been deeply involved with two plays lately - Othello and and Anouilh's Becket. What Othello reminds me is that anti-Black racism is white countries is centuries old - it traveled to the US with the white settlers. What Becket reminds me of is that loose words of a power person ("“will no-one rid me of this troublesome priest?") can give permission to zealots to do awful things while allowing a person in power to keep his hands clean - and this is true even if the person in power genuinely doesn't intend for the awful thing to happen.

Our whole culture - not just the United State part of it, but going back much, much further than that - has been developed to support the rule of white Christian men. Its infused into our social and political systems. Its happening all around us all the time. Its so completely infused into every level of society that, as I said, its invisible to many of the people who enforce its racist rules and systems.

The first step to solving a problem isn't really admitting you have a problem. The first step is recognizing that the problem exists. I think millions of white Americans do racist shit all the time and don't even realize it because its the way its always been. The problem is so big and yet so hard to see that even suggesting it exists makes them think you're being ludicrous.

"Why would you ask me to reach for that food? Nobody ever reaches for that food. What an outlandish suggestion. Everyone will freak out if I reach for it, so obviously I shouldn't do it." says the monkey. Meanwhile, the fire hose has been disconnected for generations.

Anyhow, its no surprise that some white people see a demand for a systemic change that doesn't diminish their personal rights but allows other people to have those same rights is a threat - change is frightening and "why should we change something that's always been that way?" Its also no surprise that a system that suggests that black Americans are sub-human and a threat would produce white terrorists who want to kill and frighten black Americans. The system has been churning out these monsters for years.

There are cosmetic changes we can and should make (seriously, take down the Confederate flag, SC), but getting to the real root of the problem is going to take education, hard work and the shared understanding that we won't be ever able to fully eliminate the problem - but that has to be our goal as a society anyways. Working to change the system will result in people getting hurt, killed, slandered and oppressed. Sort of like what's happening within the system anyways right now. However, we'll come out on the other side with a better country for everyone.

Peter Tosh's "Equal Rights" has been quoted already. We can have peace in a racist and sexist and homophobic system if everyone just sucks it up and let's the dreadful system to continue operating as is without complaint. That is a terrible solution. We can't have justice and true equal rights, though, unless we work at changing the system at all levels.
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:39 PM on June 19, 2015 [57 favorites]


[Comment removed, cool it.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:47 PM on June 19, 2015




Shit. I apologize for conflating this racist shooter with mental illness. Was pursuing a line of reasoning that I thought made sense, but didn't think the ramifications of what I had said all the way through, especially considering the offensive, harmful narrative that is always pushed by the media and majority when a white terrorist commits mass murder.

Ugh. That was incredibly stupid and insensitive of me. Will immediately drop the derail. I'm very sorry.
posted by zarq at 2:52 PM on June 19, 2015 [26 favorites]


I would like to say I appreciate everyone's intentional conscientiousness in this thread. This kind of event smacks you down to the floor hard and getting up is not always easy or pretty.

Keep your hearts open. It's the only way forward.
posted by jammy at 3:08 PM on June 19, 2015 [4 favorites]


RACIST TALK FROM DYLANN ROOF’S JUDGE
“There are four kinds of people in this world—black people, white people, red necks, and n---rs,” Gosnell advised a black defendant in a November 6, 2003 bond reduction hearing.
He also seems to feel the biggest victims of the shooting are Roof's parents.

Maybe there is a chance for gun control: if the GOP could be put in a spot of having to choose, perhaps they would rather quietly rubber stamp some kind of legislation to prevent mentally ill and disturbed from getting firearms rather than admitting that racism exists.

Recalling Nine Spiritual Mentors, Gunned Down During Night of Devotion
posted by Golden Eternity at 3:33 PM on June 19, 2015 [8 favorites]


He also seems to feel the biggest victims of the shooting are Roof's parents.

The opening statement was: "Charleston is a very strong community. We have big hearts. We are a very loving community and we are going to reach to everyone, all victims and we will touch them. We have victims, nine of them, but we also have victims on the other side. There are victims on this side of this young man’s family. Nobody would have ever thrown them into the whirlwind of events they have been thrown into. We must find it in our heart, at some point in time, to not only help those who are victims but to also help his family as well." (link)

I'm not sure how mentioning them makes them the biggest victims. He mostly sounded really really angry.
posted by effbot at 3:58 PM on June 19, 2015 [6 favorites]


Maybe, but reading the Daily Beast article on his past disciplinary history, it's very hard to tell why this guy was allowed to continue to be a judge.
posted by zachlipton at 4:02 PM on June 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


Maybe he thinks they're the biggest victims, maybe he doesn't. I'll tell you what the does think: he thinks it's important to point out that in addition to the nine people who were murdered, we should think of the family members of the murderer in the same way that we think of the people killed by the murderer. Fuck that noise. The family members of a racist murderer are not victims in any meaningful way, and it's really shitty for a judge to even mention them.
posted by 23skidoo at 4:05 PM on June 19, 2015 [11 favorites]


I'd be more sympathetic to this view if his dad hadn't bought him a handgun a month before.

Indeed, generally it's important to me to push-back against the parent-blaming that inevitably occurs in, say, a school shooting, or when the shooters are young adults, or against a spouse. I feel terrible for family members of these murderers not only because they are hurt, too, but especially because there is no place, no narrative, in our culture for them to deal with and recover from this kind of hurt. It stays with them forever, even after they've (often) been ostracized or hounded from their communities. As a rule, I have tremendous sympathy for these folk and I don't think that it detracts from my concern and sympathy for the families of the victims.

Nevertheless, all this is limited by the degree to which someone who is friend or family has some demonstrable, direct culpability. Like, say, giving the murderous terrorist a handgun as a gift a month before. Or inculcating in their child a hateful, murderous ideology. I don't know that the latter was true in this case, but I do know the former is.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 4:10 PM on June 19, 2015 [10 favorites]


I am generally in favor of extending compassion to the relatives of high-profile perpetrators, but in this instance it feels really insensitive. There are a lot of secondary victims here: the friends and family of the nine dead people; the many communities of which they were valued members; the church that has lost its pastors; the neighborhood that has lost its political representative; every black person who will now have to worry about a new possible way he or she could be randomly killed. It is weird to single out the very few secondary victims who happen to be white. It would feel weird no matter what, but it is particularly weird in this particular case, which has to do with a crime in which people were singled out to be murdered because they were black by someone who was acting out of a commitment to white supremacy.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 4:15 PM on June 19, 2015 [8 favorites]


fwiw, NBC is reporting that Roof bough the gun himself, not his dad.
posted by futz at 4:21 PM on June 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


Holy fuck.

I guess the whole of SC is just so super-saturated with racism that it's impossible for the white residents to see, hence all the "we are mystified as to the motives" talk.
posted by Artw at 4:22 PM on June 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


"fwiw, NBC is reporting that Roof bough the gun himself, not his dad."

What are they reporting, exactly? The uncle said the parents bought it for him, and the roommate said that he bought it with money his parents gave him as a gift. So maybe they just gave him money and it was his choice and the uncle misunderstood or misrepresented it, or maybe they gave him the money specifically for that purpose. Personally, I'd prefer not to have to conclude that the parents were culpable in this way.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 4:30 PM on June 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


Like, say, giving the murderous terrorist a handgun as a gift a month before.

There are differing reports on that too -- the uncle said it was a gift in an early interview, other sources says he bought it himself. Also note that both the father and the uncle contacted the police as soon as they saw the photos, so it might be a bit early to claim that his closest family supported his actions.

If you want to rail against someone who's 150% fucked up, rail against that NRA board member that claimed that Pinckney was to blame for the killings since he'd supposedly once voted against concealed-carry (on the other hand, railing against NRA shitheads is a waste of time, since there's an endless supply of them...)
posted by effbot at 4:33 PM on June 19, 2015 [5 favorites]


Rick Perry calls Charleston church shooting an 'accident'

I need some of whatever he's smokin'
posted by infini at 4:35 PM on June 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


I think this is one of those times when things are going to be muddled by the 24/7 news cycle, and it's best to wait a while for real information rather than drawing conclusions from the random reports from in-the-moment coverage. News outlets are not exactly fact-checking things before they put them on the air right now, and right now I don't think there's any reliable information about how he got the gun.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 4:38 PM on June 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


I agree.
posted by futz at 4:39 PM on June 19, 2015


Yeah, I just saw that the NRA guy, Charles L. Cotton, deleted what he wrote from the website (a discussion forum he runs). I don't know if I should be happy that the hateful thing was removed and that he (possibly) realized that it was offensive, or angry that he disappeared it.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 4:40 PM on June 19, 2015


I guess the whole of SC is just so super-saturated with racism that it's impossible for the white residents to see, hence all the "we are mystified as to the motives" talk.

Charlie Pierce:
Why in god's name can't we simply take the killer's word for it? Dylann Roof was photographed wearing a jacket festooned with the flags of apartheid South Africa and white-supremacist Rhodesia. I'm a fairly well-informed citizen and I couldn't have identified either one of those emblems. If you actively seek them out because you approve of that for which they stand, you have to want that hatred badly.

Why in god's name can't we simply take him at his word? Why can't we simply believe that, when he talked to that one woman who survived in the Church, he was telling her the absolute truth, or that, when he talked to the arresting officers in North Carolina, he was telling the absolute truth. Dylann Roof wanted to start a race war. (So, by the way, did Charlie Manson.) Dylann Roof wanted to start a race war because he believed, this time, his side would win, the side that reveres the treasonous flag that, by South Carolina law, the governor cannot unilaterally lower to half-staff. He thought he could revive apartheid America, build the American Rhodesia in fact that he already had built in his mind. He thought his side could win. Why in god's name can't we simply believe him?
posted by MonkeyToes at 4:42 PM on June 19, 2015 [30 favorites]




I've seen the phrasing "a crime of hate" getting used by some of the politicians. Is "hate crime" too charged? Do speechwriters think that "a crime of hate" sounds more formal? Anyone have inside knowledge?
posted by Going To Maine at 5:25 PM on June 19, 2015


I've seen the phrasing "a crime of hate" getting used by some of the politicians. Is "hate crime" too charged? Do speechwriters think that "a crime of hate" sounds more formal? Anyone have inside knowledge?

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think some politicians have argued that there's no such thing as hate crimes and have sort of painted themselves into a rhetorical corner. I think "Crime of Hate" is a way of dancing around this.
posted by Joey Michaels at 5:36 PM on June 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


Yes, that's it exactly. Opposition to the idea that there's even such a thing as a "hate crime" is part of the straight-white-male persecution complex that drives contemporary conservationism.
posted by gerryblog at 5:40 PM on June 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


I feel like it's weasel-word phrasing. Rick Perry calls it a crime of hate and then goes on to say that the "real issue" to be talked about here is drugs. Refusing to use the words "hate crime" is just these craven assholes weaseling out of having to make a public statement about the bigotry of the people whose votes they court every election cycle.
posted by palomar at 5:44 PM on June 19, 2015


Clearly a case of domestic terrorism.

.
posted by clavdivs at 5:45 PM on June 19, 2015


I've seen the phrasing "a crime of hate" getting used by some of the politicians.

You can see how the party of law and order would like to have plausible deniability when so much of its divisive "us or them" rhetoric has contributed the background radiation of hate. "Will no one rid me of this troublesome priest?" indeed.

Clearly a case of domestic terrorism.

Yes, and also a crime of hate: hate for the very existence of the Other; hate as a product of an Us/Them way of thinking; hate, as absorbed over the decades as something natural, something to joke about, something to identify with, something to belong to through flags and coded language; hate as the expression of fear and deep resentment over feeling compelled to see black people as human and as deserving of being treated as such. The hate preceded the crime. His terror preceded his terrorism.
posted by MonkeyToes at 6:26 PM on June 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


Here's a heads up for what I bet we'll be seeing on FB soon. The conservative noise machine is going to start repeating that this is the person who called for a race war in Charleston. Already, the commenters are all, "she epitomizes racism," when she's not the one who just shot nine people out of it. I know she wishes me and my family dead, but she's less of a threat to any of us than the hominins who read Breitbart.
posted by Countess Elena at 7:07 PM on June 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


Miss Race War has accepted the terrorist's framing. Terrorism is a hell of an effective tactic.
posted by vibrotronica at 7:58 PM on June 19, 2015


To be honest I'm kind of amazed Charleston isn't on fire right now.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 8:07 PM on June 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


As seen elsewhere: black killers are considered thugs, Muslim killers terrorists, and white killers insane.
posted by edgeways at 8:13 PM on June 19, 2015 [2 favorites]




I've seen the phrasing "a crime of hate" getting used by some of the politicians.

You can see how the party of law and order would like to have plausible deniability when so much of its divisive "us or them" rhetoric has contributed the background radiation of hate. "Will no one rid me of this troublesome priest?" indeed.


Just to be clear, Hilary Clinton also referred to it as a "crime of hate"; this isn't about stepping on a single party's toes. (It may well be about stepping on both major parties' toes, though.)
posted by Going To Maine at 8:38 PM on June 19, 2015


Sista Solove asks a good question... What does a black person have to do to not get shot?

I think that answers the question I asked earlier about how to get people to get think differently about this. Because for everything they can answer, I can provide a time FROM THIS YEAR when a black person was killed or assaulted doing it.

Walking, running, breathing, playing, shopping, living, peacefully protesting.

Asking for help.

Praying. Loving. Accepting.
posted by sio42 at 9:01 PM on June 19, 2015 [9 favorites]


I actually am not surprised that Charleston isn't on fire. This wasn't a governmental action; this was a lone shooter, and law enforcement caught the man overnight and charged him, and will seek the strongest penalty. Low bar, but cleared. The racial disturbances of the past few years (Baltimore, Ferguson, Crown Heights, LA) have all, I believe, resulted from long-simmering tensions about failures of the justice system, ignited by egregious examples of those, together with bad policing at protests.
posted by Countess Elena at 9:25 PM on June 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm at a loss for words to express my true feelings on this continual and seemingly increasingly frequent cycle of both racist shit and gun violence. And not much to be said this late in the thread anyways. But I would like to implore South Carolina to reconsider Chris Rock's solution that he gave you 15 years ago for a new confederate flag.
posted by p3t3 at 10:59 PM on June 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


The racial disturbances of the past few years (Baltimore, Ferguson, Crown Heights, LA) have all, I believe, resulted from long-simmering tensions about failures of the justice system.

That makes sense. (I'm not American and am not soaking in it like a lot of you).

So the judicial process that follows now is going to be very important, right?
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 11:37 PM on June 19, 2015


Not really. I'm guessing this guy is going to spend the rest of his life in jail and the only question is whether his life will be cut short by capital punishment. That won't address the swamp this guy was raised in. South Carolina will continue to be the bible believing, confederate flag waving state that it was before this happened.
posted by rdr at 12:19 AM on June 20, 2015 [6 favorites]


Not sure if anyone posted this but @TheKingCenter posted a few powerful tweets just after the murders.
8) We must defy hate w/ truth & love. Truth: A hateful, terroristic act. Love: A response that transcends hate. #Charleston #Nonviolence365"
But I have to say I'm more in a #WeWillShootBack mood for the time being.
posted by Golden Eternity at 1:31 AM on June 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


To be honest I'm kind of amazed Charleston isn't on fire right now.

From the Telegraph:
Chained hand and foot and dressed in a black-and-white striped jumpsuit, Roof was flown back to Charleston where he appeared in court via videolink last night for a brief, but dramatic bail hearing.

There were extraordinary scenes as, one after the other, the sobbing families of the nine victims offered their forgiveness to Roof, whilst expressing their own pain and anger at the loss his actions had inflicted on them.

"You have killed some of the most beautifulest people that I know. Every fibre in my body hurts and I’ll never be the same," said Alecia Sanders, describing her lost 26-year-old son Tywanza as her "hero", adding: "May God have mercy on you."

Other family members urged Roof to repent, but the young man, his once-floppy hair now greasy and matted, showed no emotion, staring back into the camera flanked by two heavily armed police officers.

"My family forgive you but we would like to take this opportunity to repent, to confess and give your life to the one who matters the most, Christ," said the family of Myra Thompson, 59. "Do that and you’ll be OK."
Does the blazing glory of the righteous count? Because that is some fierce fire.
posted by Slap*Happy at 5:41 AM on June 20, 2015 [13 favorites]


To be honest I'm kind of amazed Charleston isn't on fire right now.

Why? The police caught the guy who did this (instead of covering up his name), charged him with a crime (instead of the grand jury saying there was no grounds for murder), and are bringing him to trial (instead of letting him get away with it).

The trouble in Ferguson happened because the police were the shooters and the law let them go. The trouble in Baltimore happened because the police were the shooters and the law almost let them go again. In Charleston, the police caught the shooter and are doing to him exactly what the public in Ferguson and Baltimore wanted their own police to do.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:56 AM on June 20, 2015 [9 favorites]


And in fairness to SC, when they've had the now sadly stereotypical incidents of video of some cop killing an unarmed black man who posed no danger to anyone, they've almost immediately come down like a ton of bricks on the officers involved. No (more) hemming and hawing and maybe this was justified, just saw the video and charged them with murder. Both times I can think of I was honestly surprised by the lack of equivocation, though there's a pretty low limit on how impressed one can be when they're still killing unarmed black men in the first place.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:22 AM on June 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


So currently, twitter users EMQuangel and HenryKrinkle are trying to figure out if they have indeed stumbled across Dylann Roof's manifesto, which is full of all kinds of nazi-ideology race-hate motivation.
posted by Greg Nog at 7:38 AM on June 20, 2015 [7 favorites]


Ugh. Of course if is.

Normally I'm against Soending much time picking apart shooter manifestos, but at least it clears up the whole "was he a massive racist?" question politicians and the media seem so vexed by.
posted by Artw at 7:43 AM on June 20, 2015


I think it's probably a good idea to avoid picking over a depressing-as-hell hate site until we've confirmed that it's actually legit.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 7:44 AM on June 20, 2015


Do you think the reversewhois lookup they performed might have been faked?
posted by Greg Nog at 7:49 AM on June 20, 2015


I think it's probably a good idea to avoid picking over a depressing-as-hell hate site until we've confirmed that it's actually legit.

It has a zip file of pictures of the shooter hanging out at Confederate historical sites, and displaying a handgun and bullets and stuff. It's hard to imagine how that could have been faked, unless they have a body double and a lot of time on their hands.
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:53 AM on June 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


I don't know. I know that if you say that people are "trying to figure out if they have indeed stumbled across Dylann Roof's manifesto," then it's too soon to post it. Maybe you mis-worded your post?
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 7:54 AM on June 20, 2015


Are they still confused what his motive possibly could have been?
posted by infini at 7:58 AM on June 20, 2015


I know that if you say that people are "trying to figure out if they have indeed stumbled across Dylann Roof's manifesto," then it's too soon to post it.

Why? I'm not a journalist
posted by Greg Nog at 8:03 AM on June 20, 2015 [3 favorites]


The photos and his rambling manifesto about blacks, Jews and Hispanics confirm something I have suspected from the outset : there was a racial component to the crime.
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:05 AM on June 20, 2015 [9 favorites]


Because this story is depressing and horrible enough if you stick to the established facts. Because nobody is going to suffer if you wait a few hours to establish that something is legitimate rather than rushing to be the first person to post it. Because that impulse, like the stupid, stupid 24-hour news cycle, generates a lot of confusion and permanently harms efforts to understand important events. (For instance: a lot of people still believe patently untrue things about what happened at Columbine that were erroneously reported and not fact-checked because everyone wanted to be the first to get a scoop.) Because in the recent past, internet sleuths have hurt people. Because "I'm not a journalist, why should I worry about it" is an ethical cop-out.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 8:12 AM on June 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


Your feeling, after following the links I provided, was that it was erroneous reporting?
posted by Greg Nog at 8:16 AM on June 20, 2015 [3 favorites]


Listening to the families in court broke my heart. I cannot imagine being such a good and faithful person that I could forgive this man hours after what he did. That is real Christianity right there.
posted by dejah420 at 8:33 AM on June 20, 2015 [5 favorites]


"Your feeling, after following the links I provided, was that it was erroneous reporting?"

But, your not a reporter! That's my feeling.
posted by clavdivs at 8:39 AM on June 20, 2015


What things would reporters from reliable news organizations do to fact-check "Dylann Front once owned a certain website, where he posted racist manifestos"?
posted by 23skidoo at 8:43 AM on June 20, 2015


The NYT is now reporting on the website.
posted by lalex at 9:05 AM on June 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


From his alleged manifesto:
Unfortunately at the time of writing I am in a great hurry and some of my best thoughts, actually many of them have been to be left out and lost forever. But I believe enough great White minds are out there already.
It seems he wasn't expecting to come out of this alive.
posted by NailsTheCat at 9:24 AM on June 20, 2015


So...the question becomes, who took all those pictures on his (now verified by corporate media) website?
posted by dejah420 at 9:39 AM on June 20, 2015


So...the question becomes, who took all those pictures on his (now verified by corporate media) website?

I agree that that's the question, but to quibble a bit - the Times has verified that this IS a website with pictures of Roof and unsigned statements that may have been written by Roof. We're not quite in certified-accurate territory.

Also, what's with that cover shot? It doesn't look like the killer.
posted by Going To Maine at 9:44 AM on June 20, 2015


So...the question becomes, who took all those pictures on his (now verified by corporate media) website?

The one that the Times posted, at least, looks like it could be self-timer. I don't really have the intestinal fortitude to trawl through the rest, but I wouldn't be surprised if they all are.
posted by fifthrider at 9:45 AM on June 20, 2015


who took all those pictures

My guess -- on preview, agreeing with fifthrider -- is that he used a tripod and self timer / remote. I'm basing this on (a) he had a couple of cameras (rather than a phone) and (b) a lot of them seem to be taken from 2 or 3 feet above the ground rather than the standing height.

You can see he used a 'KODAK EASYSHARE Camera, C1530' in the file details for some of them.
posted by NailsTheCat at 9:49 AM on June 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


a lot of them seem to be taken from 2 or 3 feet above the ground rather than the standing height.

Yeah, that was what I was going on. Dude probably thought that the upward angle made for some Leni Riefenstahl dramatic angles; in practice, it just shows off the insides of his loser jorts.
posted by fifthrider at 9:55 AM on June 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


Then this is the path to take...on a collective scale. It seems you can't force change through reason or through appeals to decency, ethics, or morality; you can only force change through economic means. So hit them in the pocketbook.

Well, that's part of the point. Economic pressure is pretty powerful.

But I also attempted to broaden that statement to cover other things. A respectable White Southerner doesn't want to be considered a racist - that's low-class, redneck behavior. So he must have another reason for not wanting his kids to be in school with, uh, those people. He must have a different reason for living in a community that is 95% White. He must have a different reason for having hired only White staff members for his company. He's not racist - how could he be? He doesn't use the n-word or wear a white hood or swear at black children when he drives past them.

"Everybody" knows that being a racist is a bad thing. Everybody likes to think of himself as the good guy. Therefore, all these good guys need other reasons for anything they do, that might be misunderstood as racist in intent or outcome.
posted by theorique at 9:59 AM on June 20, 2015




Twitter users have discovered what appears to be Dylann Roof's racist manifesto, which clearly and calmly lays out his rationale for murdering black people in Charleston.

If nothing else, may it lay to rest any question why he did what he did. His (apparent) site is called Last Rhodesian. Registered in February.

I have no choice. I am not in the position to, alone, go into the ghetto and fight. I chose Charleston because it is most historic city in my state, and at one time had the highest ratio of blacks to Whites in the country. We have no skinheads, no real KKK, no one doing anything but talking on the internet. Well someone has to have the bravery to take it to the real world, and I guess that has to be me.

posted by sacre_bleu at 10:15 AM on June 20, 2015


Sorry I missed it was posted. Mods, delete away.
posted by sacre_bleu at 10:22 AM on June 20, 2015


Wow. Prominent Republican calls for removal of Confederate flag. Never thought I would live to see that day.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 10:39 AM on June 20, 2015 [3 favorites]


There certainly are LOLs to be had in making a Freudian analysis on the composition of the self-portrait the NY Times chose to run.
posted by peeedro at 10:49 AM on June 20, 2015


He did that in 2007. So did McCain. And Jeb Bush took it down in Florida.

Whether the current iterations of the Republican nominees will take the same stand will be interesting to find out.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 10:51 AM on June 20, 2015


Twitter users have discovered what appears to be Dylann Roof's racist manifesto, which clearly and calmly lays out his rationale for murdering black people in Charleston.

Dude straight up says he was radicalized by reading Conservative websites:
The first website I came to was the Council of Conservative Citizens. There were pages upon pages of these brutal black on White murders...
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 11:02 AM on June 20, 2015 [6 favorites]


Never thought I would live to see that day.

Even so, he still qualified his statement: "To many, it is a symbol of racial hatred."

It's the same "I'm sorry you were offended" bullshit that they trot out all the time.
posted by fifthrider at 11:05 AM on June 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


No, it's not. It's an unambiguous statement that the flag should be removed. It's true that not everyone considers it to be racist, even though they are wrong about that, and it's those people who you have to get to take it down. The statement nowhere says or implies that the people who are offended are wrong.
posted by Going To Maine at 11:15 AM on June 20, 2015


Big rally tonight at the state house over the flag. So much concern-trolly handwringing about how it's "too soon" (which is, as you can imagine, the absolute mildest of the opposition.)
posted by ftm at 11:26 AM on June 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


Huh, the Council of Conservative Citizens site that the killer cites in his rant has taken down their site entirely. The cached version it has "CofCC deeply saddened by Charleston spree killing" as their last headline.
posted by codacorolla at 12:00 PM on June 20, 2015


I have a feeling he was quite familiar with David Lane's Fourteen Words.
posted by MikeMc at 6:44 PM on June 18


Yup, one of his pictures shows him posing with 14/88. (also)
posted by Rumple at 12:04 PM on June 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


> Anti-intellectualism Is Killing America

Submitted for your approval: The current stage of human evolution is referred to as "thinking man," but even after making this explicit discovery, entire societies seem to devalue the very critical thinking capabilities that provide their unchallenged dominion over other animal species in the first place. Instead, opting for a physical type of dominance that is no longer required for progress at their own species level.

It's hatred borne of stupidity and ignorance, but it wouldn't survive if not nourished in an environment of apathy and carelessness, or more hatred, stupidity, and ignorance.
posted by Johann Georg Faust at 12:09 PM on June 20, 2015 [3 favorites]


For anyone who may not be familiar with the Council of Conservative Citizens, the SPLC has a file.
posted by fifthrider at 12:13 PM on June 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


From the SPLC file:We believe the United States is a European country

Someone clearly missed the geography lesson on continents...
posted by bardophile at 12:21 PM on June 20, 2015


Speaking of missing lessons, remember Governor Haley's feigned confusion earlier?

"We’ll never understand what motivates anyone to enter one of our places of worship and take the life of another."

Maybe she should have taken some time two years ago to do some research after she had to kick a board member of the Council of Conservative Citizens out of her campaign.
posted by fifthrider at 12:26 PM on June 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


Man, "too soon" since what? The civil war? What a nonsense statement about the flag.
posted by Going To Maine at 12:30 PM on June 20, 2015 [5 favorites]


I have a feeling he was quite familiar with David Lane's Fourteen Words.
posted by MikeMc at 6:44 PM on June 18

Yup, one of his pictures shows him posing with 14/88. (also)


I fucking knew it! Somebody called me out for posting a wiki link to the Fourteen Words but that credo is the bedrock of the modern white supremacist/nationalist/separatist movement. Those two pictures alone explain his entire ideology and show the "drugged out whacko" was actually a "true beleiver".
posted by MikeMc at 12:34 PM on June 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


Since the shooting, I guess. People say, with a straight face, things like "this isn't what the families of the victims would want".
posted by ftm at 12:47 PM on June 20, 2015


Now would be a good time for someone to design an alternate Southern flag that really does connote "heritage, not hate." As a teenager, I really did believe the Stars and Bars could represent that because, well, I was a teenager, but also because I was alone up North and really wanted a symbol. (I grew out of that young, no fear.) Unreflective white people really do think it can stand for the nice things about the South, which, don't snark, there are -- natural beauty, country living, hospitality, good food, the wellsprings of most of American music. There ought to be an alternative. An African American company called NuSouth once put out a line of goods with the Stars and Bars in the Pan-African colors, which I liked, but it didn't catch on.

If someone, preferably a POC, designed such a flag, I could get behind it. I'm not good enough to practice vexillology by myself, but I think it should be, above all, on a white ground.
posted by Countess Elena at 1:00 PM on June 20, 2015 [3 favorites]


Since the shooting, I guess. People say, with a straight face, things like "this isn't what the families of the victims would want".

Yeah, I know, but bleh. Hopefully someone at the rally will make the point that it's a dumb argument.

Now would be a good time for someone to design an alternate Southern flag that really does connote "heritage, not hate."

That would be cool. On the more trollish end, Kanye could totes show up at the rally tonight to continue his attempted re-appropriation of the stars and bars, but I like the other option a lot better.
posted by Going To Maine at 1:05 PM on June 20, 2015


Jeb Bush: My position on how to address the Confederate flag is clear. In Florida, we acted, moving the flag from the state grounds to a museum where it belonged. This is obviously a very sensitive time in South Carolina and our prayers are with the families, the AME church community and the entire state. Following a period of mourning, there will rightly be a discussion among leaders in the state about how South Carolina should move forward and I'm confident they will do the right thing.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 1:15 PM on June 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


South Carolina Supreme Court Orders New Judge in Charleston Shooter Case

The South Carolina Supreme Court has ordered a new judge to preside in the case against the Charleston church shooter. The move comes as revelations surfaced that Charleston County Magistrate James Gosnell Jr., who presided over confessed gunman Dylann Roof's bond hearing on Friday, made racist comments in a courtroom over a decade ago, but it was not immediately clear whether that's why he was removed.
posted by Drinky Die at 1:18 PM on June 20, 2015 [12 favorites]




Now would be a good time for someone to design an alternate Southern flag that really does connote "heritage, not hate."

How about a simple portrait of James Brown?
posted by vibrotronica at 2:15 PM on June 20, 2015 [4 favorites]


Which one?
posted by Going To Maine at 2:17 PM on June 20, 2015


Or both, high-fiving?
posted by Going To Maine at 2:17 PM on June 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


Something like this.
posted by vibrotronica at 3:01 PM on June 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


Now would be a good time for someone to design an alternate Southern flag that really does connote "heritage, not hate."

Semi-serious: one of those classic barbecue-joint sign logos that have a horrifying serial killer pig-chef carrying a platter of Q.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 3:02 PM on June 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


I Will Not Argue About the Confederate Flag.
Dear “Heritage Not Hate” Guy:

Stop trying to convince me that your flag fetish, and the Civil War in general, is not about slavery. I will not provide you with the rationale you seek to continue to exercise white privilege and ignore the symbol of violent racism you want to fly on your pickup, your front lawn, or your statehouse dome. Nope. Your “heritage” IS “hate.” The two are one and the same, an inseparable proposition. This is no secret. It never was.

If you’ve convinced yourself that the Confederate flag is not a symbol of slavery and racism, you’ve managed to ignore what pretty much every prominent Confederate of the 1860s said. That takes some doing. But if you haven’t seen the truth from reading this, or this, or this, or this, or this, or this, or this, or this, or this, or this, or this, or this, or the literally thousands of other documents that attest to the centrality of slavery and race in the Confederacy, then there’s nothing I can do to change your mind. You have entered the realm of fantasy. You are a Silly Person. You have placed yourself in the same category as people who argue that the sun rotates around the earth or that the dinosaurs didn’t exist. You have plugged your ears and chanted la la la la la I’m not listening to you. I would be more successful in breaking through a brick wall with my forehead than in convincing you to, say, read a fucking book once in a while. I will not engage you, because you will not engage reality.

Oh, I know you want me to engage you. You want me to wrestle with your non-sequiturs, fictitious anecdotes about how blacks loved the CSA, and the faux evidence cherry-picked by your Uncle Floyd when he self-published his screed book. You want me, you desperately need me, to see The Truth. You want my nearly two decades’ worth of reading, research, writing, and teaching to be wrong. You want thousands of other scholars and students to also be misguided. You want all of the evidence to not exist. You want historical figures to have said things they simply did not say, and to have not said the things that they did. You want up to be down. You want all of us to believe that your precious flag represents heritage and not hate. Your very identity demands that this be so.

But I will not enable you. I will not be the Sherpa for your climb up Mount Stupid. I will not honor your racist fantasies with my attention. I will not treat your belligerent self-delusion as a somehow valid viewpoint. I. Will. Not.
Kevin Gannon, Professor of History (historian of the Civil War and Reconstruction Eras) at Grand View University in Des Moines, Iowa.
posted by standardasparagus at 3:29 PM on June 20, 2015 [61 favorites]


Share widely.
posted by standardasparagus at 3:29 PM on June 20, 2015


I don't really argue with hate flag supporters, I just troll them.
posted by Drinky Die at 3:34 PM on June 20, 2015


maybe as a yankee i should stay out of it, but a stylized southern magnolia flower could work as a flag
posted by pyramid termite at 3:35 PM on June 20, 2015


So here's the thing. The Confederate flag is, of course, about slavery. But more than that, it's about segregation. The Confederate flag didn't fly over the South Carolina statehouse until 1962. It's not that Southerners weren't proud of being Southern before 1962. It's that the flag was specifically raised as a statement of defiance against the civil rights movement and against federal support for aspects of it. It's a visual sign that was intended to say "segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever," and everyone in 1962 totally knew it. And I honestly don't have a lot of tolerance for the ignorance of people who choose not to realize that, because at some point we've all got to take responsibility for our own education.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 3:39 PM on June 20, 2015 [34 favorites]


Up until last month, the "used tool" stall (and snack-bar! Stolen tools and dubious hot dogs!) at the local Flea Market flew the ol' Stars and Bars.

In Rhode Island. Less than a mile a from a historic cemetery where there are Civil War veterans interred. Union veterans.

There are jacked-up pickups tooling around with huge "confederate flag" decals and "Rhode Island Commercial" tags.

I wonder what kind of heritage they're honoring?
posted by Slap*Happy at 3:41 PM on June 20, 2015 [3 favorites]




1 not allowed to own a gun until the age of 25.
2. Not allowed to handle or posses a gun until 25 unless a parent or guardian is present.
3. Gun magazines outside of federally liscenced shooting ranges can not hold more than six rounds.
4. A new guns sold must be keyed to one owner, which can be transfered upon sale or inheritance. That owner is libal for all acts committed with that gun.
5. (All) guns and their owners must be liscened either at the State or Federal level. If State liscenced that registry must be timely accessible Federally, with a warant.
6. No persons with a conviction of a violent nature may own a gun.
7. You must declare gun ownership, and how many, as part of your persdonal or familly health insurance.
7.a Alternatively, you must posses a gun insurance policy which covers accidental, or deliberate death caused by the firearm.
posted by edgeways at 4:12 PM on June 20, 2015 [3 favorites]


I wonder what kind of heritage they're honoring?

Southern Rhode Island heritage maybe? They're everywhere. I remember back in the '80s there was a bar in Milwaukee called the "Ol' South" with a neon stars and bars in the window. It wasn't even on the South Side of town. The "funny" part is that by that time neighborhood around the bar (48th & Lisbon for you MKE MeFites) was heavily black. It struck me as an odd place for a bar like that but it later occurred to me that the neighborhood had changed but the bar hadn't.

Stolen tools and dubious hot dogs!
A bit of a derail but you haven't truly lived until you've had a flea market hot dog with a slightly odd hue to it. I should have gotten a tattoo to mark the occasion.
posted by MikeMc at 4:14 PM on June 20, 2015


I sadly suspect that the Republican Party will band together to take the Confederate Flag out of public display and then put up a "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED" banner to show that they've ended racism.

I certainly do not approve of ANY substitute "Southern Flag" because any symbol that stands between a State Flag and the Nation's Flag will ALWAYS be a symbol of the part of the country that tried, violently and unsuccessfully, to secede. In America today, that would be a symbol of not just racism, but TREASON.
posted by oneswellfoop at 4:15 PM on June 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


I certainly do not approve of ANY substitute "Southern Flag"

Not even a flag that depicts William Tecumseh Sherman striking a match? Nothing pisses Southern Pride people off more than W.T. Sherman.
posted by MikeMc at 4:19 PM on June 20, 2015 [6 favorites]


I sadly suspect that the Republican Party will band together to take the Confederate Flag out of public display and then put up a "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED" banner to show that they've ended racism.

I think that the reality, unfortunately, is that when an action is seen as a 'concession' to a nebulous *something* (e.g. ending racism, liberals, African Americans, the North, outsiders), future change will necessarily be all the harder. ("What! We already gave up thing X! Now we have to give up thing Y?!") It's going to be a long, slow road of getting folks to perceive their world in a new light.
posted by Going To Maine at 4:20 PM on June 20, 2015


I certainly do not approve of ANY substitute "Southern Flag" because any symbol that stands between a State Flag and the Nation's Flag will ALWAYS be a symbol of the part of the country that tried, violently and unsuccessfully, to secede. In America today, that would be a symbol of not just racism, but TREASON.
Yeah, I really disagree with that. First of all, I don't agree that any region or country or whatever should be perpetually defined by historical guilt. Second of all, there are plenty of black people and other POC in the South who identify strongly as Southern but who don't have anything to do with the Confederate heritage. In fact, when they celebrate their Southern heritage, they may be celebrating a legacy of resistance to the things the Confederate flag represents. And third of all, there are plenty of perfectly cromulant things that are distinctive about the South, and I don't think there's any reason not to celebrate them. And finally, I don't think that anyone in the US is really in a position to throw stones. I don't think a single one of us can claim some sort of spotless historical legacy.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 4:26 PM on June 20, 2015 [8 favorites]


Y'all know the stars and bars wasn't actually the confederate flag, right? It was the battle standard for a regiment from VA. How it became the symbol of The South, I don't know, but it wasn't the flag that most rebels fought under. The people that proudly display the Dixie stripes are not remembering anything but a history that never happened. Theirs is a history of happy slaves who didn't want all that nasty freedom, a history where all the white folks lived like Scarlett O'Hara, and the song of the south rang with bell tones throughstreets paved with gold.

In other words, the Dixie flag is a fantastic way to spot the looney.
posted by dejah420 at 4:29 PM on June 20, 2015 [3 favorites]


I suppose the question that comes to mind is why does the SE US need a distinct flag? Each state has it's own, and every region of the country can claim some 'specialness' equally deserving of a unique flag. Hell, you likely could have a new flag for each contiguous two states. Tennessee could have 9 flags!
posted by edgeways at 4:35 PM on June 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


Tennessee could have 9 flags!

Careful; you don't want to make the other states jealous. Give Tennessee 9 of them and Texas will come back tomorrow demanding 54.
posted by fifthrider at 4:40 PM on June 20, 2015


54 flags over Texas
posted by edgeways at 4:42 PM on June 20, 2015


Things I Didn't Know:
Today, the current state flag of Mississippi features the familiar Confederate battle flag in the canton, or upper left corner, the only current U.S. state flag to do so. Georgia's state flag is very similar to the first national flag of the Confederacy, the "Stars and Bars", even though its design has not incorporated the Confederate battle flag (X-shaped, blue Saltire with 13 white stars on a red field) in the canton since 2001. The current flag of North Carolina is also a modified version of the 1861 Confederate flag's design.
[from Wikipedia]
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:43 PM on June 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


Y'all know the stars and bars wasn't actually the confederate flag, right?

I keep hearing this, but then I go to wikipedia, and the second and third versions of the confederate flag prominently feature the "confederate flag or whatever it's supposed to be called" in the upper left corner. If someone took the second national flag of the confederate states of america, and chopped off everything that wasn't the white background, they'd have the "confederate flag or whatever it's supposed to be called".
posted by 23skidoo at 4:52 PM on June 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


1 not allowed to own a gun until the age of 25.
2. not allowed to own a gun after the age of 24.

We have this, it works fine.
posted by biffa at 5:08 PM on June 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


Can the North have a regional flag too?
posted by Drinky Die at 5:30 PM on June 20, 2015 [9 favorites]


The Charleston Shooter Has Plenty of Company on the Internet

@AdamWeinstein: "How can you claim you'll stand up to Russia & Iran if you can't stand up to an army that surrendered 150 years ago?"
posted by Golden Eternity at 5:51 PM on June 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm always grimly amused when I see trucks around here with West Virginia plates and a confederate flag sticker.
posted by octothorpe at 5:52 PM on June 20, 2015 [7 favorites]


The thing is right? The thing is this fellow IS still a kid. Not in the culpable sense, his actions are his actions and he must now pay the cost of them. But, man... 21 is young. And you know it didn't have to go this way, he not only cut short those lives he took, but he wasted his own life from here on out. And not to express too much sympathy for the murderous thug, but, at the end of the day that wast is also a tragedy.
I know many many folks want to see him killed, and brutalized in prison. Myself? I would want him locked in with the biggest, blackest and kindest man in the system. I want this kid to grow up and, while never exiting prison, come to realize the enormity of his actions. To grow old with a developed conscious, perhaps to have the children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of those he slayed to visit him each year.

The death penalty is too easy and too barbaric and cuts short the possibility of self repentance.
posted by edgeways at 5:57 PM on June 20, 2015 [5 favorites]


And those are the things that people like about it.
posted by box at 6:38 PM on June 20, 2015


i don't want him to be killed or brutalized - i can hold that view and still call him what he is, an adult. especially since people who look like his victims are never afforded childhood. we can't have a cultural reaction that argues about tamir rice's "adult body" and then call this mass murderer a kid. and i mean - if you want him to go to prison for life than you don't really see him as a kid, at least i would hope.
posted by nadawi at 7:59 PM on June 20, 2015 [8 favorites]


i'm oddly upset about the denigration of George Washington Carver in Roof's manifesto; dude took an easily-growable crop in the region you claim to love, brought life and wealth out of it, and helped people. what the fuck. George Washington Carver, sorry you had to had to get dragged into this; you are wonderful.
posted by Greg Nog at 8:05 PM on June 20, 2015 [14 favorites]




So this is coming from a dopey white guy who grew up in the south and was pretty much a defender of the "history and heritage" point of view of the confederate flag until I was old enough to see the racist and hurtful symbol for what it actually is. It's different now, I have to be ready to have a difficult conversation about race and history with the people I bump into. I don't always get my point across.

Confederate flag primer: "The Stars and Bars" was the the first flag of the Confederate States of America, in use from March 1861 to May 1863. It looks like this. The "Stars and Bars" is not that.

There were two more flags of the CSA, the "Stainless Banner" (1863 to 1865), and the "Bloodstained Banner" (1865 to the bitter end).

That is the battle flag of the Confederacy, or the Confederate flag. Or the Dukes of Hazzard Flag. A symbol universally adopted as a code for hurtful, racist ignorance, violence, white supremacy.

This article covers how the CSA adopted the confederate battle flag as a national symbol. TLDR: the stars and bars were not popular because they looked like the US flag, it was unpopular with the people because it was so derivative of the US flag and unpopular with CSA generals because it was difficult to distinguish in battle from afar. Plus the Army of Northern Virginia kicked much ass and everyone wanted to co-opt their symbolism.

This is just FYI, I have no interest in litigating the distinctions. I believe that the Confederate Flag belongs in a museum, and I'm deeply offended when I see it flown over US soil with honor. But I've seen progressive discussions stalled too many times in arguments over semantics. Progress is likely made easier if you understand the vocabulary of the opposing side.
posted by peeedro at 8:25 PM on June 20, 2015 [17 favorites]


nadawi - I think he actually occupies a liminal space. He is not quite a full fledged adult in anything but the legal sense, but not a kid in the 'innocence' sense.

Roof apparently writes about the Trayvon Martin killing as a watershed moment for him. If that is accurate then somehow, in three years, Roof became a person willing to commit mass murder. Those three years in even slightly different circumstances = no church shooting. This is not something that happens between 30 and 33, it is a product of youth.
There is a reason the armed fores want kids/adults in this age group. They have the body of an adult but by and large don't have the critical thinking that goes with true adulthood.

And no, I am not engaging in a Roof/Rice comparison.
posted by edgeways at 9:00 PM on June 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


Black Boys Viewed as Older, Less Innocent Than Whites, Research Finds
Black boys as young as 10 may not be viewed in the same light of childhood innocence as their white peers, but are instead more likely to be mistaken as older, be perceived as guilty and face police violence if accused of a crime, according to new research published by the American Psychological Association.

“Children in most societies are considered to be in a distinct group with characteristics such as innocence and the need for protection. Our research found that black boys can be seen as responsible for their actions at an age when white boys still benefit from the assumption that children are essentially innocent,” said author Phillip Atiba Goff, PhD, of the University of California, Los Angeles. The study was published online in APA’s Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
The pushback against calling Roof a "kid" is because it reinforces this aspect of racism, where Black kids are not given the benefit of the doubt for being "kids." Even if done unintentionally, calling Roof a "kid" or emphasizing that he was clueless or confused or reactive due to his young age reinforces the racist trope.
posted by jaguar at 9:24 PM on June 20, 2015 [23 favorites]


If you believe people in that 18-21 age range are immature the solution isn't to strip that understanding from white people...it's to grant it to black people too. But this situation and Tamir Rice have absolutely 100% zero in common for more reasons than I can count. For one, the age ranges aren't similar at all.
posted by Drinky Die at 9:33 PM on June 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


If you believe people in that 18-21 age range are immature the solution isn't to strip that understanding from white people...it's to grant it to black people too.

Sure, in the long-term. But there are reasons to avoid focusing on Roof's age in the aftermath of his committing a mass murder, since it ends up reifying racist assumptions.
posted by jaguar at 9:40 PM on June 20, 2015 [3 favorites]


[Couple comments deleted. Folks, please don't make the point that it's objectionable to compare the killer here to a bunch of black boys who were killed, by bringing in all those boys by name here? It has the opposite effect of what you intend, invoking a pretty offensive comparison. Just leave that. Talk about youth and words and race, fine.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 10:02 PM on June 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


The pushback against calling Roof a "kid" is because it reinforces this aspect of racism, where Black kids are not given the benefit of the doubt for being "kids."

I get that. And I agree, even.

But this kid is the same age as my son, who is... well, he's my kid, and I just can't even.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 10:07 PM on June 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


i'm 33 and will always be my dad's baby girl, but i've still been an adult for a very long time.
posted by nadawi at 10:18 PM on June 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


Sure, in the long-term. But there are reasons to avoid focusing on Roof's age in the aftermath of his committing a mass murder, since it ends up reifying racist assumptions.

I see your point, but it strikes me as a bit of a stretch to compare the heavily reported situations regarding black kids with this case. The ages in those cases are generally very widely reported. It's become a trope among the racists to go all out mocking the idea their age makes them less culpable for their alleged actions. Joining in with them to push back against the idea that youth could contribute to minor or major mistakes strikes me as much more likely to reinforce those tropes in the long term, because unfortunately the black kids and young adults are the ones more frequently facing unwarranted attention from police.

Recognizing the role of immaturity in crimes such as this does not mean we should not punish to the reasonable extent of the law, which in the case of Roof means life in prison in my opinion or the death penalty if that is something you support. The reasonable reaction in the case of a young teen or tween making a less premeditated mistake or no mistake at all is obviously an entirely different situation. Certainly gunning them down in the street unnecessarily is not something that should ever be on the table. Immaturity is one factor we should consider. It's far, far from the only one. But I don't think even in this case that we should fail to acknowledge it may play a role because we think taking that position may be a benefit to others who have not been granted that privilege. It just seems like a backwards conclusion to me. Acknowledge he is young, because he is. The conclusion in this case is still that he must pay the maximum ethical penalty.
posted by Drinky Die at 10:32 PM on June 20, 2015


Rick Perry: "This was a drug-induced accident....I meant to say 'incident'".

Your birth was a drug-induced accident. Sorry, meant to say incident.

Possessing some pot doesn't necessarily make me a pothead. Possessing a rifle doesn't mean I'm planning a murder. But unless I own a museum, I can't think of any plausible reason to fly the stars and bars besides broadcasting hatred.

You may have won a few battles, but you lost the war before it even started. Either try succeeding from my country again or join the rest of the world, because you belong in a museum. Tomorrow I'll have a drink to celebrate 150 years of freedom. And a week from now I'm moving to the deep south and bringing all of my love with me.
posted by WhitenoisE at 10:47 PM on June 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


acknowledging that he's a relatively young adult is a very different thing than insisting he's a kid.
posted by nadawi at 11:43 PM on June 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


You are totally free to believe that a 21 year old is too mature to be called a kid, it's a very reasonable position, some people disagree. But, I don't think there is much of a logical course towards the argument that someone who believes differently from you on that is supporting the idea that black children are adults. It's a pretty bizarre derail to insist nobody can talk about this murderer as a kid without it also being meta commentary on the innocent boy you named earlier.
posted by Drinky Die at 12:43 AM on June 21, 2015


But, I don't think there is much of a logical course towards the argument that someone who believes differently from you on that is supporting the idea that black children are adults.

But that's essentially what white privilege is.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 3:23 AM on June 21, 2015 [2 favorites]


I may be not fully understanding because I just woke up, but - is someone really trying to use the "but he's so young" excuse to give this jerk a pass for killing people?

Jesus, and I thought playing the "mental illness" card was offensive.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:28 AM on June 21, 2015 [2 favorites]


Ouch. One of the worst-timed headlines ever, barely exceeded by Detective Partner Going to Retire After This One Case, Spend Time With Family:
Terrorism Is Booming Almost Everywhere But in the United States

It's date-marked June 19th, but I presume it was finalised at least one day earlier. Also, "booming"? Really?
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:42 AM on June 21, 2015


EmpressCallipygos, can you please specify which comment you are referencing, and what part of the comment you have an issue with? Because it sounds like you're saying "I'm very upset with a specific user saying an offensive thing" but if that's as far as you're going to go, then a) that's not helpful to discussion and b) I don't see anyone in this thread attempting to do what you're saying.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 4:51 AM on June 21, 2015 [2 favorites]


Hall & Oates - I was referring to the general discussion about whether he should be considered an adult or not, largely because I don't see what that question could possibly have to do with the fact that he still killed 9 people.

It seems like it was first introduced to this particular conversation here, but I'm sure other people are saying the same thing elsewhere in the world.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:34 AM on June 21, 2015


I may be not fully understanding because I just woke up, but - is someone really trying to use the "but he's so young" excuse to give this jerk a pass for killing people?

No.
posted by Going To Maine at 5:36 AM on June 21, 2015 [4 favorites]


Sure, in the long-term. But there are reasons to avoid focusing on Roof's age in the aftermath of his committing a mass murder, since it ends up reifying racist assumptions.

Most of what I've read regarding his age does not appear to be excusing him, or playing the "he's just a kid" card. Instead, it has been lamenting the fact that racism is "supposed to be" an ignorant old person's trait, something that is dying out as those nasty old racists pass on.

If the murderer had been 75 years old, people could console themselves with his age - "oh, the younger generation is much more tolerant". That consolation is not available with the young adult who actually committed these murders.
posted by theorique at 7:24 AM on June 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


But, I don't think there is much of a logical course towards the argument that someone who believes differently from you on that is supporting the idea that black children are adults.

But that's essentially what white privilege is.


The forces that lead a lot of people to see young white people as kids and young black kids as adult are white privilege. It doesn't follow that people can't see white kids as kids and black kids as kids. I see twenty-one year old people as kids because I know I was a kid at that age.

It seems like it was first introduced to this particular conversation here, but I'm sure other people are saying the same thing elsewhere in the world.

By the same thing you mean this?: The thing is this fellow IS still a kid. Not in the culpable sense, his actions are his actions and he must now pay the cost of them.
posted by Drinky Die at 7:25 AM on June 21, 2015 [4 favorites]


I guess I'm a little unclear about how calling him a kid furthers the discussion. It's part of a really well-documented phenomenon of assigning childhood and innocence to white young adults while denying it to black children, sometimes with pretty brutal consequences. And I don't think it sheds a lot of light on the situation. I was in some ways very immature when I was 21, too, but I wasn't a violent white supremacist and I didn't kill anyone. How does it help us understand this adult mass-murderer if we talk about him like he's a child?
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 7:31 AM on June 21, 2015 [3 favorites]


If you would know cause -- real cause with predictive and preventative value, not just whatever strokes your personal hobby horse -- you must seek commonality. Consider:

Columbine
Virginia Tech
Ecole Polytechnique
Port Arthur
Aurora Theatre
Luby's Cafeteria
Sandy Hook

The list goes on, but it is a notably modern list; hardly anything like this ever happened before the 20th century, and post-WWII it seems we have an incident like this every few years. Someone unconnected to any group and with nothing obvious to gain plans, arms themselves, and given the situation they are able to set up seeks to take out the maximum possible number of other people. They go into the situation with no expectation of a future for themselves beyond the massacre.

It's not a phenomenon unique to youth or any age group. It's not solidly linked to any reliable mental diagnosis. There is no common ideology or obvious motive. Sometimes the victims are random, sometimes they are schoolmates, sometimes there is a fig leaf of ideology but this isn't consistent. What is consistent is that the act is planned as a blaze of glory, something a cruel or indifferent world will not be able to ignore.

Serial killers and mass murderers are a hobby horse of mine. That we make so many of them now says something strange and terrifying about our species and our modern world. What is so different about us and our ancestors who until less than a hundred years ago hardly ever did this sort of thing?

Our current specimen claims to have been radicalized by Trayvon Martin. The lesson of history -- not racial history but serial killer history -- is that if he hadn't found racialism he would have almost certainly found some other excuse. He wasn't a racist looking for a way to express his racism, he was a ticking murder bomb looking for a place to go off who found Trayvon Martin.

The D.C. sniper thought he was participating in some kind of half-assed Muslim jihad (though he had no backing or links to any group). The Columbine shooters had a grudge list. The Ecole Polytechnique shooter hated women. And you know who else thought he was starting a glorious race war that would raze civilization to its foundations? The Tate-Labianca murderers. Yeah, the guy whose minions killed a bunch of rich white people also claimed he was starting a race war. I bet nobody suggests we should take him at his word.

This isn't to say we don't have a race problem in the US. We have a massive race problem which is why it was in this guy's face for him to latch on to. But we also have a serial killer and mass murder problem, and we will not make any progress understanding those if we get distracted by one-case details. This guy has a lot more in common with the shooters I listed above than he does with any of the many horrible race-driven criminals in our sordid past. Lynching is the act of a mob or institutional group against individuals; this was almost exactly the opposite. These shootings are a form of terrorism, but not on behalf of the usual or even stated causes. They are crimes of self-actualization. The killer's motive is that everyone will know their name.

And that said, the astute reader will notice certain words that I have avoided. To mention a serial killer's name in public is basically to stroke their throbbing hardon. It's what they want more than anything else. If you really want to discourage the next person who gets the idea to shoot up a church or school or restaurant or movie theatre, stop giving them what they want. By the time they start shooting they've stopped caring about anything else, but the fact that you know their name makes it all worthwhile.
posted by Bringer Tom at 7:40 AM on June 21, 2015 [5 favorites]


What is so different about us and our ancestors who until less than a hundred years ago hardly ever did this sort of thing?

Surely guns.
posted by Trochanter at 7:44 AM on June 21, 2015 [2 favorites]


How does it help us understand this adult mass-murderer if we talk about him like he's a child?

The comments I've seen on it seem to be expressing shock and dismay that such a young person could so thoroughly destroy so many lives and their own in the process. Some have expressed shock that someone as young as their own children could do such a thing. They read to me as personal expressions of grief about what Dylan Roof did in that church.

Not every comment here is about getting a deep understanding of a killer, those comments read to me as more an expression of a lack of understanding or difficulty facing the reality. Not a single comment is calling him innocent. Nobody here thinks the boy nadawi mentioned isn't a child. It's definitely a thing out there in the world though, but it's not occurring here.
posted by Drinky Die at 7:48 AM on June 21, 2015


If he's a kid, fine, someone had to give that child or facilitated that child's acquisition of a gun, and, whoever he or she is, that adult also needs to be clapped in irons and brought before a judge to account for the murder of nine people. Otherwise, if we can't manage that, we really need to stop trying to let Roof off the hook with silly language games.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 7:52 AM on June 21, 2015 [3 favorites]


we really need to stop trying to let Roof off the hook with silly language games.

Do you really believe fellow Mefites want him let off the hook even though literally nobody has said that and it's a highly offensive thing to accuse someone of? That is your honest, good faith reading of the situation?
posted by Drinky Die at 8:10 AM on June 21, 2015 [6 favorites]


The list goes on, but it is a notably modern list

The list, era, method (a gun), reminds me of a short story I read when I was a teenager: Erostratus, by Jean-Paul Sartre. The name Erostratus is a re-working of the Greek Herostratus... he who, seeking notoriety, burned down the Temple of Artemis. People remembered his name, but no one remembered the name of the architect.

In Sartre's short story (first published in 1939) it's "a misanthropic man who resolves to follow the path of Herostratus and make history by means of an evil deed—in this case, by killing six random people (one for each bullet in his revolver). [Wiki]
posted by Mister Bijou at 8:15 AM on June 21, 2015


i think when anyone insists that an adult (who has been an adult for years) is a kid, especially when that adult is a white man who has committed racially motivated mass murder, they are engaging of a minimization of his crime and/or culpability whether they mean to or not. you'll also see this when the news decides to run with a picture of him as an actual child opening christmas presents. as deray said : "Watch. Whiteness. Work."
posted by nadawi at 8:27 AM on June 21, 2015 [7 favorites]


The comments I've seen on it seem to be expressing shock and dismay that such a young person could so thoroughly destroy so many lives and their own in the process. Some have expressed shock that someone as young as their own children could do such a thing. They read to me as personal expressions of grief about what Dylan Roof did in that church.

I'd believe that a lot more if the rest of the world had made similar comments about Michael Brown in the wake of his murder. At least some people did that with Trayvon Martin, but there was equal "he was a thug" pushback.

Even expressing shock that "someone so young did such a thing" shifts focus away from the fact that nevertheless, he did do that thing.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:31 AM on June 21, 2015 [2 favorites]


And there are a lot of other people his age, and younger, who probably also would.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:32 AM on June 21, 2015


Bringer Tom, you're cherry picking examples to support your theory. Heaps of serial killers and mass murderers operated secretly: Fred and Rose West, the Snowtown case, Ivan Milat. You can narrow it down to a subset of mass shootings, but I think in that case you're still missing the forest for the trees: young white and sometimes Asian (model minority) men who are led to believe that the patriarchy should put them on top but have actually not got great lives, who then decide they'll take what they believe to be rightfully theirs. Fame is, in effect, the consolation prize they award themselves. But if they didn't have the sense of entitlement to begin with, they wouldn't need an ideology to explain why their lives are crappy.
posted by harriet vane at 8:35 AM on June 21, 2015 [7 favorites]


The question is, simply, if this were a 21-year-old Black person who murdered nine people, would he be referred to as a "kid" as frequently. I have to say "No."

All this stuff about "but my kid's 21 and I love him!" is really just evidence of how immersed some people are. How often do people imagine their own children in the shoes of victims when those victims belong to a different ethnicity or culture? That's the privilege.

Tywanza Sanders was, what, 26 years old? If Roof is "emotionally" a kid, he's also a child murderer.
posted by Johann Georg Faust at 8:37 AM on June 21, 2015 [18 favorites]


I think people might want to keep in mind LM's mod note from earlier going forward.
posted by Drinky Die at 8:41 AM on June 21, 2015


Even with these parallels, we still hear endless speculation about the Charleston shooter’s motives. Gov. Nikki Haley of South Carolina wrote in a Facebook post that “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.” Despite reports of the killer declaring his racial hatred before shooting members of the prayer group, his motives are inscrutable. Even after photos surfaced of the suspected shooter wearing a jacket decorated with the flags of Rhodesia and apartheid-era South Africa and leaning against a car with Confederate-flag plates, tangible proof of his alignment with violent, segregationist ideology, his actions remained supposedly indecipherable. A Seattle Times tweet (now deleted) asked if the gunman was “concentrated evil or a sweet kid,” The Wall Street Journal termed him a “loner” and Charleston’s mayor called him a “scoundrel,” yet the seemingly obvious designations — murderer, thug, terrorist, killer, racist — are nowhere to be found.

This is the privilege of whiteness: While a terrorist may be white, his violence is never based in his whiteness. A white terrorist has unique, complicated motives that we will never comprehend. He can be a disturbed loner or a monster. He is either mentally ill or pure evil. The white terrorist exists solely as a dyad of extremes: Either he is humanized to the point of sympathy or he is so monstrous that he almost becomes mythological. Either way, he is never indicative of anything larger about whiteness, nor is he ever a garden-variety racist. He represents nothing but himself. A white terrorist is anything that frames him as an anomaly and separates him from the long, storied history of white terrorism.

...I understand the comfort of this silence. If white violence is unspoken and unacknowledged, if white terrorists are either saints or demons, we don’t have to grapple with the much more complicated reality of racial violence. In our time, racialized terror no longer announces itself in white hoods and robes. You can be a 21-year-old who has many black Facebook friends and tells harmless racist jokes and still commit an act of horrifying racial violence. We cannot separate ourselves from the monsters because the monsters don’t exist. The monsters have been human all along.
posted by jaguar at 8:43 AM on June 21, 2015 [19 favorites]


harriet vane, that's a fair point; it may be that a frustrated sense of entitlement is part of the toxic mix that creates these people. I think there is an important distinction between serial killers who operate in secrecy committing multiple acts over time and mass murderers who go out in a blaze of glory often capped by their own Viking funeral. The thing is all these causes also existed in the 19th century when guns were just as plentiful, newspapers were just as lurid as modern media, and hardly anybody did this sort of thing.
posted by Bringer Tom at 8:46 AM on June 21, 2015


He's 21, so there's still plenty of opportunity to change his mind, to make him see why he is wrong and for him to be rehabilitated. If the relatives of those killed can find forgiveness for this man, as they have (and they are better men and women for doing so than I think I could be in their position), then wider society also needs to see if there are ways to do so. This isn't saying don't punish him or don't punish him severely but that doesn't have to be the only goal.
posted by biffa at 9:05 AM on June 21, 2015 [3 favorites]


Even expressing shock that "someone so young did such a thing" shifts focus away from the fact that nevertheless, he did do that thing.

i think when anyone insists that an adult (who has been an adult for years) is a kid, especially when that adult is a white man who has committed racially motivated mass murder, they are engaging of a minimization of his crime and/or culpability whether they mean to or not

Maybe this is a good time to take it to Meta, since this bothers me more broadly. To quote Pogo_Fuzzybutt, above:

The pushback against calling Roof a "kid" is because it reinforces this aspect of racism, where Black kids are not given the benefit of the doubt for being "kids."

I get that. And I agree, even.

But this kid is the same age as my son, who is... well, he's my kid, and I just can't even.


This isn't CNN, it doesn't have the power of CNN, and isn't in danger of being confused for the "mainstream". This is MetaFilter, a niche interest site whose community has come down pretty strongly against perpetuating terrible societal tropes. (Well, except for those that we as a community don't yet know exist.) While it's no doubt influenced all of our thoughts on these issues, I think that if someone is having the feels this should generally be a comfortable place to express them. No one in this thread has denied the idea that using perceived youth to minimize white crime isn't a thing. A few have expressed some shock and pain at their perceived youth of the antagonist, but in general it's filtered through these responses.

I have no doubt that call out culture will -and, I think, should- continue on MetaFilter. I think that it makes us & here better, & I certainly don't think that anyone in this thread is going to complain about being silenced all of their life because of pushback. So maybe all of this boils down to a tone argument, or something darn close. But, I guess - let's have some faith in us as a community to not be actively trying to be dicks, even if our gut responses are different? Iunno. But this is all kind of rubbing me the wrong way. (And no doubt I should not be complaining about other peoples' comments when there is quite a beam in my own eye. But it's something towards which to aspire.)
posted by Going To Maine at 9:23 AM on June 21, 2015 [6 favorites]


Look, I don't know where to begin here, Bringer Tom. Guns most definitely weren't as plentiful in the nineteenth century, nor did semi-automatic handguns exist until the very end of that period. Reloading a cap-and-ball revolver takes a goodly amount of time. Newspapers were lurid, sure, but you can't really compare 19th century yellow journalism to the speed and violence of the current 24-hour news cycle.

More to the point, though, your position seems to be essentially that wound collectors such as Dylann Roof shop for their ideologies, and therefore the ideologies somehow aren't the essential problem. That's just a crock. As I pointed out earlier, you just don't see violence directed against categories of people without a cognitive dissonance between a belief in essential superiority and a reality of squandered opportunities. This isn't just limited to individual spree killers. Look at the ideological groundwork of lynching during Reconstruction, or interwar fascism in Europe, or genocide in Rwanda. In each case, take a narrative of entitlement denied, of betrayal or a lost cause, add in a group bias (race, gender, sexuality, religion, what-have-you), and let fester for enough time, and you get a poisonous elixir of self-righteous murder.

Take away racism and Dylann Roof wouldn't have an excuse. Sure, maybe he would have found another, but he just as likely might have turned his inferiority complex inward and expressed himself in self-harm instead. Either way, when we're presented with a man who, with ample premeditation, killed nine people explicitly to express a racist ideology, this isn't the time to be entertaining airy counterfactuals about what essential psychosis might lurk behind his terrorism.
posted by fifthrider at 9:27 AM on June 21, 2015 [9 favorites]


Do you really believe fellow Mefites want him let off the hook even though literally nobody has said that

I wonder if some are skirting the edge of some precariously thin ice trying to minimize his actions, just a tiny bit, based on his age, yes. Maybe we shouldn't call him a kid, when he's a 21-year old adult who is so very clearly and very horribly self-aware.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 9:39 AM on June 21, 2015 [2 favorites]


And that doesn't go just for this site, but everywhere and anywhere this act of terrorism is discussed.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 9:41 AM on June 21, 2015


some people are expressing why they call him a kid (including someone arguing that seeing him as a kid is why the poster wants him to spend life in prison with a kind black man instead of being brutalized and murdered by the state - as if those are connected in any way) and some people are expressing their own feelings about why that's, to them, a harmful thing to do with a deep racist history. you can't really support just letting people express their feelings if you're only protecting one specific viewpoint of feeling expressing.
posted by nadawi at 9:43 AM on June 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


Maybe this is a good time to take it to Meta

its certainly not a good time to stand in the middle of the road thinking about taking it to Meta. You know when is? Never. if you think you have something to call out then call it out, if not then move on, but discussing whether it should go to Meta in live threads is verboten and has been for a very long time.
posted by biffa at 9:45 AM on June 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


I wonder if some are skirting the edge of some precariously thin ice trying to minimize his actions, just a tiny bit, based on his age, yes.

Well, let me put your wonder to rest. They aren't.
posted by Drinky Die at 9:45 AM on June 21, 2015 [2 favorites]


Okay, well, I'm glad that has been settled for me, I guess.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 9:47 AM on June 21, 2015 [2 favorites]


but discussing whether it should go to Meta in live threads is verboten and has been for a very long time.

Ha. Well said.
posted by Going To Maine at 9:47 AM on June 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


(To be clear alod, I mean here so far, not the wider world.)
posted by Drinky Die at 9:48 AM on June 21, 2015


If you want to use the word "kid" to describe Roof, you should know that 1) people see black kids as adults waaaaay earlier than white kids, and see white men as kids waaaaaay later than black kids, and 2) public perception affects how justly the USA treats people of different races. You're not using the word "kid" in a vacuum, it's one of those things that despite how you feel in your heart of hearts, the usage of the word "kid" to describe a racist, adult murderer has effects, and people should push back against it hard.
posted by 23skidoo at 10:00 AM on June 21, 2015 [16 favorites]


maybe if instead of kid people could just say young adult - then people who want to can focus on his youth without indicating that he's a minor (which comes with a whole fuckton of baggage about how we see white men vs black boys, what punishments should be considered, culpability, etc).
posted by nadawi at 10:03 AM on June 21, 2015 [5 favorites]


It is the same willingness to view this murderer as a "kid" or even a "young adult" - the way that people can and (by this thread) do visualize or recall their own similarly-aged children when they think of him - that will eventually impact and lessen his sentence.
posted by Ashen at 10:06 AM on June 21, 2015 [2 favorites]


The pushback should be to treat black people the same way we treat white people. I want people to see a twenty-one year old black person who commits a crime as a kid too so that mistakes of immaturity they may make are not punished with undue harshness. I don't think it's in their interests to insist they aren't kids when they turn 21.

eventually impact and lessen his sentence.

He is either going to spend his entire life in prison or face the death penalty. Those are the only realistic outcomes here.
posted by Drinky Die at 10:10 AM on June 21, 2015 [3 favorites]


they aren't minors when they turn 18 - and for black boys, they stop being minors in the eyes of the law much, much earlier than that. 21 year olds are adults, full stop. why are you so attached to the label of kid? why can't you talk about his relative youth without it?
posted by nadawi at 10:12 AM on June 21, 2015 [6 favorites]


The pushback should be to treat black people the same way we treat white people. I want people to see a twenty-one year old black person who commits a crime as a kid too so that mistakes of immaturity they may make are not punished with undue harshness. I don't think it's in their interests to insist they aren't kids when they turn 21.

That is not the current state of affairs, and it may never be. Recourse can be found by ensuring that white people who commit similar crimes are forced to meet the same standards as us. In this case, that means that Roof needs to be viewed as an adult.

And frankly, I can only imagine what sorts of sweeping legislative reform would take place if white people were held to the same standards as Black people and other POC in criminal proceedings.

And even if I entertained the idea that 21 is the fragile border between adolescence and adulthood, you stop being an adult when you arm yourself and take the life of another human being. Even more so when you take the lives of nine other people. He's not some troubled college kid who sold study drugs to make money or something, he took lives. For race-related reasons.
posted by Ashen at 10:24 AM on June 21, 2015 [13 favorites]


And frankly, I can only imagine what sorts of sweeping legislative reform would take place if white people were held to the same standards as Black people and other POC in criminal proceedings.

Either reform, or there'd need to be something like another 10,000,000 places in prisons to put the equivalent proportion of the white population.
posted by Rumple at 10:29 AM on June 21, 2015 [1 favorite]




they aren't minors when they turn 18 - and for black boys, they stop being minors in the eyes of the law much, much earlier than that. 21 year olds are adults, full stop.

People use kid to mean young person in general, not only minor.

You say a person who turns 21 is an adult, full stop. As far as meaning they aren't going to juvenile court, sure. But beyond that, there are complexities. Imagine someone with no father and a mother who works two jobs. Someone who drops out of high school early. Someone who then spends their time mostly on the streets. Maybe some time in juvenile hall. Their parents didn't have time for them. They didn't stick around for the teachers to influence them. They've spent most of their life learning from other kids. They may turn out to be adult in age but not in maturity. I want the courts to see that. I want society to see that. But hey, I was still a immature at 21 and I had a good school and good parents so I don't restrict that view just to people who have had bad circumstances.

If our choices to make the criminal justice system less racist and unfair are to expand empathy or to reduce empathy, I'm going to go with expand and I think that will benefit the most people.

why are you so attached to the label of kid?

Honestly, I'm not sure why you chose this hill to die on either. I'll go ahead an drop it now, I think I've expressed myself about as well as I can on this subject. If it's not persuasive, then it's not.
posted by Drinky Die at 10:40 AM on June 21, 2015 [3 favorites]


FWIW, that Guardian article? definitely using kid to minimize.
posted by Going To Maine at 10:44 AM on June 21, 2015 [7 favorites]


i've been very clear why i find calling him a kid to be bullshit. i'm not dying on any hills. you can discuss relative youth without ever using the word kid but you chose not to. it might be good for you to examine on your own why that is.
posted by nadawi at 10:46 AM on June 21, 2015 [3 favorites]


I thought I was extremely clear about my reasons as well. Oh well. Failure of communication.
posted by Drinky Die at 10:48 AM on June 21, 2015


Confederate statue vandalized downtown

The words 'Black Lives Matter' and 'This was the problem #racist' is spray painted on the base. The vandals also called out Mayor Joe Riley and Governor Nikki Haley scrawling "Riley and Haley -Why defend this evil -This the root of our evil."

Samaritans moved quickly to cover the base with a tarp but it was just as quickly uncovered by other passers-by.

The monument, "To the Confederate Defenders of Charleston - Fort Sumter," was placed in the southeast corner of White Point Garden by The United Daughters of the Confederacy.


Speaking of word choice. Samaritans? Yeah, "You should protect a racist statue honoring people who started a war so they could keep other people as property," was definitely the moral of that parable.
posted by Drinky Die at 10:57 AM on June 21, 2015 [15 favorites]


This is not vandalism. As you can see, it was done in red. This means it is correction.

also - curious for a symbol of "heritage not hate" to show up in okc at a juneteenth celebration.
posted by nadawi at 11:08 AM on June 21, 2015 [5 favorites]


filthrider: Guns most definitely weren't as plentiful in the nineteenth century, nor did semi-automatic handguns exist until the very end of that period. Reloading a cap-and-ball revolver takes a goodly amount of time.

Colt started selling the .45 "Peacemaker" in 1873, and it quickly became one of the most common guns in America. It was sufficiently modern that it was still in use virtually unchanged in both world wars. Nevertheless, there are no 19th century reports of people blowing away 6 or 12 random persons as a form of externalized suicide.

Also, in much of the country it would have been safe to assume that any randomly chosen household would have on hand at least one each long gun and pistol. You may also still meet people who remember walking to school during the Depression with their long guns so as to take any plinking opportunities that might arise on the walk. Nobody worried about those guns being aimed at the other students. It simply didn't occur to anybody that it might be a problem.

your position seems to be essentially that wound collectors such as Dylann Roof shop for their ideologies, and therefore the ideologies somehow aren't the essential problem. That's just a crock

Well what we have been told is that ---- was not particularly interested in race until he was radicalized by the Trayvon Martin case, after which he seemed to very quickly form this idea of fomenting a race war. Sorry, but to me that sounds exactly like he was shopping for an ideology. What triggered him wasn't even all that extreme, and he had to twist what was being broadcast hard to turn it into what he did. THEN he went looking for props -- Apartheid patches! Stars and bars license plate! -- which look to me like the kind of oversized stage pencils an actor uses to make sure you understand what their performance is about. It's as if he had to work pretty hard for several years to sell himself his own ideology.

I am very confident that if he had not triggered on the Martin case he would have triggered on something else, possibly completely unrelated. There is certainly basis to disagree with this assessment but it's a long way from being a "crock." The fact is we don't know why these people appear in such numbers nowadays. Yes, the modern gun supply makes them more lethal and the modern media give them a better jones but this is a thing that doesn't seem to have happened at all before WWI, and the opportunity was definitely there.
posted by Bringer Tom at 11:31 AM on June 21, 2015


You're missing my point here a bit - the issue isn't whether they shop for ideologies; the issue is that the ideology, as the triggering factor, is worth addressing. You get wound collectors in every age, but without access to an efficient weapon, a perceived audience, and a self-righteous ideology they don't tend to turn into mass murderers. Dealing with the weapons angle is, for entirely irrational reasons, political kryptonite in the modern US. The audience factor is inherent to mass communications. That leaves ideology.

And yes, alternative ideologies exist. But this is the South. Do you honestly believe that this guy just randomly wandered onto the Council of Conservative Citizens' website without any preexisting biases against black people, but feeling like mass murder might be a good idea, ingested a few vitriolic screeds, and picked his target? Dylann Roof grew up steeped in this bile.
posted by fifthrider at 12:10 PM on June 21, 2015 [6 favorites]


And even if I entertained the idea that 21 is the fragile border between adolescence and adulthood, you stop being an adult when you arm yourself and take the life of another human being. Even more so when you take the lives of nine other people. He's not some troubled college kid who sold study drugs to make money or something, he took lives. For race-related reasons.

That's why the language matters. He has broadcast his views loudly and clearly, to the point where calling him anything other than an adult really does suggest he wasn't fully aware of his actions or his culpability for them. And if there's anything the mainstream media and conservative politicians have done a lot of, it is basically to largely ignore what he has said and done, and instead suggest he is troubled, or that he fighting a war against Christians, or whatever else except to acknowledge his racism. I mean, this guy could have shouted all of this at us from a megaphone and we'd still want to deny it. It's kind of pathological.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 12:19 PM on June 21, 2015 [4 favorites]


but without access to an efficient weapon, a perceived audience, and a self-righteous ideology they don't tend to turn into mass murderers

Ideology does not seem to be a factor in most mass murders. (It says volumes that a phrase like "most mass murders" is not completely ridiculous nowadays.) Of the ones I "cherry picked" VA Tech, Port Arthur, Aurora, Luby's, and Sandy Hook seem completely devoid of rationale. Ecole Polytechnique was obviously misogynist, Columbine may have been driven by personal grudges. The San Ysidro McDonald's shooter seems to have mixed a paranoid cocktail of anti-government and anti-communist survivalist hogwash. But the rest seem driven by softness of target and convenience. And the thing is, I didn't really cherry pick those; they're just the most well known incidents of a certain type. There have been others, and not just in the US. They have an unmistakable broad similarity.

I agree that guns are a problem and it would reduce the body count considerably if any yahoo who wanted one couldn't just get a 30 or 100 round clip. And I agree that media is a large component of the problem, but that isn't entirely satisfactory because the first hints of this kind of thing were popping up in the 1920's and 30's, when the media wasn't much different than it was in 1880, if a bit quicker to distribute thanks to the telegraph and radio. Even in the early days of TV, when sex crime and mass murder were really taking off compared to the previous century, the new media were pretty demure and reluctant to spread upsetting details of things like Ed Gein's career. It's a much weirder problem than most people realize.
posted by Bringer Tom at 12:52 PM on June 21, 2015 [2 favorites]


What is so different about us and our ancestors who until less than a hundred years ago hardly ever did this sort of thing?

A hundred-plus years ago if you wanted to be a hateful asshole then you had a variety of Others you could beat/kill with little chance of legal culpability. Marry a woman - because you're almost certainly a white male - and when you're not smacking her around you can say that [redacted] over there tried to violate her. Obviously you had to shoot him. Join the crowd when they go burn down that [redacted's] shop for your more social-like kill/destruction. If the law is getting too coordinated where you are, move west.

To my eye the mass murder phenomenon is just an adaptation to the structure and priorities of the modern world.
posted by phearlez at 1:44 PM on June 21, 2015 [9 favorites]


And of course the tools for bigger outbursts.
posted by phearlez at 1:44 PM on June 21, 2015


Ideology does not seem to be a factor in most mass murders.

Agreed. But this case clearly isn't "most mass murders," because most mass murderers these days don't leave behind manifestos expounding on elaborate extremist ideologies. Just because some, or even most such killings are the products of undiluted and undirected id doesn't mean they all are, especially when we're given clear indications of a structured motive.

Or did James Earl Ray just not like Thursdays?
posted by fifthrider at 2:17 PM on June 21, 2015 [3 favorites]


Ideology does not seem to be a factor in most mass murders.

That is because we are as immersed in those ideologies as a fish is immersed in water. If the shooter had been a Muslim you can bet that he'd have been described as a jihadi - he would probably have described himself that way, too. Back in the day, there were similar panics about Black Nationalists and anarchists and so forth. These ideologies have explanatory power because they are outside our cultural consensus. In contrast, we fall back on tautologies to describe murders committed by white men: if they kill blacks they are racist. Well, of course. If they kill women they are misogynists. Again, of course. Those are not ideologies, they're descriptions. An ideology is something foreign to us.

So here's a guy with a fetish for segregation. He creates an electronic shrine to himself, with a gallery of his pilgrimages to Confederate graveyards and battlefields. He literally covers himself with flags from failed states that were known for nothing other than their racial separatism, and then he goes and murders some black parishioners in their church. Oh my, what could have been the cause of this? Of course it was ideological; the reason it's hard to pin down is because it's all around us, in a million things that tell us that white/male/Christian is the default.
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:31 PM on June 21, 2015 [10 favorites]


Just because some, or even most such killings are the products of undiluted and undirected id doesn't mean they all are

This is a valid point. I tend not to agree with it but I would put this on the "agree to disagree" plane. At this point we are deep in territory where the only maps say "here there be dragons." And that, really, is the big problem.

A lot of people are really spectacularly broken in ways that do not have much historic precedent. I think it is important, and might be one of our most important imperatives, to understand how and why that is happening. I am not afraid to admit I might be wrong about this or that theory, but there is a broad -- really far too broad -- pool of examples to study. I look very hard at those examples to ask what the common factors are, because all of my training is that that is how you identify causes. And when you look at the common factors, and there are a lot of them in this particular style of externalized mass murder Viking funeral suicide, ideology just isn't one of them. It's there sometimes. The weapons are there sometimes. The focus on media is there sometimes. (I think it is glaringly obvious that current asswipe did not follow through on the Viking funeral thing because he couldn't bear not to see the headlines.) I cannot shake the conviction that there is something that is universal that we are missing, that all these things are sidebars and codas to the real problem. But I do not have that answer, as much as I long for it.

In any case this is not to say that guns, media hype, and racism aren't important problems that all need to be paid serious attention. They all are, and addressing any of them would undoubtably reduce the carnage. I'm just not sure that even addressing all of them would really address or solve the real problem that creates this particular brand of monster.
posted by Bringer Tom at 2:44 PM on June 21, 2015


(I think it is glaringly obvious that current asswipe did not follow through on the Viking funeral thing because he couldn't bear not to see the headlines.)
I think that may only be glaringly obvious to you because you're really committed to fitting this act into your preexisting theory, and it doesn't really fit if he didn't mean to commit suicide. It's sort of hard to figure out how this is a "Viking funeral suicide", since the dude ran away and then surrendered when he was cornered.

I don't know. I get that you have some theories and you're really convinced that they're true, but I'm not sure that the entire conversation needs to revolve around them.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 2:51 PM on June 21, 2015 [8 favorites]


Well AAC I've pretty much had my say and don't have much more to say, except that it seems like a really weird thing to say "the whole conversation revolves around" me when I've left less than ten comments and the vast majority of others are in solid agreement with the very idea that I'm mainly saying, you know, might not be quite as compelling as everyone thinks. But whatever.
posted by Bringer Tom at 2:55 PM on June 21, 2015


[T]he reason it's hard to pin down is because it's all around us, in a million things that tell us that white/male/Christian is the default.

See, that was the part I found most striking about Roof's screed. Over and over he identifies aspects of white privilege, like the way that Western business dress and the like are considered global defaults, and then rather than recognize that them as advantages, he complains about how such privileges, to him, constitute discrimination against 'Whiteness' by somehow denying him a distinctive cultural identity. Being the unmarked category normally means that you're winning, but to Roof mere hegemony isn't enough; he feels that he deserves to be marked affirmatively as superior.


I'm just not sure that even addressing all of them would really address or solve the real problem that creates this particular brand of monster.

To be sure, there's a type of personality that is predisposed to these lines of thinking, but I'm convinced that, left alone, they would tend more towards self-absorption than to outward violence. You're just not going to get a directed expression of violence against a socially defined group without external factors playing some role: racism implies the concept of race, and the concept of race is a social construct.
posted by fifthrider at 2:56 PM on June 21, 2015 [3 favorites]


There were plenty of outlaws who killed tons of people in the old west.
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:21 PM on June 21, 2015 [2 favorites]


(which is to say, this isn't really a new thing - just something we view differently now)
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:22 PM on June 21, 2015


Bringer Tom: "but there is a broad -- really far too broad -- pool of examples to study. I look very hard at those examples to ask what the common factors are, because all of my training is that that is how you identify causes."

I guess there's a question of which examples to study. It seem to me that you've chosen to put this shooting into the context of Ecole Polytechnique and VA Tech and Columbine and not, say, Oklahoma City. Or the 16th St. Baptist Bombing. Or the Rosewood Massacre. If you put this incident in the former context, it might be hard to see any kind of pattern aside from troubled young (often but not always white) men killing with no comprehensive motives. If you put this incident in the latter, then motives become a lot less mysterious.
posted by mhum at 3:37 PM on June 21, 2015 [5 favorites]


mhum, the reason I didn't compare to OKC, 16th St., or Rosewood is that all of those are very fundamentally different and not the same phenomenon at work. Those are all the work of more than one person, were not externalized suicide because the perps evaded capture and attempted to hide their involvement, and probably all had support from outside sources. Although it's closer I left out the Boston Marathon bombers for similar reasons. All of my examples are loners with no external support and no real hope of surviving their own burst of mayhem, which I think is an important element of that phenomenon.
posted by Bringer Tom at 3:59 PM on June 21, 2015


Ok, but Dylann Roof also evaded capture, driving four hours away and into another state before being stopped. The fact that he was bad at it doesn't mean he didn't do it. He didn't wait for the cops to show up at the church nor did he shoot himself at the scene nor did he go down in a suicide-by-cop scenario at the traffic stop. It seems as if he had multiple different options and he chose none of them. I'm not sure why you're inferring that this was also a case of "externalized suicide".
posted by mhum at 4:33 PM on June 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


DR is said to have told the cops he had planned to suicide but didn't go through with it. The idea of getting away with it was an afterthought for which he had done no real planning.
posted by Bringer Tom at 4:44 PM on June 21, 2015


@robertmooreitv: "Senator Lindsey Graham tells me the Confederate flag is 'a symbol of hatred.'"
posted by Golden Eternity at 4:46 PM on June 21, 2015 [4 favorites]


Bringer Tom: "DR is said to have told the cops he had planned to suicide but didn't go through with it."

Alright, fair enough. In fact, according to the LA Times, witnesses at the scene claim that he actually did attempt suicide at the scene but failed.
posted by mhum at 5:05 PM on June 21, 2015


Advice to anyone else planning a racial holy war: "viking deaths" are surprisingly difficult; shoot yourself first, so that you can fall back and regroup if you fail.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:03 PM on June 21, 2015 [5 favorites]




Yoni Appelbaum: Why Is the Flag Still There?, The Atlantic
It was a symbol of heritage—but that heritage was hateful. Two state delegations, in Charleston to mark that 1961 centennial, found themselves barred from the hotel where the ceremony was to take place because they included black members. President Kennedy had to issue an executive order moving the commemoration to the Charleston Navy Base. And when the centennial ended, the flag stayed, proclaiming that South Carolina might have lost the war, but that it was determined not to surrender its opposition to racial equality.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:13 PM on June 21, 2015 [2 favorites]


Wait, THAT Karl Rove? I mean, given the fact that the very tip of the top of the comments consists more or less entirely of people making not-so-veiled threats to just the world in general, perhaps it's meant as a false flag sort of thing, but I would never have expected someone so famously attached to the Right Wing Machine to bring up a repeal of the Second Amendment in any context other than pointing and claiming "they said a thing!"
posted by DoctorFedora at 7:41 PM on June 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think it should be interpreted more as a, "We can stop the violence when pigs fly," sort of statement. Or am I just too cynical about Karl Rove? Never thought I would have to ask that.
posted by Drinky Die at 7:59 PM on June 21, 2015


I feel like the answer to that question is no, and can never be anything but no, because the man is cynicism dressed in a suit
posted by DoctorFedora at 8:06 PM on June 21, 2015


Leader of group cited in 'Dylann Roof manifesto' donated to top Republicans

The leader of a rightwing group that Dylann Roof allegedly credits with helping to radicalise him against black people before the Charleston church massacre has donated tens of thousands of dollars to Republicans such as presidential candidates Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Rick Santorum.

Earl Holt has given $65,000 to Republican campaign funds in recent years while inflammatory remarks – including that black people were “the laziest, stupidest and most criminally-inclined race in the history of the world” – were posted online in his name.
-
Holt has also distributed tens of thousands in campaign contributions among prominent Republicans in congress, such as Representative Steve King of Iowa ($2,000), Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas ($1,500) and Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona ($1,000). He also gave $3,200 to the former Minnesota congresswoman and presidential candidate Michele Bachmann.

posted by Drinky Die at 11:04 PM on June 21, 2015




Next time someone says "Oh, my black/Jewish/female friend says that [whatever] isn't racist/anti-Semitic/misogynist", you can point this out: Dylann Roof Has at Least One Black Friend Who Denies Alleged Shooter Is Racist
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:30 AM on June 22, 2015


What is the context of a "Viking funeral" / "Viking death" here?

I know, LMGTFY; however, my searches all lead to discussions of cremation on a flaming ship. How does that connect to this guy shooting people at a church for racist reasons?
posted by theorique at 4:57 AM on June 22, 2015


Perhaps (I also missed the reference upthread) because Roof was clearly going for the glorious martyr flameout. He would be held up as a brave man among his supremacist peers and his name would've mentioned as some sort of rallying call.

I would say that he is partially successful. His name IS all over the place. He also inspired a chain of copycat attempts. He successfully re-introduced church attacks as part of the White Terrorists' Toolbox.

So Viking funeral (since white supremacists seem to eat that up) seems apt. As an actor on the national stage he's done, but in nearly the "best" possible way. The only way it could've gone "better" is if the cops had riddled him with bullets instead of swaddling him in a fucking bulletproof fucking vest.
posted by Ashen at 5:18 AM on June 22, 2015


I first saw this usage of "Viking funeral" in one of the contemporary essays about Columbine, and it seemed apt.
posted by Bringer Tom at 5:27 AM on June 22, 2015


FWIW, the one Norwegian newspaper (Dagbladet) that has the guy on their front page today refer to him as a terrorist.
posted by Harald74 at 5:48 AM on June 22, 2015


Time for a New Black Radicalism:
As things stand, there is no rational space for mere hope — recent events in the light of the facts of history discourage naïveté. A truly intelligent hope leaves little to chance and encourages conviction and action to better secure a preferred future — in our case, a racially just America. It seems to me the way to hope today lies in the promise of a resurgent black radical politics.
by Yale's Chris Lebron
posted by anotherpanacea at 6:06 AM on June 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


White Hate But Islamic Terrorism - "What are the implications of failing to deem the Charleston shootings "terrorism"?"
posted by the man of twists and turns at 6:07 AM on June 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


Chuck Todd is an idiot.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 7:04 AM on June 22, 2015 [6 favorites]




In possibly the most ambitious attempt to cast doubt on this being a racially-motivated attack, Miami Herald columnist A.J. Delgado has offered up her view that the blond-haired blue-eyed suspect "doesn't look white."
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:48 AM on June 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


Where 2008 Huckabee said 'If somebody... told us what to do with our flag, we'd tell 'em where to put the pole,' 2015 Huckabee, having apparently gotten around to reading that Lee Atwater quote, frames it as a states-rights thing.
posted by box at 7:53 AM on June 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


In possibly the most ambitious attempt to cast doubt on this being a racially-motivated attack, Miami Herald columnist A.J. Delgado has offered up her view that the blond-haired blue-eyed suspect "doesn't look white."

World watches remains of Amrika's sanity sink into quicksand. An accident. Not white. Must be Jesus.

Next, he thought it was a paintball gun?
posted by infini at 7:57 AM on June 22, 2015


From that New York Time Op-Ed:
In [his speech], [King] articulated what he saw as an essential form of communal love that had it’s roots in New Testatment Christianity…

NO NO NO NO NO NO NO
posted by Going To Maine at 8:04 AM on June 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


Forget it Metafilter, it's Miami-town.
posted by phearlez at 8:18 AM on June 22, 2015


Chick Todd: We simply ask you to look at this as a colorblind issue

Wow. No.
posted by argonauta at 8:42 AM on June 22, 2015


According to details reported in The Charlotte Observer, Mr. Roof was treated quite nicely once in custody: while they were transporting him to jail, when he complained of being hungry, police bought him food from Burger King.

Seems like a pretty chill attitude to take towards someone who's suspected of just having committed one of the most heinous terrorist acts in recent times. Compare that with treatment of any of the following: 1) A black man suspected of selling illegal cigarettes; 2) a black kid suspected of stealing cigarillos and/or walking in the middle of the street; 3) A 15 year old black girl accused of non-compliance while leaving a pool party; 3) A black man suspected of carrying an illegal knife; 4) Feel free to add additional examples of your own.
posted by lord_wolf at 9:12 AM on June 22, 2015 [24 favorites]


I am beginning to have a problem with this narrative - it seems the issue is not that ethnic minorities received horrific treatment at the hands of the police, but that someone was not treated horribly by the police. It normalizes police brutality, and seeks to remove the protection of law from people rather than extend it.

"We'd like it if white people were summarily executed by the police to make things fair" is not really a winning message.
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:23 AM on June 22, 2015 [5 favorites]


Mr. Roof was treated quite nicely once in custody: while they were transporting him to jail, when he complained of being hungry, police bought him food from Burger King.

Seems like a pretty chill attitude to take towards someone who's suspected of just having committed one of the most heinous terrorist acts in recent times


While I understand the (accurate) point you're making about how police in particular often inaccurately assess the potential threat of black 'suspects' and treat them as far more dangerous than they actually are, I'm really frustrated with this framing and similar framing I've seen across the internet about 'Why did they take him alive/give him a bulletproof vest/treat him well?' While I understand it comes from a place of frustrated anger, I worry that the way it's framed makes it seem as though folks are more upset that this guy is treated the way police really should be treating every suspect, rather than that other people are not. And it runs the risk that police will be like 'Oh, I'm taking flak for treating suspects well? Fuck it, I'll treat them all like shit', which is, hopefully, not the optimal goal.

Police should offer chances to surrender. They should treat people well and protect them once they have surrendered. We want to encourage that, lift everyone up, not drag everyone down to the lowest level of shit the police feel like feeding us.
posted by corb at 9:23 AM on June 22, 2015 [5 favorites]


Miami Herald columnist A.J. Delgado has offered up her view that the blond-haired blue-eyed suspect "doesn't look white."

My glasses, let me loan them to you. That is the point where even I "can't even".
posted by MikeMc at 9:23 AM on June 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


"Look at this further example of racism in our culture" is not an advocation of mistreatment for all.
posted by phearlez at 9:30 AM on June 22, 2015 [14 favorites]


Charleston's Hometown Newspaper Is Putting Awful Cable News to Shame: This heroic local newsroom is dominating breaking national coverage. [Mother Jones]
From Boston to Ferguson, Baltimore, and Charleston, one thing has become crystal clear: To get real reporting—and to get it fast—you've got to switch off cable and go local. It's here you'll find the scoops, the sense of place, the authentic compassion; it's here you can avoid the predictable blather from a candidate, or pundit, or hack filling airtime. It's here you'll find out what's really happening to a particular group of Americans who have just been shoved into a tragic spotlight. Turn off the TV and Google the local paper on your phone. Find their Twitter feed. Follow their journalists.*
*my emphasis*
posted by Fizz at 9:32 AM on June 22, 2015 [6 favorites]


i'm oddly upset about the denigration of George Washington Carver in Roof's manifesto

Denigrating Carver is actually pretty common in white supremacist cesspits, where the common refrain is "where are the Black scientists? HURF DURF." Since Carver is a the Black scientist everyone learns about in grade school, he's the immediate rebuttal. So the white brotherhood of goal-post movers have since started to ask "where are the Black scientists, other than Carver? HURF DURF."
posted by Panjandrum at 9:32 AM on June 22, 2015


white deliberately un-capitalized and Black deliberately capitalized in the above comment to piss off racists
posted by Panjandrum at 9:33 AM on June 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


Miami Herald columnist A.J. Delgado has offered up her view that the blond-haired blue-eyed suspect "doesn't look white."

My glasses, let me loan them to you. That is the point where even I "can't even".


#theracist is the new #thedress
posted by Going To Maine at 9:35 AM on June 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


i'm honestly at the point where i think the only way we're getting police/justice/prison reform is if white people, especially relatively young adults that people like to view as their children, get treated just as poorly as (pre)teen black girls at pool parties.
posted by nadawi at 9:35 AM on June 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


In possibly the most ambitious attempt to cast doubt on this being a racially-motivated attack, Miami Herald columnist A.J. Delgado has offered up her view that the blond-haired blue-eyed suspect "doesn't look white."

< insert clever comment about Rachel Dolezal here >

But seriously, that's a crazy stretch. It's one thing to debate about the particular blend of root causes that led him to this terrible crime , and another to throw out some absurd theory about how the killer wasn't actually a white guy.

To identify the actual root causes: my money's on a combination of racism, lack of meaningful life purpose, access to weapons, and possible drug abuse (Suboxone, if the news reports are right).

It's a lot like Western converts to radical Islam signing up for ISIS - both ISIS, and this guy's White Supremacist ideology, deliver a totalistic worldview that blames everything bad on a specific enemy, and promises adherents meaning in their lives.
posted by theorique at 9:46 AM on June 22, 2015


I mean, you may even be right, nadawi, but that doesn't mean I'm going to argue for more police brutality just so we can have a tipping point. That's like the leftists who voted for Romney because they worried that Obama would disenergize the left. I mean, maybe, but if you win, you're still only winning a shit sandwich and the /hope/ of making it better, but you've still got an extra shit sandwich.
posted by corb at 9:47 AM on June 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


the comment you were reacting to wasn't arguing for more brutality, they were noting the discrepancy.
posted by nadawi at 9:49 AM on June 22, 2015 [9 favorites]


[FBI Director] Comey, in the conference broadcast by CNN, was asked whether he'd classify the Charleston shootings as an act of terrorism.

"I wouldn't," Comey said.

“Terrorism is an act of violence done or threatened to in order to try to influence a public body or the 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,” Comey said.
posted by nadawi at 9:50 AM on June 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


i'm honestly at the point where i think the only way we're getting police/justice/prison reform is if white people, especially relatively young adults that people like to view as their children, get treated just as poorly as (pre)teen black girls at pool parties.

Or mandatory body cameras.
posted by Drinky Die at 9:52 AM on June 22, 2015


"He doesn't look white" seems akin to the discussion of George Zimmerman that pointed out that his mother was Peruvian, which was mostly meant to undercut discussions of racism and white privilege, because, I don't know, most Americans are unfamiliar with intersectionality and cannot believe that a half-Peruvian man might benefit from white privilege and might act in a racist way.
posted by maxsparber at 9:52 AM on June 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


FBI DIrector Comey should resign if he does not walk that back.
posted by Drinky Die at 9:53 AM on June 22, 2015 [9 favorites]


body cameras are a great step forward but there's been plenty of black people killed on camera and their murders have been sanctioned by the state.
posted by nadawi at 9:55 AM on June 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


i'm honestly at the point where i think the only way we're getting police/justice/prison reform is if white people, especially relatively young adults that people like to view as their children, get treated just as poorly as (pre)teen black girls at pool parties.

They do, but they tend to be people with mental illness, so they get ignored, too.
posted by jaguar at 9:55 AM on June 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


the comment you were reacting to wasn't arguing for more brutality, they were noting the discrepancy.

Thank you for saying that. I, like corb, read that comment as advocacy, and that statement helps clean that up.
posted by Going To Maine at 9:59 AM on June 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


body cameras are a great step forward but there's been plenty of black people killed on camera and their murders have been sanctioned by the state.

The high profile controversial cases are controversial for a reason, but the systemic day to day abuse facilitated by police operating in the dark becomes much more difficult with the camera on. Think of the guy who was caught on video trying to plant a weapon recently. That probably isn't his action if he is wearing the camera.

Also, as far as realistic reforms that can help that we can probably get without systemic abuse of white people... Stop the damn drug war.
posted by Drinky Die at 10:02 AM on June 22, 2015


I've never been one to advocate for police brutality -- I think my posts in these kinds of threads make it clear that I have nothing but contemptuous hatred for the "I go hard everyday!" approach to confronting suspects American police like to take.

The discrepancies I noted in my earlier comment are callbacks to something the black community has been talking about for decades: a black person --particularly a black man -- suspected of committing even minor crimes gets treated like they are fresh off killing hundreds of people and stealing gold bars from Fort Knox, and the claim is always that the police had to act like that, there's no other way they could have treated the suspect.

In fact, I don't think anyone who points out these kinds of discrepancies is saying the police should brutalize and shoot everybody instead of only beating and killing black suspects. I suppose that'd be a kind of perverse equality, but when I argue for social justice it's because I want things to be good for everyone, not bad for everyone.
posted by lord_wolf at 10:03 AM on June 22, 2015 [22 favorites]




I want to say, "Thanks, it's the right thing to do." But also I want to say some very rude and abusive things about why it took this long.
posted by Drinky Die at 10:17 AM on June 22, 2015 [7 favorites]


In fact, I don't think anyone who points out these kinds of discrepancies is saying the police should brutalize and shoot everybody instead of only beating and killing black suspects. I suppose that'd be a kind of perverse equality, but when I argue for social justice it's because I want things to be good for everyone, not bad for everyone.

This gets completely lost far too often in discussions on social justice and equality. There's a point where irony works against you, and I think the "well, why wasn't he savaged like Cujo's chewtoy by the police?" line of discussion hits it.
posted by Slap*Happy at 10:23 AM on June 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


it's me. I'm the guy who's upset because the police aren't brutalizing everyone equally. they put me in fields to scare off birds
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 10:57 AM on June 22, 2015 [18 favorites]


In fact, I don't think anyone who points out these kinds of discrepancies is saying the police should brutalize and shoot everybody instead of only beating and killing black suspects. I suppose that'd be a kind of perverse equality, but when I argue for social justice it's because I want things to be good for everyone, not bad for everyone.

Right but is there a limit to how many times people need to point out the discrepancy before it becomes, like, social justice-splaining? Does anyone in this thread actually think black suspects are treated the same as white suspects?

Like, if I say, "While I know that force and justice are applied inequally in America, I also think that [person x] should be treated in a way that extends compassion and grace to them," then it seems likely that pushback to that will be for someone to say "Don't you GET IT dude, things are not equal in this society and that attitude is NOT extended to POC!" My personal wish for MeFi specifically would be that we would be able to grant people in this and other threads the ability to recognize that society operates in a certain way, while still allowing those people to express a desire to respond in an ideal way even to those with privilege.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 11:38 AM on June 22, 2015 [6 favorites]


And now, just a couple of days removed from saying the flag is "a part of who we are," Lindsey Graham joins the voices of those saying "the flag should come down."
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 12:10 PM on June 22, 2015


Lindsey Graham: The Confederate flag is “part of who we are” in South Carolina — even if “it’s a racist symbol”

I entirely agree with this statement. There's who you are, and who you will/want to become.
posted by Going To Maine at 12:18 PM on June 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


Gov. Haley's speech will begin momentarily. She will be joined at the podium by Sen. Lindsey Graham and Sen. Tim Scott.
posted by Drinky Die at 12:59 PM on June 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


Haven't turned on cable news since this happened, glad that the first thing I heard was Jake Tapper immediately refer to the killer as a racist terrorist without any equivocation.
posted by Drinky Die at 1:01 PM on June 22, 2015




Someone on fb was saying that stopped to feed him bc otherwise it might lead to his confession being thrown out if his lawyer says it was coerced in exchange for food.

And that while it obviously doesn't sit well maybe they (the cops) wanted to make sure that couldn't happen.

I feel like this person has watched too much law and order but I'm not a lawyer so I have no idea how valid an argument that is vs being complete bullshit via the examples lord Wolf shared.

I can't imagine how a technicality like that could lead to his getting away with it. I mean, there is a witness. And a manifesto.
posted by sio42 at 1:59 PM on June 22, 2015


It's not too valid as an idea his whole arrest would be tossed, but its not at all rare or weird for the police to give a suspect in custody fast food as a playact to show he's being treated well.
posted by agregoli at 2:02 PM on June 22, 2015


My personal wish for MeFi specifically would be that we would be able to grant people in this and other threads the ability to recognize that society operates in a certain way, while still allowing those people to express a desire to respond in an ideal way even to those with privilege.

we've had mefites actively argue for the confederacy and others who have called black performers song and dance hos - so, sadly, no , i don't think we can just accept that everyone recognizes the way society operates with regard to racism and systematic oppression.
posted by nadawi at 2:16 PM on June 22, 2015 [10 favorites]


I am so often angry at Haley that I honestly cannot figure out the right emotion to feel now that she is asking the state to do the right thing. I know it's not enough--nothing could be--but it is just so rare that we see our leaders doing what we want them to do, what morality calls out for them to do, that I'm completely unequipped for it.
posted by mittens at 2:17 PM on June 22, 2015 [4 favorites]


we've had mefites actively argue for the confederacy and others who have called black performers song and dance hos - so, sadly, no , i don't think we can just accept that everyone recognizes the way society operates with regard to racism and systematic oppression.

I, like, completely agree with this?

Look, while I'm happy I came nowhere close to making the argument you're accusing me of, I'll admit to being a bit saddened/frustrated that you're reinforcing the point I was trying to make. Seriously, if there isn't a word for this -- mansplaining social justice concepts -- then there should be.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 2:27 PM on June 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


I am so often angry at Haley that I honestly cannot figure out the right emotion to feel now that she is asking the state to do the right thing.

I think the emotion is, "Momentarily restrained contempt."
posted by Drinky Die at 2:38 PM on June 22, 2015 [5 favorites]


Haley is, I think, angling for the VP nod. That doesn't mean what she did isn't the correct thing to do, and that should be recognized, but it is also a calculated political move.
posted by Justinian at 2:42 PM on June 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


Look, while I'm happy I came nowhere close to making the argument you're accusing me of,

i didn't accuse you of anything. i said we can't just grant that people understand how society operates with this stuff because there's too much evidence that some mefites don't understand it. i'm not sure why you're taking that personally.
posted by nadawi at 2:48 PM on June 22, 2015


i said we can't just grant that people understand how society operates with this stuff because there's too much evidence that some mefites don't understand it.

And I'm asking: where in my original comment did I imply that everybody (in the world or on MeFi) understands and recognizes societal imbalances?

i'm not sure why you're taking that personally.

Because you copied my comment and responded to it?
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 2:56 PM on June 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


that seemed to me to be what you were saying - that we needed to grant that mefites got it. if that's not what you were saying, sorry for the miscommunication.

but also - responding to something (i thought?) you said isn't an accusation and ratcheting up the rhetoric doesn't get people to understanding any quicker. i can respond to you without accusing you of anything and you can respond to me without putting an implication of attack that i never made.
posted by nadawi at 3:01 PM on June 22, 2015


[A few comments deleted. Folks, maybe let's ease this conversation back out of the kind of personal turn, here?]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 3:08 PM on June 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


On the Haley Speech
Yes, it's only symbolism. You know what? Sometimes symbols matter. When a state-sanctioned symbol of treason in defense of slavery and lawlessness in defense of apartheid flies on the state capitol grounds, informing the state's citizens that they're second-class citizens, that matters. When Republican presidential candidates feel the need to defend the practice every four years that matter[s]. When a Republican governor who may well have national political ambitions says nuts to this, wrong is wrong, that matters. Yes, this does not singlehandedly transform South Carolina's politics and the South Carolina Republican Party is not going to be a reliable vehicle for racial justice, news at 11. To the zero liberals who will argue that this makes Haley a progressive hero, I will disagree in advance. Sometimes, politicians who aren't admirable from a progressive point of view do good things. This is one of them.
posted by tonycpsu at 3:12 PM on June 22, 2015 [5 favorites]


It's not quite enough to just take down the flag. It's important to admit that the flag was a symbol of hate used by the haters themselves with a very dubious history.

THE ‘SOUTHERN AVENGER’ REPENTS: I WAS WRONG ABOUT THE CONFEDERATE FLAG
As a Charleston, South Carolina-based conservative radio personality known as the “Southern Avenger,” I spent a decade defending the Confederate flag that is yet again the center of so much controversy.

I said the flag was about states’ rights. I said it stood for self-determination. I said it honored heritage.

I argued the Confederate flag wasn’t about race. I believed it. Millions of well-meaning Southerners believe it too.

I was wrong. That flag is always about race. Whatever political or historical points the flag’s defenders make, there will never be a time—and never has been a time—in which millions of Americans have looked at that symbol and not seen hatred.
posted by Golden Eternity at 3:17 PM on June 22, 2015 [15 favorites]




Mississippi House Speaker Philip Gunn said Monday night that the Confederate emblem in the state's official flag has to go.

"We must always remember our past, but that does not mean we must let it define us," Gunn, a Clinton Republican, said in a statement. "As a Christian, I believe our state's flag has become a point of offense that needs to be removed. We need to begin having conversations about changing Mississippi's flag."
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 5:50 PM on June 22, 2015 [10 favorites]


Wow
posted by Golden Eternity at 5:59 PM on June 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


It may be cynical, but nonetheless an indication that perhaps we're at a tipping point:
Walmart said in a statement Monday that it is removing "all items" promoting the Confederate flag for sale from its stores and its website.
posted by tocts at 6:04 PM on June 22, 2015 [5 favorites]


Oh, fire sale.
posted by clavdivs at 6:10 PM on June 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


when you consider just how close walmart headquarters are to harrison, ar - well, i'm just going to say that i'm surprised.
posted by nadawi at 6:20 PM on June 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


(oh, btw, catching back up with the thread, I saw above that drinky die mentioned body cameras a ways back up there as a way of redressing police injustice, and so I wanted to mention that the other thing I'm still kind of in shock about, is that SC did indeed pass, and Haley did sign, a law mandating body cameras for police here. it's not perfect and there's a weird FOIA clause that is going to make it hard for civil rights groups to get their hands on the footage, but still, surprisingly enough, we've taken another small step forward.)
posted by mittens at 6:28 PM on June 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


The FOIA thing is going to be one of the next big battles in transparency circles; DC police are asserting the same sort of protection from disclosure.
posted by phearlez at 6:59 PM on June 22, 2015


The Walmart thing really surprises me. They're going to stop selling them forever? Really? I appreciate that.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:02 PM on June 22, 2015 [5 favorites]


If I were Lindsey Graham, Nikki Haley, or Doug McMillon I wouldn't let Mike Huckabee get too close. Especially if he happens to be near a flag pole.
posted by Golden Eternity at 7:10 PM on June 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


The Walmart thing really surprises me.

Ditto. For once, I'm very happy to see them cynically trying to chase consumer sentiment. Especially surprising given that they're pretty much the first place I think I would look if I wanted to find some especially atrocious Confederate flag merch.
posted by fifthrider at 7:15 PM on June 22, 2015


Shocked and pleased re Wal-Mart. Wow. Wow!
posted by sallybrown at 7:19 PM on June 22, 2015


Surprised and pleased to hear about a Mississippi Republican making the move. I had looked on the web earlier to see if anyone had even started making noises about it, but I didn't find that.
posted by Countess Elena at 7:19 PM on June 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


walmart is honestly so weird. they're really big supporters of lgbt groups in both word and $$ around here. but i'm still shocked to see the flag go.
posted by nadawi at 7:49 PM on June 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


(not that their lgbt support erases or makes up for all their terrible things - just, sometimes they aren't chasing down the dumbest dollar and do some real good locally. like i said, weird.)
posted by nadawi at 7:51 PM on June 22, 2015


This movement on the flag issue, both from politicians and Walmart (!!), is just amazing to me. So amazing. It would be incredible if this snowballed and the flag got pulled from all the places that have hung onto it with phony-baloney "oh it's just about heritage" reasoning. Amazing to see folks in public positions who have to talk to those "heritage" people, finally saying "come on we all know what it means, get real."
posted by LobsterMitten at 7:56 PM on June 22, 2015 [6 favorites]


I'm glad the republicans have finally faced off these "heritage" racists.
posted by clavdivs at 8:23 PM on June 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


Rhode Island Route 177 is, for all intents and purposes, Bulgarmarsh Road. Although magnetic granite has been named for Bulgarmarsh Road, no-one knows why the road was named Bulgarmarsh Road to begin with. There are no Bulgarian immigrants (because we'd take their spice profile and apply it to clams and striped bass and salt pork). It is a very narrow two-lane highway, where over-testosteroned idiots in jacked-up pickups go roaring up and down.

In addition there are the bikers. The local MC, in its same clubhouse since the 20's, has a junior west-coast affiliate you may have heard of. They really hate bicyclists, along with the coal-rollers...

Until Memorial Day weekend. I saw a spandexed, clipless-shoed, roadie bike cycle nerd... flying the American Flag from her tail fender.

That. Did. It.

Five Harlies up front to make way. Dozens out back at 8mph. Everyone of them, leather and motor, spandex and chainrings, the flag will fly, roll coal on these colors flown by these women, we fucking dare you...

It's an interesting time to be a nationalist in America, as I have said, the nearby flea market no longer flies the stars and bars. I get the impression that service in the 'Stan or Iraq brought back a lot less tolerance for idiocy in the name of our nation.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:26 PM on June 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


A truly disgusting article in the National Review calling activist DeRay McKesson (misidentified as "the public face of #BlackLivesMatter") a "millenial race-baiter" and ending with: "Go home, DeRay. And stay there."
posted by sallybrown at 9:09 PM on June 22, 2015 [2 favorites]




A truly disgusting article in the National Review

The William F. Buckley quote about National Review and how it "stands athwart history, yelling Stop" has rarely sounded more apropos.
posted by immlass at 9:28 PM on June 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


I'm about as far from Charleston as can be and still live in SC. These last few days haven't been enlightening exactly, but I can say it's been informative.

Even though my daily life is (I wanted to put a not right here, but that's a statement I can't defend) steeped in the worst stereotypical blatant racism, I kind of have to interact with guys who spout all of the imaginable shit before they can drop their own hat. Previously, this has been people who: (1) stop to inhale pointedly when ranting about [insert slur]; (2) stop to point (physically and obviously and ffs yes really) and confirm I know where they are pointing; (3) talk about hoping one of those [insert slur] breaks in so their dog can attack. Or they can shoot.

It's not even unimaginable, and that is the worst part of it. They are the minority, but I can't get away because there's no way to pretend I'm not hearing them.

I read and try to learn and hope that I am not irrevocably steeped in that sewer. While one of the younger guys was yelling to his bros about Haley and the normal "heritage" stuff (just tonight), my older neighbor turned to me and asked "what the fuck did that flag do for us so far, brother?"

Me: "What we got going on right here, man."

That's pretty much the bleh surrounding me here in the upstate.
posted by timfinnie at 9:55 PM on June 22, 2015 [4 favorites]


"We need to begin having conversations about changing Mississippi's flag."

This is at minimum fourteen years later than the Mississippi state legislature should have been "having conversations." We had a deliberately hobbled popular vote because they couldn't be bothered to have those conversations. We've had fourteen more years with that racist symbol when we could have had something that wasn't cringe-worthy or threatening.

That said, at least Gunn wasn't on the legislature back then, so I can't hold him personally responsible for the outcome of that misbegotten election. Props to him for speaking up, even if it is in the most ridiculously tentative fashion imaginable.
posted by asperity at 9:57 PM on June 22, 2015


"what the fuck did that flag do for us so far, brother?"

Now that is the question that needs to be asked of everyone who supports that flag.
posted by asperity at 10:01 PM on June 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


Walmart

I wonder how many country music albums have the confederate flag on the cover.
posted by rosswald at 10:05 PM on June 22, 2015


Lynyrd Skynyrd might have some reimagining to do.
posted by Drinky Die at 10:45 PM on June 22, 2015


I think, for some, the Confederate flag is less about what it did for them, and more about "Fuck the North" - which, whether or not it's justified, should really be unsurprising, given that much of the North has been like, "Fuck everything south of the Mason Dixon line" for some time.

I wish there a way we could come up with a new "Fuck the North" symbol, one that would allow that feeling while avoiding the painful associations for black Southerners.
posted by corb at 1:14 AM on June 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


OH, you.

Maybe like...a panther eating a polar bear or something?
posted by Drinky Die at 1:18 AM on June 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


given that much of the North has been like, "Fuck everything south of the Mason Dixon line" for some time.

It somehow feels like there is a relevant historical event which might've provoked this...
Generally cutting down on "Fuck X region/people" sentiment seems like a better option. "Yay X region!" I can get behind. Cascadia jokes are fun that way, for example.

But I'm not sure that it's possible to disentangle "Fuck the North" from "painful associations for black Southerners". One kinda follows from the other.
posted by CrystalDave at 1:19 AM on June 23, 2015 [14 favorites]


isn't the main reason for "fuck the North" that they're mad about that war they started in order to keep human beings as property and lost? and then proceeded to follow that by making awful racist-ass laws and creating a system of institutionalized racism that now has more Black men in prison (often working for slave wages) now than were enslaved in 1850? and that elaborate support system that allows Black people to be murdered and assaulted without consequences on a regular basis even now, plus many hate groups, such as the one this particular terrorist was in, to continue to make the lives of Black americans as fearful and short as possible?

not that these attitudes don't exist all over the country, but that certainly seems to be the root of people who feel the need to express their regional pride or their hatred of other regions with a traitor flag
posted by NoraReed at 1:48 AM on June 23, 2015 [32 favorites]


Well when you say it like that it sounds bad
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 1:53 AM on June 23, 2015 [28 favorites]


Heh. 10/10 combo NoraReed and RW,LD.
posted by Drinky Die at 3:14 AM on June 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


I wish there a way we could come up with a new "Fuck the North" symbol, one that would allow that feeling while avoiding the painful associations for black Southerners.

I think for quite a while, the Texas flag has played such a role, in a way that doesn't have the racial sensitivities of the Confederate battle flag.
  • it's a positive symbol of independence and freedom (Texans often seeing their Republic as separate and better from the rest of the US)
  • it's an "alternative" flag to the usual stars and stripes
  • it doesn't have any negative associations for anyone
The downside is that it is, quite obviously, Texas-centric. It's not like Georgia or South Carolina could easily pick up the Lone Star and run with it.
posted by theorique at 4:32 AM on June 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


It's a sure sign of a weak argument when the focus is anti-something rather than pro-something. (I am from the South, my people are from the South - and even fought for the Confederacy - and the idea that we would want or need a "Fuck the North" flag is curious and speaks very loudly of resentment and a pathetic clinging to a past we should be glad to be rid of.)
posted by sallybrown at 4:45 AM on June 23, 2015 [6 favorites]


Plenty of northern states and cities are fucking terrible to Black people. Seems weird to say that the North gets to lord it over the South when the South has Atlanta and New Orleans and the North has Pennsyltucky and New Hampshire. I've lived in both, and as far as I can tell very little of the regional rivalry is rooted in concerns for eliminating white supremacy.

Would that it were so. That flag is still a hate crime all by itself, though.
posted by anotherpanacea at 4:45 AM on June 23, 2015 [5 favorites]


[Corb, dropping a "yeahbut" about the value of the confederate flag as a "fuck you" symbol is just an awful, awful thing to introduce in a thread about 9 people murdered as a result of the racial hatred represented by that flag. Please drop this, and please, please, please, think about your comments more carefully. We cannot continue to intervene in every thread about murder, killings, or police abuse + racism to try to keep your comments from blowing up the discussion, and cannot endlessly continue to give you the benefit of the doubt after so much repeat behavior.]
posted by taz (staff) at 6:19 AM on June 23, 2015 [31 favorites]


an endless series of 'fuck you' flags eventually culminating in Beaver Bay and West Beaver Bay MN just putting up gigantic flags of middle fingers reaching for the sky.


THAT is what we need. More institutional fuck yous. {/}
posted by edgeways at 6:26 AM on June 23, 2015




More on Slavery's Shadow
Remarkably, the slave share in 1860 is a better predictor of attitudes than the share of African-Americans in the population today. They attribute this surprising fact to what happened after the Civil War, when
Southern whites faced political and economic incentives to reinforce existing racist norms and institutions to maintain control over the newly free African-American population
It seems relevant, then, to note that the "Confederate" flag we're now focusing on was not, in fact, the flag of the Confederacy; it was a battle flag, but it became a standard emblem of the South thanks to its adoption by the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacists.
posted by tonycpsu at 7:01 AM on June 23, 2015


Can they just give Ta-Nehisi Coates a Pulitzer already?
posted by octothorpe at 7:24 AM on June 23, 2015 [9 favorites]


Do black Southerners have any real feelings of "Fuck the North" though? I can't see why they would, but I'm asking. I grew up in Northern Virginia, where we definitely had some Southern pride which I mostly associated as "I am from here" which was something I wanted to feel as the American born kid of immigrants, but definitely no "fuck the North," more of a sense of...New York/Boston etc seemed really far away and kind of irrelevant, whereas people were going to the Carolinas all the time for vacation and school trips. I'm neither white nor black though and grew up in an affluent area full of transplants.
posted by sweetkid at 7:26 AM on June 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


A truly disgusting article in the National Review calling activist DeRay McKesson (misidentified as "the public face of #BlackLivesMatter") a "millenial race-baiter" and ending with: "Go home, DeRay. And stay there."

deray has been fielding some really gross attacks, more than usual it seems, over the last couple days, both from predictable places like the national review and fox news, but also from other twitter activists (who are maybe looking for their own shine) who have made up shit he didn't say, maybe going so far as editing screenshots to smear him. were i religious person i'd say, "watch the devil work" because that's really what it feels like.
posted by nadawi at 7:32 AM on June 23, 2015 [4 favorites]




From that article by Ta-Nehisi Coates, a good summation of what I think is the thing most bothering me about a lot of the people finally coming around to taking down the flag:
Nikki Haley deserves credit for calling for the removal of the Confederate flag. She deserves criticism for couching that removal as matter of manners.

...

The Confederate flag should not come down because it is offensive to African Americans. The Confederate flag should come down because it is embarrassing to all Americans.

I mean, yeah, it's great that there's finally some real push to stop flying a flag of racism and treason within our country, but it's less than great how many of the people pushing for it want to claim that the reason we should do it is anything else, so long as they can pretend it's not the racism and treason.
posted by tocts at 8:05 AM on June 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


Confederate statues at UT "tagged" with "graffiti" (aka Black Lives Matter). There's also a petition to get the Jefferson Davis statue on the main campus removed. I'm really heartened to see how this is spreading.
posted by immlass at 8:15 AM on June 23, 2015 [8 favorites]


Wow, I really liked the Southern Avenger's article. Admitting that you were wrong is an undervalued virtue in our society.

And yes, can we just give Coates the Pullitzer already? He's easily one of the, if not the, best writers in journalism today.
posted by sotonohito at 8:16 AM on June 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


the North has Pennsyltucky and New Hampshire.

What's your issue with New Hampshire?
posted by Greg Nog at 8:20 AM on June 23, 2015


Can they just give Ta-Nehisi Coates a Pulitzer already?

"Thus in 1861, when the Civil War began, the Union did not face a peaceful Southern society wanting to be left alone. It faced an an aggressive power, a Genosha..."

I can only hope that a (well-deserved) Pulitzer for Coates would encourage the use of more X-Men allusions in legitimate news and opinion publications.
posted by asperity at 8:20 AM on June 23, 2015 [7 favorites]


And now Rand Paul. Boy the path from "Romney's brave stand against strong voices in his party" to "rats fleeing the Titanic" sure was shorter than I expected.

Never have I seen such strong convictions developed and expressed with such haste. It's striking.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 8:22 AM on June 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


And, yeah, give Coates the Pulitzer but what the man really deserves is a MacArthur Genius Grant.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 8:22 AM on June 23, 2015 [4 favorites]


Never have I seen such strong convictions developed and expressed with such haste. It's striking.

The pivot from "Attack on Faith" to "Take it Down" is impressive in how fast and thorough it was. Say what you will about the harm republican policies do, they have got the messaging discipline down pat.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:24 AM on June 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


Boy the path from "Romney's brave stand against strong voices in his party" to "rats fleeing the Titanic" sure was shorter than I expected.

This would seem to create a market opportunity for one of the knuckle-draggers (Huckabee? Santorum?) to double-down and establish themselves as the go-to candidate for the "Heritage not Hate" crowd. I know those guys were testing the waters there before Haley's announcement, but I have to figure at least one clown car passenger will go on record as still wanting to keep the flag.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:30 AM on June 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


Ted Cruz
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 8:31 AM on June 23, 2015


I'm honestly still not sure how TNC didn't get a Pulitzer for "The Case For Reparations".
posted by kmz at 8:33 AM on June 23, 2015 [7 favorites]


huckabee might do it just so people stop talking about how he's managed to bring not one, but two pedophiles into his circle.
posted by nadawi at 8:41 AM on June 23, 2015




although, currently huckabee is saying :
For those of us running for president, everyone's being baited with this question as if somehow that has anything to do whatsoever with running for president. And my position is it most certainly does not.
which is very different from what he said when he was running in 2008
You don't like people from outside the state coming in and telling you what to do with your flag. In fact, if somebody came to Arkansas and told us what to do with our flag, we'd tell 'em what to do with the pole; that's what we'd do.
what a goddamned shitstain of a human being.
posted by nadawi at 8:43 AM on June 23, 2015 [9 favorites]


I know those guys were testing the waters there before Haley's announcement, but I have to figure at least one clown car passenger will go on record as still wanting to keep the flag.

They would all prefer to avoid having yet another several month long discussion about just how deeply racist the Republican party is. The sooner they can get this distraction put to bed, the sooner they can get back to talking about Religious Freedom and gutting America's Universities.

One of my FB relatives was ranting about how Democrats are the true racists and Republicans are not, and I couldn't help but point out the Bright Minds of the KKK et.al. seem to disagree strenuously with that, given their nearly universal support for the Republican party.

The great thing about pissing off the trashy side of the family is no longer getting wedding invites from them. So, sorry not sorry, cuz.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:44 AM on June 23, 2015 [4 favorites]


And yes, can we just give Coates the Pullitzer already? He's easily one of the, if not the, best writers in journalism today.

Anyone can make a nomination for the Pulitzer.
Entries may be made by news organizations submitting the work of their staffs, by individual journalists of their own work, or by readers or other interested individuals.
If you want to make sure something Coates wrote is considered for something, do the work and pay the $50.
posted by phearlez at 8:48 AM on June 23, 2015 [4 favorites]


nascar
"As we continue to mourn the tragic loss of life last week in Charleston, we join our nation's embrace of those impacted. NASCAR supports the position that South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley took on the Confederate Flag on Monday. As our industry works collectively to ensure that all fans are welcome at our races, NASCAR will continue our long-standing policy to disallow the use of the Confederate Flag symbol in any official NASCAR capacity. While NASCAR recognizes that freedom of expression is an inherent right of all citizens, we will continue to strive for an inclusive environment at our events."
posted by nadawi at 9:32 AM on June 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


They would all prefer to avoid having yet another several month long discussion about just how deeply racist the Republican party is.

This is unfortunately the truth of it. I think most of the major candidates are figuring that if they didn't speak out now, they'd be hearing about this for the next 500 or so days till election day. But, if they get out ahead of it now, it'll all blow over before the new year, and besides, it's not like the southerners they might alienate by doing this are going to vote for Hillary.
posted by tocts at 9:47 AM on June 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


And now Rand Paul.

Ron Paul and White Power Groups

Anonymous Hacks Neo-Nazi Website, Finds Ron Paul Connection

Rand Paul’s team has another white supremacist

I hope someone asks Rand Paul what it is like hanging out with white terrorist organizations.
posted by Golden Eternity at 9:56 AM on June 23, 2015 [6 favorites]


Good link, the man of twists and turns. I liked this part:
The main problem with this myth is twofold—the first is that millennials are a homogenous group of bike-riding, social media preoccupied, workplace disruptors. It doesn't take much reflection to realize that the "millennial" that the media is fond of writing about is actually a very small portion of the 65 million people born between 1980-1995. The vast majority of them can't afford fair trade organic coffee and in some demographic groups aren't college educated or stably employed. As Emily Badger writes in the Washington Post, "Often in the media (and I'll raise my hand here), we evoke the word ‘millennial' to describe a subset of people born after 1980 who hold college degrees and live in cities. We're not talking about 20-year-old single moms in small towns, or fast-food workers in the suburbs trying to get by on only a high school diploma." Dylann Roof is a representative of the type of millennial that publications like the New York Times ignore in their coverage of the young adults currently living in major metropolises and being hired by Wall Street and Silicon Valley. Hence the surprise when Roof's values appear to conflict with widely disseminated views about the tolerance of his generation.

The other problem with the misconceptions both about who "millennials" are and what their belief system is, is that while this generation may seem to be accepting of different races at a surface level, the persistent segregation of American society shows that an absence of racism may be more revealing of a lack of concrete experience with confronting racial difference in daily life. On the one hand, there is an oft-cited 2009 Pew Research Center Survey where only 5% of those born between 1980-1991 believed that interracial marriage was a "bad thing for society" compared to 10% of Gen Xers and 14% of Baby Boomers. The optimistic interpretation of that data would be that racism will be eradicated as white Americans begin marrying and procreating with non-white Americans to create a "blended" society where racial difference ceases to be salient.

However, interracial marriages between black and white people made up less than 1% of total marriages in 2009—implying that there is a big difference between approving of someone's marrying a member of a different race and actually practicing it oneself. In reality, black and white Americans may live in the same country but in general they don't live in the same places or have the same opportunities.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 9:56 AM on June 23, 2015 [14 favorites]


How depressing.
posted by Golden Eternity at 9:58 AM on June 23, 2015


It's a family tradition.

"The criminals who terrorized our cities — in riots and on every non-riot day — are not exclusively young black males, but they largely are." - Ron Paul('s newsletter that he absolutely wasn't reading just putting his name on and these things happen, you know? )
posted by Artw at 10:17 AM on June 23, 2015


More of that kind of fun
posted by Artw at 10:19 AM on June 23, 2015


He didn't use a knife or bomb. He used a gun.

There's a really unsavory sentiment among the white, progressive folks I follow on Twitter and on Facebook that the "REAL issue" here is gun control (not, say, white supremacy) and that the further marginalization of the Confederate flag, even by prominent conservatives, is really some sort of concession so that the GOP doesn't have to do anything about gun control.

I've seen a lot of posts that say pithy things like "great that the flag is being taken down, but let's keep our eye on the prize, people" and "It's race. Except when it's not. It's poverty. Except when it's not. It's a hate crime. Except when it's not. It's always guns."

Nevermind that the history of attacks on Black churches has mostly been characterized by arson and bombs and not guns. It is pretty gross that in a case where America's twin pathologies (guns and racism) intersect, it is the conversation on racism that is being purposefully pushed to the margins by supposed (white liberal) allies.
posted by AceRock at 10:36 AM on June 23, 2015 [4 favorites]


racists are stocking up
posted by nadawi at 10:38 AM on June 23, 2015


Ron Paul and White Power Groups

The guy in that picture, Don Black, in addition to being the founder of Stormfront and KKK Grand Wizard, also did jail time for plotting to invade Dominica in the 80s. He's unambiguously a terrorist, even if his plan to invade another country and overthrow the government were thwarted.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 10:49 AM on June 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


Oh, I see that's covered in the article. Carry on.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 10:51 AM on June 23, 2015


also did jail time for plotting to invade Dominica in the 80s.

Ron Paul Implicated in White Supremacists' Island Invasion
posted by Golden Eternity at 11:02 AM on June 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


Right now Ron Paul is sitting at his desk with his head in his wailing "How did this become about me?!"
posted by MikeMc at 11:38 AM on June 23, 2015


Even Strom Thurmond's son wants in on some of that sweet anti-Confederate flag action.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 11:39 AM on June 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


The total capitulation on the Confederate flag issue in the last 48 hours has been astonishing. Did support focus group poorly? Did some wealthy donor make some phone calls? I'd believe it was genuine if five days ago there hadn't been so much "support" for the flag.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 11:41 AM on June 23, 2015 [9 favorites]


jail time for plotting to invade Dominica in the 80s.

Silly folks, you want to plot citizen foreign invasions on American land you need to set your sights on Cuba. You can get your fool arm blown off while wargaming invasion out in the Miami everglades and still get elected to public office. Multiple times.
posted by phearlez at 11:42 AM on June 23, 2015


Yeah, the flag thing is....weird. Unsettling in a "what are they really up to?" sort of way. I mean granted, I find it difficult to believe anything any of those politicians say, but this sort of wagon climbing is strenuous and unusual. I think the Kochs must have sent a memo or something, because I can't imagine anything else that would have gotten these stale old crackers to take this stand.
posted by dejah420 at 11:49 AM on June 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


nascar

Yeah, not surprising. They have spent the last few decades trying to expand their fanbase outside of the South and be seen as a more mainstream sport.
posted by Drinky Die at 12:06 PM on June 23, 2015


This would seem to create a market opportunity for one of the knuckle-draggers (Huckabee? Santorum?) to double-down and establish themselves as the go-to candidate for the "Heritage not Hate" crowd.

Santorum may be is a shithead, but I don't think he is that kind of shithead.
posted by Drinky Die at 12:09 PM on June 23, 2015


Now if there was a homophobia or restrict the rights of women flag being taken down somewhere...he would be all over it.
posted by Drinky Die at 12:16 PM on June 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


Right now Ron Paul is sitting at his desk with his head in his wailing "How did this become about me?!"

A big comedown from last Wednesday night when he was all itshappening.gif.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:34 PM on June 23, 2015


It's race. Except when it's not. It's poverty. Except when it's not. It's a hate crime. Except when it's not. It's always guns.

It's guns. Except when it's not. It's firebombs. Except when it's not. It's chokeholds. Except when it's not. It's nickel rides. Except when it's not.
posted by AceRock at 12:54 PM on June 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


Yeah, the flag thing is....weird. Unsettling in a "what are they really up to?" sort of way. I mean granted, I find it difficult to believe anything any of those politicians say, but this sort of wagon climbing is strenuous and unusual. I think the Kochs must have sent a memo or something, because I can't imagine anything else that would have gotten these stale old crackers to take this stand.

The neo-Confederates don't pay as well as the NRA. Plus, this flag stuff is going to play directly into the Southern persecution complex. Best to get it out of the way now and deny the Democrats the ammunition in 2016. Everyone will have forgotten about this by the time the election rolls around, except the resentful Southern base. It'll be good for voter turnout.
posted by vibrotronica at 12:55 PM on June 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


“Profiles in the Obvious: Nikki Haley Speaks Softly Against Treason,” Charles P. Pierce, Esquire Politics Blog, 22 June 2015

“Nikki Haley and the Confederate Flag of Treason, Day 2,” ibid., 23 June 2015
posted by ob1quixote at 1:24 PM on June 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


Hilary Clinton calls the events "racist terrorism"
posted by Rumple at 1:31 PM on June 23, 2015 [4 favorites]


Why I Can't Forgive Dylann Roof
posted by kmz at 1:41 PM on June 23, 2015 [5 favorites]


I would like to imagine that Roof is unhappy with how things are unfolding.
posted by Going To Maine at 1:41 PM on June 23, 2015 [6 favorites]


Plus, this flag stuff is going to play directly into the Southern persecution complex.

I read the comments on an article about Amazon pulling the flags (against my better judgement) and someone actually came up with a perversely brilliant observation - that maybe this would end up being a great boost to the economy, because a lot of little mom-and-pop stores could now open up and bill themselves as "your source for stars and bars merchandise" types of places.

....But then I think of the rise and quick fall of "Star Spangled Ice Cream" and remind myself that a business model based predominantly on "sticking it to the Left" never really does well.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:45 PM on June 23, 2015




kmz, great link, thank you for sharing. The last paragraph is a stunner:
What white people are really asking for when they demand forgiveness from a traumatized community is absolution. They want absolution from the racism that infects us all even though forgiveness cannot reconcile America’s racist sins. They want absolution from their silence in the face of all manner of racism, great and small. They want to believe it is possible to heal from such profound and malingering trauma because to face the openness of the wounds racism has created in our society is too much. I, for one, am done forgiving.
Another good piece on Black forgiveness from The Toast:
when your entire history in this country has been about literally dying to be considered human, you have to develop a Christianity that enables you to fight while also “forgiving them” who hurt you. We have to forgive the sinner because the accumulated resentment could destroy us, but that will never mean that we don’t fight tooth and nail against the sin... It’s nothing to do with the offender and it’s not about granting a pass to anyone... It’s more about clearing your heart of hate SPECIFICALLY SO YOU CAN CONTINUE TO FIGHT.
posted by AceRock at 1:56 PM on June 23, 2015 [10 favorites]




I think the Kochs must have sent a memo or something, because I can't imagine anything else that would have gotten these stale old crackers to take this stand.

It's about rats leaving a stinking ship. There are too many stories coming out of connections between the GOP and racist white supremacist organizations giving campaign donations, which need to be cleaned up ASAP, so as to minimize the collateral damage. If it wasn't a political season, we'd have more excuses about how this "isn't the right time" to have this discussion — as it almost always never is.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 2:23 PM on June 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


Guns, on the other hand, are inviolable. If Sandy Hook didn't shift anything nothing will.
posted by Artw at 2:30 PM on June 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


Apparently Hillary Clinton spoke at a Black church in Florissant, MO today and decided it would be a good idea to say that "All lives matter", which doesn't appear to be going over particularly well with the folks I follow on twitter. Between that and the Republicans all unanimously reversing their flag positions, it feels a little bit like bizarro day.
posted by dialetheia at 2:36 PM on June 23, 2015 [4 favorites]


You can add Amazon and eBay to the list of businesses removing the flag.

Sears too, so I heard.
posted by tocts at 2:47 PM on June 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


when your entire history in this country has been about literally dying to be considered human, you have to develop a Christianity that enables you to fight while also “forgiving them” who hurt you.

I like this sentiment. It reminds me of Jesus as I've always perceived him, and what Christianity can be at it's best. Turning the other cheek was never about surrender.
posted by Drinky Die at 2:47 PM on June 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


Wow, on Amazon and E-Bay. My image of them is basically selling anything that can be sold.
posted by Drinky Die at 2:48 PM on June 23, 2015


Governor of Virginia proposes removing confederate flag from Virginia licence plates.
posted by Rumple at 2:52 PM on June 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


These are just gonna keep coming, huh? Keep it up. By the end of the day I want to hear Bobby Jindal is proposing a law to subsidize removal of confederate flag tattoos.
posted by Drinky Die at 2:55 PM on June 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


(It's worth bearing in mind that VA's governor is democratic party fundraising master Terry McAuliffe, so it's not like a big deal Republican governor flipping. But still! Next up: Monument Avenue.)
posted by Going To Maine at 3:03 PM on June 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


Good point, but it is notable that apparently this is what it took for him to realize he should/give the political capital to make that decision.
posted by Drinky Die at 3:06 PM on June 23, 2015




I would like to imagine that Roof is unhappy with how things are unfolding.

Do not think this. Because if you think this it is one of the wrongest wrong things anyone has ever wrongly thought, probably even including Dylan Storm Roof's shitty racial screed.

Let me tell you what has happened here. You have been trolled. Dylan Storm Roof sought out a few years ago to follow in the footsteps of a few kindred spirits and make a grand exit taking a few fellow travellers with him on a noisy exit to a life he realized was unlikely to ever be anything other than shitty. So he could have shot up his high school, that's good points, or at least it was in 1999. Could have shot up a restaurant or movie theatre, great "could happen to you points," but not much of a hook to hang you on there. Shooting up an elementary school, balls of steel points there, but the idiot didn't even leave a note. And besides, if the horror is that you shot up a bunch of random folks the very powerful NRA swoops in and uses all its mojo to sweep you under the thickest possible rug ASAP.

But our friend Dylan Storm Roof cracked the motherfucking code. One day he sees a story of this loser George Zimmerman who not only shot a random kid who was just trying to get home from the convenience store, got away with it solid and got called a hero and sent kudos and money and shit by his new admirers. So Dylan Storm Roof looks these people up and studies their ideology and lets it seep in a bit. He blings himself up suitably and learns the lingo. And when it's Plan A time he picks a church stuffed with black people. Points! Double points for one of them being a politician! Double again for it being the famous scene of a previous racial incident! Double again for the anniversary! It's like that bell on the side of a pinball machine going DING DING DING and it just doesn't stop.

So Dylan Storm Roof commences the massacre and at the end realizes there are no cops yet. This isn't really the plan, but whatevs. So he decides to see how far he can draw it out, but he hasn't really planned this part; he's made both himself and his car so they will stick out from a lineup harder than Rocket Raccoon, but when he's caught the Awesome Power of White keeps him alive so he can actually read the headlines.

And what are those headlines telling our shithead buddy Dylan Storm Roof? They are telling him that everyone in this whole country who is older than three and not living under a rock knows his name. TV people he had never dreamed of meeting in person know his name and have read his cribbed rantings. Senators and Representatives know who Dylan Storm Roof is. The President of the United States knows who Dylan Storm Roof is. Everyone on fucking Reddit knows who Dylan Storm Roof is. More people know of Dylan Strom Roof than know most of the candidates running for President.

Dylan Storm Roof is now the happiest little shitwipe who ever wiped a shit, sitting in a concrete room and eating McDonald's as he tells the nice ossifers about his big plan. And what a plan it turned out to be! Laws are being introduced, flags are being changed, mechandise lines cancelled, all because of Dylan Storm Roof! My what a mess Dylan Storm Roof has caused! Why if they take down that stupid flag in Charleston people will remember it was Dylan Storm Roof's fault for decades.

Dylan Storm Roof can now look forward to 10-15 years as the appeals process winds itself up seeing himself mentioned on the news and basking in all the havoc he has caused. Poor little Dylan Storm Roof, forgotten nobody except to some racist shitstains who were willing to befriend him when he proved adept at their lingo, will have documentaries made about him and books written and almost certainly a Movie of the Week. He will have lots and lots of time to contemplate the terribly witty shit stirry thing he will say as they're getting ready to stick the needle in his arm and he will drift off to Valhalla, serene in the knowledge that he was Somebody.

And we gave that to him, each and every one of us on both sides of the race war he really did start, because we were too busy shouting about our grievances to understand what we were giving him. And the next time some loser asswipe decides a massacre and Viking funeral might make a dramatic exit, he's left them the code to maximum effect.
posted by Bringer Tom at 3:13 PM on June 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


Wow, on Amazon and E-Bay. My image of them is basically selling anything that can be sold.

Amazon never, ever takes stuff off their store, unless they can get sued for selling it. They still sell books on how to beat up children to teach them discipline, for instance.

Major U.S. flag maker to stop making Confederate flags

Racists' heads will explode when their Nazi flags have a MADE IN CHINA label on them.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 3:14 PM on June 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


BT, a lot of that is debatable and has already been debated in this thread. It's entirely plausible that he is just a terrorist and he wanted to provoke racial violence. None of us knows enough about him to speak with the level of authority you just did.
posted by Drinky Die at 3:22 PM on June 23, 2015 [5 favorites]


Bringer Tom, I know you like that theory of yours, but could you seriously just give it a rest with the whole 'Dylann Roof isn't a real racist' bit? Yes, he's clearly a narcissistic little shitstain, but we've had ample evidence that his ideology is more than mere posturing. Besides, I hardly see that as a reason to paint making the first progress, even token progress as it is, on this front in decades as 'playing into his hands.'
posted by fifthrider at 3:24 PM on June 23, 2015 [19 favorites]


Is Honesty about American Racism Really the Best Policy? Some Thoughts on the Charleston Church Massacre and the Ambiguous Value of Candor
As I noted five years ago on this blog, everyone is ethnocentric, meaning that they "tend to divide human society into in-groups and out-groups and use those divisions to reinforce their own sense of identity and self-worth." One should predict, therefore, that white, middle-class, suburban or rural, Southern, and evangelically Protestant Christian homeowners will develop a bias favoring similar people.

Stewart's Naming & Shaming strategy invites the scolded listener to consider whether this general bundle of cultural loyalties (for instance, an affinity for Confederate flags) is causally associated a tendency towards racist violence. It seems to me intuitively obvious that there is such a link. Such a Naming and Shaming strategy, however, poses the risk that, rather than jettison their general cultural commitments to Southerness, the target audience will instead circle the wagons. Maybe it is just my paranoia, but it is not obvious to me which horn of the dilemma white South Carolinians would choose if they were convinced that there was an inconsistency between their general celebration of "Southern-ness" and their condemnation of a racist church-shooting.
Is it a good idea to try to shame conservative/white/southern Americans about the history and persistence of endemic racism?

The Silver Bullet That Will Create A Progressive South Doesn’t Exist
But Tyro really gets to the heart of the matter. The brutal truth is that most of American political history is an experiment in seeing what will happen if national political elites agree not to offend white supremacist Southern white men. The New Deal coalition agreed to take civil rights off the table from FDR until briefly Truman and then JFK, and the result was after a brief period of supporting (threadbare) national welfare state policies (that largely excluded African-Americans) during a period of particularly acute deprivation, Southern Democrats happily joined with Republicans to thwart economic reforms and pass Taft-Hartley with a veto-proof majority. Republicans took civil rights off the table by 1891, and in the resulting context Albama’s constitution was basically written by timber companies. The Jacksonian party system was essentially organized to take slavery off the table, and during this period the Southern Democrats who dominated the federal government largely had reactionary economic views.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 3:25 PM on June 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


Man, those authors seem quite sincere, but at present this looks a bit like trolling. Let's at least wait until people start to (wrongly) say that getting rid of the flag was a silver bullet before we get hand-wringey over it. (We do need a new Nixon/C. Everett Koop to go to China/AIDS, tho'.)
posted by Going To Maine at 3:36 PM on June 23, 2015 [1 favorite]




And we gave that to him, each and every one of us on both sides of the race war he really did start, because we were too busy shouting about our grievances to understand what we were giving him

Actually, regardless of DSR's sincere/insincere motivations, I rather disagree with this statement. It's too soon to stell, but this seems like a step away from race war, and -one hopes- another baby step towards a better society.
posted by Going To Maine at 3:44 PM on June 23, 2015


It's so strange seeing the sudden shift in opinion on the Confederate flag.

Like a great many African-Americans who was very young when the Dukes of Hazzard first aired (5 - 7 years old during its heyday), I wanted all the things related to the show: toy cars, t-shirts, lunchboxes, posters, including the stuff prominently featuring the flag.

For me, even though I'd already seen the n-word in hate-filled graffiti and been called it by racist adults with no sense of shame or decency, there was no association between racists and the flag at that age. It was the symbol of the car and them Duke boys, period, end of story.

Even as I grew older and began to know more -- or to think I knew more -- about the world, I still had this weird split in my head: the flag remained the symbol of good ol' boys who were never meanin' no harm, and it was also the symbol of good ol' boys who did mean harm to people who looked like me.

I think that split is mostly gone now. A friend of mine pointed out that in a recent commercial featuring the (now much older) Dukes, the director and editor took great pains to avoid showing the roof of the famous General Lee. And I didn't notice until he mentioned it.

It's long, long, long past time for the flag to go, but like so many things about the South (I've got deep Southern roots), it's incredibly complex -- that split in my feelings is long gone, but part of me still would love to have a throwback DoH shirt with the flag on full display.

In conclusion, contrasts.
posted by lord_wolf at 3:47 PM on June 23, 2015 [19 favorites]


Pallin’ around with racists: Five neo-Confederates Rand Paul employed or embraced since 2009

Even ignoring his dad's horrible own record on the subject, Rand Paul's long-stated opposition to the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act should be big red flashing warning signs.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 3:50 PM on June 23, 2015 [6 favorites]


It's so strange seeing the sudden shift in opinion on the Confederate flag.

This Is How Fast America Changes Its Mind
posted by Golden Eternity at 3:55 PM on June 23, 2015 [9 favorites]


“Brenda's Last Word: The Confederate Flag”—Brenda Wood, WXIA-TV 11 Atlanta, 23 June 2015
11Alive's Brenda Wood weighs in on the controversy regarding the removal of the Confederate flag in South Carolina and other places since the church massacre in Charleston last week.
posted by ob1quixote at 4:34 PM on June 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


This Is How Fast America Changes Its Mind

Wow, there are some high quality infographics there.

Not gonna derail into the subjects I'm thinking of when I read that, but yeah, It annoys me when people act like it's a hopeless crazy dream to try and persuade Americans of things. Yes, we are as stubborn as they come, but it's still worth trying when you have what is good and right behind you.
posted by Drinky Die at 4:43 PM on June 23, 2015


the symbol of good ol' boys who were never meanin' no harm

I guess it's just a little bit more than the 2016 Presidential electorate will allow.
posted by tonycpsu at 4:54 PM on June 23, 2015 [3 favorites]




Confederate flag store owner: “It’s not a flag issue, it’s not a gun issue, it’s a heart issue.”
Why do you think the flag is now associated with slavery and white supremacy?
Well, people perceive the flag the way the media portrays it, and the media has an agenda, and the agenda is the destruction of western Christian civilization. Now, with regards to slavery, slavery was introduced early on in the colonies, and it was the Northern colonies that practiced the trade. There was never a Southern flag flown over a slave ship. If the abolitionists were so intent on stopping slavery, why didn’t they shut down the slave ship operations? Why didn’t they stop the trading of rum or sugar cane in New England? Why didn’t they stop the root of the cause of slavery, which was greed, simple greed?

We must recognize slaves were sold by black chieftains to white slave captains. These chieftains and Yankee captains bear the brunt of the responsibility. Now, we’re not taught about the literally hundreds of thousands of white slaves from Ireland and Scotland that were sent to Barbados—that’s a moot subject, you won’t hear about it. And at the same time, the term slave came from the Muslims who around the Mediterranean were going North, and capturing Slavic people. That’s why they’re called slaves.
posted by Golden Eternity at 7:10 PM on June 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


It's like he has a checklist.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:45 PM on June 23, 2015 [6 favorites]


Seriously, Jim Webb?
posted by tonycpsu at 7:46 PM on June 23, 2015


don lemon is on cnn asking if president obama should apologize for slavery.
posted by nadawi at 7:56 PM on June 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


Flag Supporters React With a Mix of Compromise, Caution and Outright Defiance
Mr. Stewart was livid at the “reckless and unnecessary” statement by Philip Gunn, the Republican speaker of the Mississippi House of Representatives, that the Confederate battle saltire needed to be removed from the Mississippi state flag. Mr. Stewart pointed out that the state had voted by huge margins to keep the flag as it was in 2001, and that should have been that.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:59 PM on June 23, 2015


I didn't believe you, nadawi, so I searched the twitters for it.

So is this the line for the shuttle to leave this planet forever?
posted by tonycpsu at 8:02 PM on June 23, 2015 [4 favorites]


Golden Eternity's link is like the ultimate bingo card of slavery apologists.

North Carolina's governor wants the confederate flag off the license plates.
posted by marxchivist at 8:06 PM on June 23, 2015


Confederate flag store owner: “It’s not a flag issue, it’s not a gun issue, it’s a heart issue.”
Miller said, “I’m afraid our country has not learned from history, inasmuch our education doesn’t teach real history.”

What doesn’t a contemporary American education teach?

Facts. Well, one fact is that [the United States] was founded as a Christian nation.
His knowledge of history starts off bad and gets worse. This would be hilariously ironic if it weren't depressingly ironic.
posted by Rangi at 8:17 PM on June 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


If the abolitionists were so intent on stopping slavery, why didn’t they shut down the slave ship operations?

This is the funniest bit for me - dude claims to know everything about slavery, but he doesn't realize that the slave trade was already banned for more than half a century when the war started.
posted by fifthrider at 8:24 PM on June 23, 2015 [9 favorites]


And we gave that to him, each and every one of us on both sides of the race war he really did start

This comment was pretty offensive even before I got to this part, but boy howdy.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:33 PM on June 23, 2015 [7 favorites]


Me: And we gave that to him, each and every one of us on both sides of the race war he really did start, because we were too busy shouting about our grievances to understand what we were giving him

Going to Maine: Actually, regardless of DSR's sincere/insincere motivations, I rather disagree with this statement. It's too soon to stell, but this seems like a step away from race war, and -one hopes- another baby step towards a better society.

Well it's a race war but it's being fought with words and symbols instead of bullets and bombs, which is a good thing. And even better, the good guys are winning this round.

But sometimes a thing so shitty it shouldn't have happened manages to result in something much better than we have any right to expect. To see the Civil War as anything other than a horror is foolish, but it is also undeniable that the end result was an improvement. Too bad we couldn't do that without the 600,000 dead bodies.

I certainly won't mourn the flags moved from poles to museums and other improvements. But I will not celebrate until I'm certain there is no cat copying this. I study patterns, and this is just one element in a long standing pattern. And that pattern says it will happen again. And when it happens again it might be a school or a shopping mall or a theatre, but what this actually does is make it much more likely that next time it happens it will be at a black church.
posted by Bringer Tom at 8:35 PM on June 23, 2015


“Refusing to Be Comforted,” Jennifer Bailey, Sojourners, 20 June 2015
This tactic of terror is particularly egregious in its profaning of holy space. Black churches are not just a space for communal worship. They are one of few places in our society where black Christians are acknowledged as children of God. That is what makes this violation particularly heinous. By a combatting the narrative of black life as commodity through the affirmation of black humanity, the black churches function as political spaces that inherently challenge the dominance of white supremacy.
posted by ob1quixote at 8:41 PM on June 23, 2015


And when it happens again it might be a school or a shopping mall or a theatre, but what this actually does is make it much more likely that next time it happens it will be at a black church.

Maybe I'm dense, but white people have been attacking black people at their churches for 200+ years. There have been over 1000 in my lifetime, and I aint that old.

I don't think it's a big stretch to say we haven't seen the end of it. More to the point, it's less that people are copycatting the most recent asshat, and more just a recent asshat doing the thing that white asshats have been doing for generations - as though he invented it, because white people are terrible at history.

To call the what is happening in America a race war is to define the word war into meaninglessness. The I/P conflict is far more warlike than anything the US has seen in 100 years - and it was the Native Americans that did that. What we've got here is mostly contained border skirmishes between ethnic groups. Frankly, I'm impressed that the black community hasn't been more militant. White people fly planes into buildings because their tax bill is too high - what would they do if cops did the stop and frisk bullshit to them all day every day ? Probably have 10 aneurysms and die from bells palsy, twitching in the street and frothing at the mouth.

White people are fucking crybabies is what I'm saying.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:53 PM on June 23, 2015 [4 favorites]


And we gave that to him, each and every one of us on both sides of the race war he really did start, because we were too busy shouting about our grievances to understand what we were giving him

Yeah, this is really messed up (and wrong). Any "race war" that's currently happening started hundreds of years ago, and white people started it. Any ability that you or I might have to pretend that there isn't a "race war" going on all the time boils down to privilege, if this is all it takes to constitute a "race war" to you.

Look, I think you are trying to argue that this asshole racist terrorist shouldn't be lionized but you are coming really perilously close to doing that yourself. He didn't start any race war, and he isn't personally solely responsible for the stupid confederate flag coming down, though he may have helped to catalyze it. It's also pretty gross to dismiss the deep, serious, complex thoughts that Black folks have expressed about how it feels to see the Confederate flag still flying as simple "grievances" like this is fucking Festivus or something. In any event, to give you a lot of benefit of the doubt, I think you're going way too far with your rhetoric and it might be coming off way differently than you intended it.
posted by dialetheia at 8:54 PM on June 23, 2015 [8 favorites]




and he isn't personally solely responsible for the stupid confederate flag coming down

Really? Oh I think that's exactly how it will be remembered.

In any case I've been accused of *cough* even though I have left like 13 of 1000 comments. I get it, it's an unpopular view. My pet peeve isn't race, it's murder, and I see it through that lens. This is a mass murder that is very typical nowadays but not so much before 1950. You would probably say there will be other racial crimes. I will say there will be other random externalized suicide murders. Sometimes those things will intersect. Anyway I don't thnk I can honestly be accused of over-arguing after leaving like 13 comments in a 1,000+ comment thread. It's just that if you want to suggest Dylan Fucking Storm Fucking Roof isn't doing a happy dance right now, I'm going to seriously argue that point. But that doesn't really matter; I think we fill find out true soon enough. The litle fuck is alive and obviously has no sense of self-discipline, so all his beans will be on the concourse in due time.
posted by Bringer Tom at 9:13 PM on June 23, 2015


Really? Oh I think that's exactly how it will be remembered.

I have high hopes that we'll rightfully remember the Confederate flag coming down as one successful outcome of the Black Lives Matter movement, which is what I would rather be talking about right now than that asshole murderer and his stupid motivations.
posted by dialetheia at 9:17 PM on June 23, 2015 [14 favorites]


If dude is just one in a long line of undifferentiated murderers why would we remember his name?
posted by shakespeherian at 9:20 PM on June 23, 2015


Because he has found a way to differentiate himself, duh.
posted by Bringer Tom at 9:23 PM on June 23, 2015


To elaborate: I suspect you know who John Wilkes Boothe is.
posted by Bringer Tom at 9:24 PM on June 23, 2015


But I will not celebrate until I'm certain there is no cat copying this. I study patterns, and this is just one element in a long standing pattern. And that pattern says it will happen again. And when it happens again it might be a school or a shopping mall or a theatre, but what this actually does is make it much more likely that next time it happens it will be at a black church.

No doubt there will be plenty of additional mass shootings in the future. (What a terrible sentence.) But it sounds strange, phrased this way, that it matters more that future victims of the shooting are people in a church vs. people in a mall. It'll be horrible either way. Heck, if the next shooting is primarily stoked by a particular vicious ideology, I'll be happy if we can use it as a moment to stomp on it as well. Yes, guns. But more than guns.

I have high hopes that we'll rightfully remember the Confederate flag coming down as a successful outcome of the Black Lives Matter movement

I would like to think this, but I don't, really -not yet. I'd like to see the story get told from that perspective. I certainly think that the reason that this incident is the one that can be a tipping point for the flag is because of all the other momentum that's been building; I'm just not certain that Black Lives Matter is the one capstone element rather than a much broader cascade of things. It'll be a great story when it finally gets told.
posted by Going To Maine at 9:24 PM on June 23, 2015




GTM my fondest wish would be to know that we know how to stop this. That we know how to fix people if they become this badly broken. That I can feel there is no danger that I or anyone I care about might fall into this pit of sacrificial delusion.

Unfortunately, I have no basis for such hope at this time. And while the current situation may be making the racial tension situation better in important and long-awaited ways, I fear it is going to make the thing I am watching worse. Maybe that's a good tradeoff in the end. But it's not a solution to the problem I've been watching and really makes it noticeably worse.
posted by Bringer Tom at 9:32 PM on June 23, 2015


[Bringer Tom, you've made your argument and it's time to let the conversation breathe. Thanks.]
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 9:37 PM on June 23, 2015 [4 favorites]


it seems really disingenuous to call this "racial tension" when it is clearly Black people being explicitly persecuted
posted by NoraReed at 9:37 PM on June 23, 2015 [17 favorites]


My pet peeve isn't race

If only Nathan Roof had shared that stance.

Sadly, the victims probably never really had the privelege of not needing to care about skin color.
posted by Golden Eternity at 10:34 PM on June 23, 2015 [4 favorites]


Miller said, “I’m afraid our country has not learned from history, inasmuch our education doesn’t teach real history.”

What doesn’t a contemporary American education teach?

Facts. Well, one fact is that [the United States] was founded as a Christian nation.


The place they imagine when conservatives talk about "real America" sounds like an absolute hellhole.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 3:53 AM on June 24, 2015 [4 favorites]


I'm a little blown away by the quick surrender by the right on the confederate flag issue. Maybe it's time had just come and they know that there was no point in fighting? Weird though.
posted by octothorpe at 4:47 AM on June 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


I wondered if maybe there were a bunch of them who were already persuaded that the flag had to go, but didn't want to be the one to suggest it and catch flak from the confederate-loving masses. Maybe it's a safety-in-numbers thing?
posted by harriet vane at 5:23 AM on June 24, 2015 [7 favorites]


Yeah, this. Rather, I think it's a niche-loudmouthed-offensive-group thing, and an event like this makes it easier to come out against them. Suddenly everyone realizes that the emperor has no clothes, and there isn't enough money to pretend that he does.
posted by Going To Maine at 5:48 AM on June 24, 2015 [4 favorites]




♫ The night they drove old Dixie down, and the bells were ringing ♫
♫ The night they drove old Dixie down, and the people were singin' ♫

posted by tonycpsu at 8:29 AM on June 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


South Carolina State Representative Bill Chumley: Charleston victims 'waited their turn to be shot'.

It's sorta unclear the point he's trying to make here. He seems to disagree with taking the flag down because he fears he won't be reelected (mah constituency) and wants to somehow spin the conversation to the "good guy with a gun" argument.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 8:45 AM on June 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think a better title for that article would be, South Carolina State Representative Bill Chumley is a victim-blaming shitbag who ought to be removed from office and never allowed near the levers of power for as long as he shall live.

What an utterly loathsome person.
posted by tocts at 8:56 AM on June 24, 2015 [14 favorites]


The cowboy clowns just can't get past their own belief that they, in any of these terrifying situations, would have the presence of mind and ability to react if they were faced with this sort of violence. I heard the same sort of thing after the Virginia Tech shooting; someone focused in on the quote from one of the students that they were "waiting to die." Her supposed statement to her son was "don't you ever just wait there to die; do something."

I can only assume none of them has ever experienced the fog of war or been shocked into inaction. They certainly are incapable of imagining that they could find themselves in a situation where their gun wouldn't help them. Then again, they also can't see how offensive Monday-morning quarterbacking the actions of the dead is, so they're consistent.
posted by phearlez at 9:00 AM on June 24, 2015


The cowboy clowns just can't get past their own belief that they, in any of these terrifying situations, would have the presence of mind and ability to react if they were faced with this sort of violence

Because naturally, a society where we are all constantly prepared to take down an armed killer - at home, at school, at fucking bible study - is absolutely the best society we could possibly have! If we consider the places where people are happiest and have the best quality of life, they are places where the rule of law and custom has totally broken down and everyone is responsible for their own physical safety at every moment of every day - that's not stressful or distracting or anything! And of course, there' certainly no way that in the United States of America we could possibly create a society where rule and custom work; armed paranoia is the absolute best we can do.
posted by Frowner at 9:11 AM on June 24, 2015 [10 favorites]




roomthreeseventeen, that's a wonderful piece. Thank you for linking it.
posted by jaguar at 9:37 AM on June 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


South Carolina State Representative Bill Chumley: Charleston victims 'waited their turn to be shot'.
In my fantasy world, anyone trying to turn the discussion in this direction would have the person interviewing them immediately turn to the action hero wannabe and say "That's an interesting point, Bill. Tell us, please, about a time when you successfully disarmed an armed shooter by using your own weapon," leaving the wannabe speechless and off-balance.
posted by Nerd of the North at 9:51 AM on June 24, 2015 [3 favorites]


In Austin, Tex., a tall bearded man went into the tattoo parlor where Kelly Barr works with a request: the removal a 10-year-old tattoo of the Confederate flag.

He told Mr. Barr that he had decided to get the flag removed when he saw the pained look on a middle-age black woman at his gym on Monday.

“ ‘If South Carolina can take theirs down,’ ” Mr. Barr recalled him saying, “ ‘I can take mine down.’ ” I told him, ‘Right on.’ ”
Flag Supporters React With a Mix of Compromise, Caution and Outright Defiance
posted by nadawi at 9:55 AM on June 24, 2015 [21 favorites]


Wow, roomthreeseventeen, thanks for linking to that. There were so many quotes I wanted to pull from it and write "THIS" underneath.

Bryan Stevenson needs to travel around the country and repeat exactly what he said in that interview to governors, judges, legislators, police officers and journalists in every major city.
posted by lord_wolf at 10:05 AM on June 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


via MSNBC: Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe says, over the next 90 days, the state will recall every license plate with the Confederate flag on it at no cost, and replace them with new plates.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:21 AM on June 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


Still thinking about James Baldwin: Forgiveness in Charleston and South Africa: Political or Theological?
posted by anotherpanacea at 11:10 AM on June 24, 2015




See if you can guess without peeking: which former Dukes of Hazzard cast member is defending the Stars and Bars?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:40 PM on June 24, 2015


The car?
posted by Artw at 1:43 PM on June 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


See if you can guess without peeking: which former Dukes of Hazzard cast member is defending the Stars and Bars?

Lemme guess...Cooter? Sounds like something Cooter would do.
posted by MikeMc at 1:44 PM on June 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


The mouldering corpse of Sorrell Booke?
posted by mittens at 1:49 PM on June 24, 2015


How sad, just one short of a trifecta. Decrying political correctness while being a white dude, check. Strawman with “vilifying Southern culture and our heritage as bigoted and racist” when it's just the heritage of the traitor flag being pointed out, (it's not really abusively disparaging to point out facts) check.

You couldn't have made some sort of reference to a black close friend, Jones? This is why Bo and Luke were the stars, dude - they could take it across the finish line.
posted by phearlez at 2:09 PM on June 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


In the twenty first century, the Duke Boys drive a car with a much more positive symbol of the south on top and a new name - The General Dolly. Ms. Parton's image adorns the top of the car, smiling and welcoming.
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:04 PM on June 24, 2015 [6 favorites]


See if you can guess without peeking: which former Dukes of Hazzard cast member is defending the Stars and Bars?

Starsky! No, Hutch!
posted by Trochanter at 3:12 PM on June 24, 2015


"Jones, a former Congressman..."

Well sure.
posted by Trochanter at 3:15 PM on June 24, 2015


When I read things like that Jim Webb BS, all I can conclude is a sense of how utterly sold into that world they are. He's a politician, and he's saying he's dependent on racist support, as much as Nikki Haley is on CEO opinion of whether the southern swastika should fly over the SC statehouse.
posted by rhizome at 3:22 PM on June 24, 2015


Jones played a Hazzard County car mechanic on the show, and now pays tribute to his TV roots as the operator of the Dukes of Hazzard Museum and Shops, with two locations in Tenneesee.

He has a bit of a financial interest.
posted by Going To Maine at 3:33 PM on June 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


The Dukes of Hazzard movie actually touched on the ... problematic nature of the flag on the roof of the car.
posted by rmd1023 at 6:14 PM on June 24, 2015


Like Herbie, the car is a rolling symbol of a hateful regime but actually has a heart of gold.
posted by Artw at 6:16 PM on June 24, 2015 [20 favorites]


Meanwhile, a Black church in North Carolina was deliberately set on fire yesterday.
posted by AceRock at 7:41 AM on June 25, 2015


Tenn. GOPer: If U.S. Removes Confederate Symbols, 'What Separates Us From ISIS?'

Well, Johnny, not a lot separates ISIS from the KKK, so if you're so dang upset about not honoring the founder of the latter, maaaaybe that should trigger some sort of self-examination. But it won't, so here we are, laughing at your racist idiocy.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:12 AM on June 25, 2015 [2 favorites]


This guy sounds like a charmer. A yard full of confederate flags, and after the massacre in Charleston, he added more flags.
posted by marxchivist at 8:25 AM on June 25, 2015


More analysis of Roof's interest in starting a "race war", from Salon.
posted by theorique at 8:53 AM on June 25, 2015


“If James Baldwin didn’t change fucking America, what’s a comic essay going to do?”: Seven cartoonists discuss race, outrage, and black grief after Charleston
Richie Pope: The Confederate flag is a tangible thing for “good guys” to rally against without really thinking about themselves. There’s not enough introspection about racism. It’s often a game of Find The Racist and if they can’t find the evil villain, then where is the racism? So I get why people want the flag taken down, but it’s not like it’s the life force of racism. Americans get a tiny tangible victory and then claim racism is over. Seeing small progresses of basic decency as the deathstroke against racism instead of being in spite of it. Like a whole group of Americans have been weight-training and the rest are like, “Damn, this five pounds sure is heavy, but I lifted it! Aren’t we both equally strong?”
....
Darryl Ayo: I feel strongly that the push toward public performance of pain and grief is a re-traumatization which increases the burden on the psyche of black people. It seems that we are expected to express grand gestures of outrage, sadness and eventually forgiveness; at the same time, we are are denied by much of white America the validity of our thoughts, feelings and responses.
posted by oakroom at 12:51 PM on June 25, 2015 [6 favorites]




anotherpanacea: I enjoyed reading that blog post a great deal. Much food for thought, thank you.

Frowner: As someone who lives in a society where personal safety is largely a matter of personal and familial responsibility, I couldn't agree with you more. The burden of living in a state where normal institutions of governance usually function badly or don't function at all is hard to imagine unless one has experienced it firsthand.
posted by bardophile at 8:41 PM on June 25, 2015 [2 favorites]


Is anyone watching to the eulogy by Obama?
posted by ramix at 12:16 PM on June 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


Amazing. He began singing Amazing Grace during the eulogy. When has a sitting President ever sung? Except for maybe mumbling along with the National Anthem?
posted by Countess Elena at 12:28 PM on June 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


Video of Amazing Grace.
posted by maudlin at 12:44 PM on June 26, 2015 [5 favorites]


@fivefifths: "This is the Blackest moment in history"
posted by Golden Eternity at 1:08 PM on June 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


Full video, Obama starts 1:22
posted by Think_Long at 1:28 PM on June 26, 2015 [3 favorites]




transcript, re: grace
By taking down that flag, we express God’s grace. But I don’t think God wants us to stop there. (Applause.) For too long, we’ve been blind to the way past injustices continue to shape the present. Perhaps we see that now. Perhaps this tragedy causes us to ask some tough questions about how we can permit so many of our children to languish in poverty, or attend dilapidated schools, or grow up without prospects for a job or for a career. (Applause.)

Perhaps it causes us to examine what we’re doing to cause some of our children to hate. (Applause.) Perhaps it softens hearts towards those lost young men, tens and tens of thousands caught up in the criminal justice system -- (applause) -- and leads us to make sure that that system is not infected with bias; that we embrace changes in how we train and equip our police so that the bonds of trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve make us all safer and more secure. (Applause.)

Maybe we now realize the way racial bias can infect us even when we don’t realize it, so that we’re guarding against not just racial slurs, but we’re also guarding against the subtle impulse to call Johnny back for a job interview but not Jamal. (Applause.) So that we search our hearts when we consider laws to make it harder for some of our fellow citizens to vote. (Applause.) By recognizing our common humanity by treating every child as important, regardless of the color of their skin or the station into which they were born, and to do what’s necessary to make opportunity real for every American -- by doing that, we express God’s grace. (Applause.)

For too long --

AUDIENCE: For too long!

THE PRESIDENT: For too long, we’ve been blind to the unique mayhem that gun violence inflicts upon this nation. (Applause.) Sporadically, our eyes are open...
also btw, this has been going around...
Australian comedian perfectly sums up why other countries think US gun laws are crazy

oh and this...
Peace and Love and Unity in the Holy City
posted by kliuless at 3:52 PM on June 26, 2015 [7 favorites]


Bree Newsome climbs the flagpole and removes the flag. It didn't stay down, though. "State Police confiscated the flag immediately, and workers put it back up before 8 a.m. -- plenty of time before a planned rally by Confederate flag supporters, including members of the Ku Klux Klan."

Two photos from Twitter. Video.
posted by frimble at 7:48 AM on June 27, 2015 [6 favorites]


Congrats to her and her coconspirators. That's the best, most mediagenic bit of nonviolent civil disobedience I've seen in a long time. And the source of a couple of instantly iconic pictures, I'd say.

And the state got some nice black employee to put the flag up in time for the racist display of bigoted assholishnes later in the morning so the haters get to have their hate fest.
posted by rmd1023 at 9:26 AM on June 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


Good job on taking down the flag!
posted by Justinian at 2:27 PM on June 27, 2015


Arsonists Strike Black Churches Across The South

Churches in Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina all burned this week. Three of the fires were the work of arsonists, while the fourth remains under investigation.


WTF
posted by infini at 12:39 PM on June 28, 2015 [2 favorites]




WTF

That's what I'm saying. A church about fifteen minutes away burned down, and there's this sickening feeling of reading about it like, let it be an accident, a problem with a gas line, old wiring, then suddenly the story is about FBI involvement and arson, and how much more exactly are people supposed to stand?
posted by mittens at 4:14 AM on June 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


WTF

Well, you know what they say : Old times there are not forgotten.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 4:45 AM on June 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


Been waiting for the blowback. Scotus call too. Could be a loopy summer.
posted by Trochanter at 6:43 AM on June 29, 2015




Seriously guys, don't bug him. Super busy at the shipping dock.
posted by rhizome at 2:52 PM on June 29, 2015






Always a surprise when people don't start with the assumption that everything that comes out of 4chan is awful. I guess the self-mythologizing of Anonymous just about outweighs the actual actions of GamerGate even now.
posted by Artw at 12:41 PM on June 30, 2015




Investigators Probe Fires At 6 Black Churches In 5 Southern States. That was a couple of days a go. The tally now stands at a few more.
I seen dumpsters set on fire in riots get more news coverage than these churches
#WhoIsBurningBlackChurches?
posted by adamvasco at 4:36 AM on July 1, 2015 [5 favorites]


From that article:
"Based upon the scene examination and the evidence collected, agents were unable to determine an exact origin or fire cause. As a result, agents were unable to eliminate all accidental ignition sources. Investigators observed no element of criminal intent. The cause of the fire was best classified as undetermined."
Oh, come on. 7+ (another AME church burned down in SC last night, one which the KKK torched in 1995) black churches across the South going up in flames during a really extreme spate of racist rhetoric and violence, and they're still going with "accident?" This reeks of the same kind of protectionist Deputy Dawg bullshit of stuff like the Birmingham church bombing or the Greensboro massacre.

The average American is far more likely to be harmed or terrorized by one of these white, Lost Cause, "sovereign citizen," Rambo wannabe dudes than any other type of terrorist, yet they still get not only kid-glove treatment by the press and to a certain extent law enforcement, but visits from Republican candidates for President. All because they made a big stink about being singled out "unfairly" (which unsurprisingly turned out to be the opposite of the truth) by the DHS.
posted by zombieflanders at 5:04 AM on July 1, 2015 [6 favorites]


Not to mention the fact that arson investigations don't typically wind up in a few days. Any official statement about the likely cause should be VERY indefinite.
posted by lodurr at 5:22 AM on July 1, 2015


Yeah, arson science is basically non-existent.

The number of specifically black churches burned makes it clear what's going on, but crime scene investigation can't assume that just because white supremacists are burning churches that any specific fire is a result of that. Worse, there's actually a lot of structure fire in a year, nationally. Something like 366,000 structure fires occur nationally each year, and old, not-up-to-code structures (like historic churches) are a particular risk. What I've read suggests that at least one of the eight black church fires probably *was* the result of wiring issues, which would be more interesting if we could ignore the above caveat that arson investigations are all based on junk science. (We know they produce a lot of false positives. We don't know how many false negatives they produce.)

This case will not be solved by crime scene investigation, but it could be solved by the FBI if they spent as much time infiltrating white supremacists as they do infiltrating mosques.
posted by anotherpanacea at 5:58 AM on July 1, 2015 [7 favorites]


Yeah, I just heard about the latest one last night, I didn't even realize it was another church, I thought it was a new story about the one in Warrenville at first. It is fucking terrifying. But the post-racial drumbeat of complacent white southerners bangs on. Maybe it was lightning. Yeah, we had storms coming through, and the one notable bit of damage is another black church?
posted by mittens at 6:00 AM on July 1, 2015 [2 favorites]


maybe I've read too many lawrence sanders novels, but wouldn't the insurance companies have something to contribute on this? though I suppose that might only matter if they thought it was done in order to make a claim, if the policy doesn't distinguish between 'natural' cause and third-party arson.
posted by lodurr at 7:29 AM on July 1, 2015


Wasn't some white guy caught trying to set fire to s a church during one of the anti-police violence protests and basically just let go?
posted by Artw at 7:50 AM on July 1, 2015


Why racists target black churches
posted by Artw at 9:05 AM on July 1, 2015


I really enjoyed that article but I also feel like it overthinks it a little, or at least feigns doing so for the sake of the framing.
The reason black churches remain a target? Because they have always remained a symbol of hope in the darkness of American racism and a source of leadership, political and religious, in the African American community.
I'm not sure I think these sleaze think it through that deeply or have that much insight into what place church plays in fighting oppression. I suspect churches are targeted because scumbags want to make a place of peace feel unsafe and because they're valued by many people. Maybe they also think of it as a place they're more likely to get away with it. Beyond that I don't have enough respect for the haters to think they're that subtle in their thoughts.
posted by phearlez at 12:53 PM on July 1, 2015


i think that there is a reason that the themes of terrorism against non-white people, specifically african americans, keep being repeated. when the shooting happened, and the churches started burning again, lots of people i follow on social media were already talking about how these images are historical. the racists carrying out the acts might not realize all the reasons they're doing it, but it can't be an accident that they keep repeating the same actions, generation after generation.
posted by nadawi at 1:33 PM on July 1, 2015 [6 favorites]


I think it is a combination of committed racists who certainly do know what they are doing, and "conservatives" who dismiss obvious racism and see everything as "lib'ruls" fault, creating a culture, as on FOX News, that prevents them from truly seeing how bad racism is and sustains it instead.

Gary Younge: Farewell to America
posted by Golden Eternity at 3:14 PM on July 1, 2015 [4 favorites]


I thought it was really cute that Gary Younge seemed to think he could just renounce his citizenship like that. A nice, meaningless, consequence-free gesture. Which, of course, will stir up his followers just as though it were real.
posted by lodurr at 9:20 AM on July 3, 2015


Gary Younge isn't an American citizen - he's British. In the article, he specifically mentions that he once thought about getting citizenship and has since changed his mind. He also stresses that it's more that it's just-not-for-me rather than some kind of intractable political thing.
posted by Going To Maine at 9:32 AM on July 3, 2015


I had him confused with someone else with a similar-sounding name who made a similar pronouncement recently. As a reasoned question it makes more sense, but it does bring to mind Cory Doctorow's recent decision to move to LA. In part it was a lesser-of-evils decisions w.r.t. the British surveillance state.
posted by lodurr at 7:20 AM on July 4, 2015


South Carolina's Senate has voted to remove the flag - and the vote was 37-3.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:04 PM on July 6, 2015 [8 favorites]


And now it goes before the house. Which is a bit scarier.

(Aaaand, Haley just vetoed the part of the state budget that would've provided arts funding for our public schools. In case anyone was getting the warm fuzzies from her eventual right steps on the flag issue.)
posted by mittens at 6:04 AM on July 7, 2015 [6 favorites]


No ‘Je Suis Charleston’? (AJAMU BARAKA)
Where are the international marches of solidarity with African Americans? The statements from world leaders condemning the terrorist attack and calling on U.S. Authorities to crack down on the white nationalist terror networks developing in the U.S.? Where are the marches in white communities condemning racism and standing with black people? Why no ‘Je Suis Charleston’?
posted by Golden Eternity at 8:16 AM on July 7, 2015 [9 favorites]


(develops a wry look at Golden Eternity's quote)

Back during the "Je Suis Charlie" stuff, I mentioned that I was uneasy with the whole race to canonize the Charlie Hebdo guys - and even in here I was roundly scolded for it.

This is exactly why I didn't get into it, because the fact that the victims in that case were white guys were making everyone over-emphasize it and overlook other atrocities.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:40 AM on July 7, 2015 [4 favorites]




John Coski, author of The Confederate Battle Flag: America's Embattled Emblem, has just started answering questions at r/askhistorians.
posted by Rumple at 10:39 AM on July 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Golden Eternity: "Since 2009, the FBI has recorded just one racially motivated church burning"

To be fair, that's also during a time when they recorded zero police killings.
posted by rhizome at 12:08 PM on July 7, 2015 [7 favorites]




Golden Eternity: “Hate Group Thinks Harper Lee's New Book Could Make White People Violent
I can't get that article to pass my defenses even after allowing JavaScript. I gather from replies about it on Reddit that it's something to do with the Council of Conservative Citizens?

P.S. Memo to Vocativ, et al.: Your very expensive website that doesn't deliver any content without exposing my computer's attack surface fucking sucks.
posted by ob1quixote at 5:07 PM on July 7, 2015 [1 favorite]




@WeeLaura: "@tanehisicoates In our house, we celebrate our Southern Heritage by making cornbread & sweet tea. Which is possible totally without a flag!"
posted by Golden Eternity at 7:50 PM on July 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


At 1 a.m. this morning, the South Carolina House approved the bill to stop flying the Confederate flag at the state house grounds. The flag is to be taken down within 24 hours of the law taking effect.
posted by metaquarry at 5:51 AM on July 9, 2015 [7 favorites]


Meanwhile, in DC: In Late-Night Move, House GOP Rallies To Defend Confederate Flag
In a sudden late-night reversal Wednesday, House Republicans unexpectedly rallied to the defense of the Confederate flag. The surprise move came just one day after the House passed Democratic amendments to restrict the display of the flag on federal lands and to limit the sale of items with the notorious icon at national parks, Roll Call reported.

Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA) announced the course change Wednesday evening, telling a nearly empty chamber that House Republicans had scheduled a vote for Thursday to undo the Democratic amendments, which were made to the Interior spending bill on Tuesday.

The move caught Democrats off guard. Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) quickly opposed the new amendment and said on the House floor that she "cannot hide my surprise and my outrage," according to Roll Call.

"After the murder of nine black parishioners, I never thought that the U.S. House of Representatives would join those who would want to see this flag flown by passing an amendment to ensure" the flag can be displayed, she said.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:28 AM on July 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


US National Park gift shops sell the Confederate flag? That is just weird.
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:24 AM on July 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


US National Park gift shops sell the Confederate flag? That is just weird.

"Weird" is not quite the right sentiment or the right strength. Insane? I like insane.
posted by Going To Maine at 7:51 AM on July 9, 2015


It's impossible to convey just how weird the role of the Confederate flag is in US public life (at least in some parts of the country). It's wrapped in this kind of required public doublethink where public officials in the south and any public figure that wants to sell things to the south aren't allowed to say "this is just racist," which makes the turnabout we've seen on the flag all the more amazing. It really is an emperor has no clothes situation.
posted by LobsterMitten at 7:55 AM on July 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


I imagine at least some of them are bookstores at battlefields or other sites associated with the Civil War; as a child I'm sure that's where I bought at least one little Confederate flag I owned. It's probably something to stop, because of the continuing role of the Confederate flag in modern racism and the genuine offense that many can take at having to see it any kind of official context; that said, selling flags of the belligerents in the battle the site is designed to teach about seems like a pretty normal gift shop thing to me .
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 8:01 AM on July 9, 2015


I'm not really sure of the current state of historical site gift shops, but I can't really imagine a WWII battle museum selling NSDAP flags as souvenirs.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 8:34 AM on July 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


Yeah, selling a flag in a gift shop that has been soaking in racism since it was created seems reallyreallyreally abnormal to me.
posted by 23skidoo at 8:49 AM on July 9, 2015


Of course, which is why I stated it shouldn't be sold, my point was only that, since the white population is only recently coming to actual grips with the fact that the Confederate flag is a racist symbol* and that racist symbols have no place in our public spaces, it's not insane that a park service vendor would, as part of its normal duties of selling historically oriented trinkets sell a historical flag that wasn't seen as a racist (by ignorant and/or lied to white people anyway).

I'm not defending it, just saying that it's not surprising.

*It's been obvious from the start, but that's different from actually acknowledging it. The fact that this is a genuine debate makes it clear that we're still working that one through.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 8:58 AM on July 9, 2015


Of course, which is why I stated it shouldn't be sold, my point was only that, since the white population is only recently coming to actual grips with the fact that the Confederate flag is a racist symbol and that racist symbols have no place in our public spaces, it's not insane that a park service vendor would, as part of its normal duties of selling historically oriented trinkets sell a historical flag that wasn't seen as a racist (by ignorant and/or lied to white people anyway).*

O, it's true. My "insane" was rather deliberately voiced from a modern-me standpoint. Those Southern apologists did quite a number on the country, and most of us were just fine with having it done.
posted by Going To Maine at 9:02 AM on July 9, 2015


I'm not defending it, just saying that it's not surprising.

Yeah, and I'm not saying I'm surprised that Confederate flags have been sold in gift shops. I'm saying that it's terribly fucked up and abnormal thing to do.
posted by 23skidoo at 9:12 AM on July 9, 2015


I don't know how much autonomy any individual national or state park gift store has over its merchandising, but a good chunk of the Southerners I knew who were into history in a way that would end up as "government employee at a national park" rather than "history professor" were absolutely apologists for the Confederacy. The whole "heritage, not hate" idea is coming from that group of people, and that's the group of people who seem most likely to be shopping at and working at Civil War battlefield giftshops.

My junior-year high-school American history teacher was really into the Civil War, and I used to joke that he was the only Southerner I knew who was really into the Civil War and thought the North should have won. It was a seemingly rare combination, at least in suburban Atlanta at the time.
posted by jaguar at 9:26 AM on July 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


selling flags of the belligerents in the battle the site is designed to teach about seems like a pretty normal gift shop thing to me .

Yeah. I'm trying to remember some of the other war sites I've been to -it's been a long time, honestly - but my recollection is that Revolutionary War battle sites that had gift shops/museums would contain some British stuff as well. I don't think it's some crazy thing to sell flags of the belligerents in the battles - especially when most of the time it's so ten year olds can play war or what have you, which is what I recall doing as a kid.

But the Confederate flag does occupy this extremely weird place in history and culture, specifically because of how it's been appropriated, and specifically because of how it's been appropriated in the last century. That's why you get bumper stickers that say 'Rebel' with a Confederate flag still being a thing. People take home tiny Union Jacks from gift shops and give their kids little British soldiers, but nobody's flying the British flag or getting bumper stickers that say 'Proud Tory'.

Government buildings that specifically started flying the Confederate flag after the Civil Rights Movement need to take it the fuck down. But I will say I am finding the recent reaction to the Confederate flag/things about Confederates is incredibly surreal when we're talking about banning any items that contain it from museum gift shops, or taking out apps that contain the Confederate flag including educational games from the Apple store, or most surreal of all, talking about moving people's bodies. And it's not just that people find the Confederacy despicable, because you have games like 'Axis and Allies' and people do giant WWII battle recreations with historically accurate uniforms, and god knows most people are pretty down with hating the Nazis.

I wish that we, as a nation and as a people, could ever react to things moderately, rather than this weird pendulum where we're either flying rebel flags over statehouses or we're trying to knock down war memorials.
posted by corb at 11:02 AM on July 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


taking out apps that contain the Confederate flag including educational games from the Apple store

This was something almost nobody but Apple thought was a good idea.

or most surreal of all, talking about moving people's bodies.

Forrest founded the KKK. He deserves as ignominious (or anonymous) a burial, monument, and civic naming rights as any other terrorist leader.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:08 AM on July 9, 2015 [8 favorites]


I also don't really get the "appropriation" angle, here. What substantive difference is there between the treason that went into establishing the Confederacy and the mentality of present-day people who proudly adorn their homes and vehicles with the flag?
posted by tonycpsu at 11:30 AM on July 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


The many yankees who adorn things with that flag kinda appropriated it. As a symbol of their racism, or of their general shitkickerness, or both.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:40 AM on July 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


But the Confederate flag does occupy this extremely weird place in history and culture, specifically because of how it's been appropriated, and specifically because of how it's been appropriated in the last century. That's why you get bumper stickers that say 'Rebel' with a Confederate flag still being a thing. People take home tiny Union Jacks from gift shops and give their kids little British soldiers, but nobody's flying the British flag or getting bumper stickers that say 'Proud Tory'.

It hasn't been "appropriated." It's been a symbol of anti-government rebellion to some, and of racism to others since the Civil War. Nothing has changed.
posted by zarq at 11:41 AM on July 9, 2015 [7 favorites]


Forrest founded the KKK. He deserves as ignominious (or anonymous) a burial, monument, and civic naming rights as any other terrorist leader.

Sure. I absolutely agree with you, 100%. If Forrest were being buried today, and it was being argued he deserved any kind of state burial or monument, I'd be out there in the streets fighting it, because you're right, he doesn't deserve to be publicly honored.

But the corpses of him and his wife (who presumably had little control of her husband or his activities at that time, I'll note) have been buried for 110 years. Digging them up at this point just to rebury them ignominiously is just kind of weird and creepy. I really can't support tearing up cemeteries or funeral sites simply because we have come to a better understanding of how awful the people buried there are. We don't have to violate the dead to repudiate their legacy.
posted by corb at 11:47 AM on July 9, 2015


Also, companies being made aware of sexist or racist problems related to their brands or merchandise, and then taking action so they don't look like they're endorsing that stuff is not new.
posted by zarq at 11:51 AM on July 9, 2015


[I'm going to suggest we not get into a big back-and-forth over whether considering removing the Confederate flag for fucks sake is a worrisome overreaction, or whether people are being considerate enough of Nathan Bedford Forrest. corb: I want you to again pause and consider how the points you're raising are going to come across in this thread.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 12:09 PM on July 9, 2015 [7 favorites]


Digging them up at this point just to rebury them ignominiously is just kind of weird and creepy.

Given that they're in a public park, the only other option I can think of* to reduce his prominence and honor would be to remove the monument and leave the graves unmarked. Which is also weird.

*That would be polite. Part of me would prefer to leave it there as is but add an appropriately large statue/fountain of a black man with broken shackles by his feet pissing on it.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:39 PM on July 9, 2015 [4 favorites]


“The South’s Heritage Is So Much More Than a Flag,” Patterson Hood, The New York Times, 09 July 2015
posted by ob1quixote at 12:40 PM on July 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


Digging them up at this point just to rebury them ignominiously is just kind of weird and creepy.

We move bodies to make way for all sorts of things. Sometimes, we only move the headstones.

Besides, Nathan Bedford Forrest is responsible for the KKK - a terrorist group opposed to racial integration as well as being anti-catholic - that is responsible for thousands and thousands of Americans being tortured and killed.

We should dig his ass up, and bury him next to Bin Laden like the terrorist organizer he is.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 1:25 PM on July 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


But the Confederate flag does occupy this extremely weird place in history and culture, specifically because of how it's been appropriated, and specifically because of how it's been appropriated in the last century.

Yes, in the same way that racists the world over have appropriated the swastika despite not being literal Nazis fighting in WWII. It's not weird at all - it's a bog-standard hate symbol.
posted by dialetheia at 1:30 PM on July 9, 2015 [5 favorites]


I note for the record that Forrest's remains were moved from their original burial plot to the current location in 1905. The proposal is to move them back to where they started.
McCollum said in the email the cemetery’s board of trustees and staff are offering to provide the burials free of charge “in a gesture of good will to the people of Memphis.”

“Their grave spaces were never re-used on their family lot at Elmwood Cemetery. The couple can be reinterred in their original spaces,” McCollum’s email reads. “Elmwood Cemetery will assist the city with the removal and relocation of the caskets, should the time come.”
posted by ob1quixote at 1:38 PM on July 9, 2015 [8 favorites]


Jenny Horne: How a descendant of the president of the Confederacy helped vanquish his flag

A pretty good speech actually. If we got this kind of leadership from the GOP more often, this country could be so much better.
posted by Golden Eternity at 5:16 PM on July 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


Pelosi’s Charge: How Democrats Cornered the GOP (Video)

Dang, they should all have sung the Battle Hymn Republic in unison. And then John Brown's Body.
posted by Golden Eternity at 5:34 PM on July 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


GOOD MORNING! IT'S A GREAT DAY IN SOUTH CAROLINA!
posted by octobersurprise at 6:05 AM on July 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


And it's hot as hell, with a predicted high of 102°.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:11 AM on July 10, 2015




I'm reeeeeeaally curious as to what the crowd reaction is going to be (cheers? Boos? What?)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:01 AM on July 10, 2015


And personally, the idea of a "brief, dignified ceremony" makes me kind of itch. It strikes me as this being the kind of thing that should have been done at night, when they lower the American flag, like it's no big thing and then it just never goes up again. Give that thing the absolute lack of attention it deserves.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:06 AM on July 10, 2015


awesome - I'm watching the livestream, and the crowd has just started all singing "na-na hey-hey goodbye".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:11 AM on July 10, 2015 [6 favorites]


That was so damned great.

The crowd was also chanting U! S! A!!, U! S! A!
posted by cashman at 7:15 AM on July 10, 2015 [2 favorites]




I was watching the NBC feed, and the on-the-scene guy opined at some point that "this is the date when this flag will cease to be a political symbol" and I just thought "oh, you poor naive bastard."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:18 AM on July 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


Hey, if they wanna fake it til you make it at this point, let's freaking go.
posted by cashman at 7:20 AM on July 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


"I was watching the NBC feed, and the on-the-scene guy opined at some point that 'this is the date when this flag will cease to be a political symbol' and I just thought 'oh, you poor naive bastard.'"

Yeah, Josh Marshall wrote a few days ago about several examples of a transition occurring where, as he puts it, "the cultural conservatives of the South [are] surrendering up their beloved symbol and bequeathing it to these men of the North and non-South as a new symbol of right-wing assholedom entirely cut off from history and region". That is to say, at the very least there's going to be an increase in the number of folks who see the confederate battle flag as a symbol of resistance to PCism gone mad. It'll be an all-purpose Flag of Assholes.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 7:26 AM on July 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


The Morning They Drove Old Dixie Down
posted by zombieflanders at 7:27 AM on July 10, 2015


all of this pomp and circumstance is honestly sickening. just take the damn thing down and be done with it.
posted by nadawi at 7:37 AM on July 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I get the need and desire to celebrate this moment, but I think it would be awesome if the flag was already gone by the time everyone showed up this morning. Have the celebration around the empty flag pole; don't give the symbol any kind of ceremonial goodbye or chance to be martyred ("look at all these people celebrating the flag coming down!").
posted by nubs at 8:26 AM on July 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


The removal ceremony that mattered happened two weeks ago when Bree Newsome took the flag down.
posted by prize bull octorok at 9:56 AM on July 10, 2015 [21 favorites]


> And personally, the idea of a "brief, dignified ceremony" makes me kind of itch. It strikes me as this being the kind of thing that should have been done at night, when they lower the American flag, like it's no big thing and then it just never goes up again. Give that thing the absolute lack of attention it deserves.

I think it deserves attention. I suspect there are a lot of people who find it meaningful to see that flag come down with their own eyes. Sure, do all that color guard pomp and circumstance, let's make it utterly unambiguous that this flag was officially, formally removed by the state. It didn't just disappear. It wasn't stolen. And there's no denying exactly what happened here because we witnessed it.

It's like a viewing before the funeral. It's not enjoyable to look at your dead relative all made up wearing their best suit/dress, but it does make it clear that there's no mistaken identity, they're really dead in that coffin and it's going into the ground.
posted by desuetude at 10:48 AM on July 10, 2015 [4 favorites]


“The Future of the Confederate Flag (and Robert E. Lee),” Charles P. Pierce, Esquire Politics Blog, 09 July 2015

“Brenda's Last Word: The end of the Confederate battle flag in S.C.”—Brenda Wood, WXIA-TV 11 Atlanta, 09 July 2015
posted by ob1quixote at 3:37 PM on July 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


“Lost Cause Religion,” David S. Williams, New Georgia Encyclopedia, 06 March 2015
posted by ob1quixote at 7:51 PM on July 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


From ob1's link:
The Lost Cause concept supplied a heroic interpretation of the war so that southerners could maintain their sense of honor. ... When the idea of a Southern nation was defeated on the battlefield, the vision of a separate Southern people, with a distinct and noble cultural character, remained. The term culture religion refers to ideals that a given group of people desire to strengthen or restore, and Lost Cause religion sought to maintain the concept of a distinct, and superior, white southern culture against perceived attacks. ... Finally, Lost Cause proponents preached the message that adherence to the civility of the prewar South meant that the Cause was not truly lost. Victory would come if white southerners maintained their superior and pure culture.
posted by MonkeyToes at 5:00 AM on July 11, 2015


The Pros And Cons Of Flying The Confederate Flag
  • Simplest way to let others know your state ranks in bottom quintile of all quality-of-life metrics
  • Political correctness should not get in the way of being on the wrong side of history
posted by NoraReed at 7:59 PM on July 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


A couple of articles I came across that have me horrified at the level of racism and poverty in the deep south:

STATE ADVOCACY UPDATE: ALABAMA AND TEXAS ADDRESS LIFETIME FEDERAL PUBLIC BENEFITS BAN

They are taking federal food stamps away from children of ex-convicts. Food stamps! This PRWORA law has to have been written by the klan or something.

An opportunity gamed away - For a county in the Deep South that reaped millions from casino business, poverty is still its spin of the wheel

They built casinos in Tunica county which has a desperately poor African American black belt community, and then didn't share any of the profit with them - instead building golf courses and an olympic sized swimming pool.
posted by Golden Eternity at 2:09 PM on July 12, 2015 [9 favorites]


“Only Black Deaths Matter,” Rev. Dr. William Barber II, Sojourners, 13 July 2015
Let us be clear about what's being said: Nine Black deaths will not get you one pen to sign Medicaid expansion throughout the South, which saves black lives. Black deaths will not get full voting rights, which saves black political power and lives. It will not get criminal justice reform, which liberates black lives. Nor will it get you full funding for public education, a living wage, or economic empowerment that will lift the lives of black people, minorities, and the poor. It will not get gun reform. Black deaths only get you the lowering of a low-down flag that should have never been up. It will get you nine pens as memorabilia and a signing ceremony at the Capitol. It will get you one final insult in the promise that an undignified flag, a symbol of hate, will be lowered “with dignity and respect.” And you will get this only if black deaths occur, and the victims’ families and extended family in the human race behave in a manner declared acceptable and ‘Christian’ by people who have supported un-Christian, immoral public policy that continues to institutionalize economic, racial, and political inequality.

We cannot allow this narrative to stand unchallenged.
posted by ob1quixote at 1:36 PM on July 13, 2015 [11 favorites]


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