Friday, December 16, 2016

Charleston shooter's conviction isn't reason to "move on" from what motivatied him in this era of Trump

Yesterday, Dylann Roof was convicted by a federal jury in Charleston, South Carolina for the murder of nine black parishioners at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church more than a year ago. The victims apparently believed him when he expressed a desire to cross the race line and “share” his “God” with them; they no doubt were flattered by this, since as God-fearing people they themselves harbored no ill-will toward white people. What they did not know is that Roof disguised an intense ill-will toward them, for the sole reason that they were black. “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,” stated Roof in his “manifesto” justifying his actions. “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.”

Like most racists, Roof is actually a coward of the worst sort, choosing as his victims people who would be most vulnerable to his sinister predations. His defense attorney, David Bruck, had the audacity to suggest to jurors that he was not just a “suicidal loner,” but Roof may have had “legitimate” reasons for a head full of hate. Roof’s “manifesto” proclaims that “Integration has done nothing but bring Whites down to level of brute animals…Anyone who thinks that White and black people look as different as we do on the outside, but are somehow magically the same on the inside, is delusional. How could our faces, skin, hair, and body structure all be different, but our brains be exactly the same?” Roof also wrote that there are “good” and “bad” Hispanics, the “good” ones being, of course, white. Interestingly, Roof “liked” Jews because they are “white,” only desiring that they give-up their religion. He also has a soft spot for East Asians (meaning Chinese, Japanese etc.). Why?  Because “They are by nature very racist and could be great allies of the White race. I am not opposed at all to allies with the Northeast Asian races.” He may be right about some of these people, but if I were them I wouldn’t be too “proud” of the association.

Also like most racists, Roof’s hate was more the product of white racial paranoia. He claimed to have felt “compelled” to act as he did because of the way blacks “treated” whites. What he did, he asserted, was “miniscule” in comparison to this. What could he possibly be talking about? That they “complain” too much about racism and discrimination by whites in this society? And where were all these incidents of blacks killing someone simply because they are white? Yes, there are incidents where in the commission of a crime, a black person kills a white person, but according to FBI statistics, only one-in-ten homicides are “interracial”; for white as well as blacks, the perpetrator of a homicide almost always “chooses” a victim of the same race. On the other hand, murder with a hate element is almost always white-on-minority (not necessarily black), with the “DC Sniper” shooting spree the rare exception. 

Roof told interrogators that he opposed desegregation, expressing “disgust” at white supremacist groups that establish separatist “colonies,” asserting that they should simply stay put on “their” land and make minorities move out. He also hoped that his death-dealing spree would start a race war; if this sounds familiar, it should be: this was Oklahoma City terrorist bomber Timothy McVeigh’s stated intent. This may suggest some level of psychosis that either of these two could believe that something other than extreme disgust (outside the white supremacist/neo-Nazi crowd) and embarrassment (from those who claim that white racism doesn’t “exist”) could be the outcome. 

The hypocrisy of the Right in the aftermath of the shootings isn’t particularly “pretty,” either. Roof claimed that the “last straw” for him was the removal of the Confederate flag from over the South Carolina Statehouse; Governor Nikki Haley, an Indian-American, had for years been silent on the issue, claiming it was “settled” before belatedly backing a resolution to remove the flag from the building, but allowing it to remain on the grounds. Haley then “tracked” emails supporting either removal of the flag from the grounds, or keeping it there, following the shooting. Thus it was not a “moral” decision on her part to order the flag’s removal from the grounds, but one of expediency and public relations in the face of national outrage.

Meanwhile, South Carolina Sen. Lindsay Graham proclaimed after the Roof verdict that "if there was ever a justified guilty verdict, this was the case." He is correct, and I don’t doubt the Senator’s sincerity; but this is an “easy” case to be on the “right” side of. It is “harder” to be on the “right” side when it comes to not aiding in the creation of the atmosphere in which such hate as Roof’s can thrive, something that Republicans—especially the Donald Trump variety—are particularly “adept” at.

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