Tag Archives: Dylann Roof

Killer tests anti-death penalty principle

I just can’t stand it when one of my long-standing principles gets tested by sociopathic monsters.

It is happening now as I listen to the rantings of the young man who opened fire in that Charleston, S.C., church, killing nine people with whom he had been praying just moments earlier.

A trial jury has convicted the killer — who I will continue to refuse to identify by name — of multiple murder. The moron then fired his defense counsel and is representing himself in the sentencing phase of the trial.

The judge questioned the killer’s ability to provide himself with an adequate defense. The killer said there is “nothing wrong” with his mind. I guess the judge believes him. Fine.

This individual is going to get the death penalty.

My own view against capital punishment is steeped in my belief that it does nothing to deter people from committing the kinds of acts that occurred in Charleston. The shooter surely knew what awaited him when he opened fire on the people inside the church.

The killer, a racist who admits to wanting to start a race war by killing the nine African-Americans in the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, is beyond redemption. He says now he has no regrets over what he did; he will not apologize for it.

Although I still believe that capital punishment is the wrong way to punish this monster, I won’t grieve for one moment when the state finally puts him down.

Symbols matter, but keep eye on big picture

confederate flag

The Confederate flag is a symbol of hatred, racism and human bondage.

So are the statues of Confederate “heroes” that populate public property throughout the Deep South.

It’s good that governments are taking aim at these symbols. Indeed, many pundits — and I include myself in that gang — have gone overboard to cry out for the removal of flags and statues.

It’s important that we rid ourselves of these visible, tangible and identifiable symbols. They need not stare us in the face and remind us of the path we’ve taken as a nation.

The bigger issue, though, lies in what they represent. The racism. The belief that some of us are better than others merely because of the pigment of our skin.

We’ve had a lot of intense discussion about these issues in the past several days. A young white man walked into a black church, sat down next to black Christians and joined them in a Bible study. The young man then pulled out a gun and shot nine of his acquaintances to death. Dylann Roof has been accused of the crime and we’re learning more about the young man each day, about his hatred of African-Americans and the deep-seated racism he harbored deep within what passes for his soul.

Is he alone? Hardly.

How do we rid society of this kind of evil? That remains the 64 bazillion-dollar question today as we continue to grieve over the deaths of those people in Charleston, S.C.

Yes, the symbols must be taken down. The Confederate battle flag belongs in museums, as President Obama noted. Indeed, removing these symbols doesn’t mean we ignore the things for which they stand. It means we must redouble our vigilance against those who would do the kind of harm against fellow human beings that was done this past week in that Charleston church.

The campaign against hate must continue.


Confederacy debate picks up steam

This national discussion we’re having about the Confederacy, its symbols and its place in American history has energized a lot of Americans.

News came out today that Wal-Mart — a company headquartered in Bentonville, Ark. — is pulling its Confederate gear out of its stores.

I mention the hometown of Wal-Mart because it’s in Arkansas, one of the states comprising the Confederate States of America.


The catalyst for this discussion, of course, was that terrible tragedy in Charleston, S.C., where a shooter vented his rage against black people by killing nine people in a church as he reportedly was studying the Bible with them.

Dylann Roof is accused of the crime. Roof, 21, is all but known to be a racist hater, wanting to launch a “race war” in the United States.

The Confederate States of America — and its symbol, the flag that for now flies on the statehouse grounds in South Carolina — committed a treasonous act in 1861 by seceding from the Union and then starting the Civil War with its bombardment of Fort Sumter in, of all places, Charleston Harbor.

The Confederacy long has symbolized treason. Over time it has symbolized hatred of some white people against black people.

Now we see a corporate giant taking its Confederate gear off its shelves.

Yes, the let the discussion continue and let it make clear the things for which the Confederacy stands.


It’s far more than just a flag

Gov. Nikki Haley, a South Carolina Republican, has joined the call she should have led immediately after a suspect was caught and charged with murdering nine African-American church members in Charleston.

She’s urged the South Carolina legislature to take down the Confederate flag that flies at full staff on the statehouse grounds in Columbia.


She waited five days after the tragedy. The suspect, a young man named Dylann Roof, is an avowed racist. He wrote in his diaries he intended to start a “race war” by killing African-Americans.

Haley’s call came amid a bipartisan show of solidarity today. Republican presidential candidates, GOP lawmakers, Democratic lawmakers, the head of the Republican National Committee … they all were there to join Gov. Haley’s call.

Look, it’s not just about a flag. It’s about what that flag has come to represent.

To many millions of Americans it represents hatred and evil, racism and murder. It represents the hideous views of hate groups, such as the Ku Klux Klan, that wave the flag with pride at their hate-filled rallies.

And what about that “Southern heritage” crap we hear from those who still resist the notion that the flag symbolizes tyranny against Americans? Their pleadings are sounding more hollow every passing hour.

I’m glad Gov. Haley has joined the chorus of indignation that’s sweeping the nation.

South Carolina law says the legislature has the sole power to remove the flag. Thankfully, lawmakers are coming back into session to look at several issues.

Let me think. Do you suppose the flag will be one of them?

Take down the flag.


Glad to have this flag debate

Nothing good has come from the Charleston, S.C., massacre.

However, I am glad that we’re having this discussion of the Confederate flag and its place in U.S. history and in contemporary times.

Those who see the flag now are more willing to call attention to the hate that it symbolizes in the hearts and minds of millions of Americans.

Dylann Roof apparently thought enough of the flag to wave it — apparently with some pride — prior the event that took the lives of those nine church members in Charleston. Roof has been accused of nine counts of murder.

But back to the flag.

None of reasons I’ve read that seek to justify reasons for flying the Confederate flag works, in my view. It all goes back to what the flag represents today and how it now stands as a symbol of hate, oppression, enslavement, and indeed treason.

Those calls we’ve heard since, oh, about January 2009 about secession? They sound a good bit more offensive today, given the tragedy in Charleston and the debate that’s ensued about whether the Confederate flag should fly at all — let alone on public property, as it does in front of the South Carolina statehouse.

Flag = hatred, racism, tragedy


Can there be any clearer understanding of why so many Americans despise the Confederate flag and what it symbolizes to them?

Dylann Roof is accused of killing nine black members of a Charleston, S.C., church. He shot them to death while studying Scripture with them in the church. The picture here shows the young holding the flag symbolizing the hatred he reportedly holds in what passes for his heart.

Southern pride? Southern heritage?

I suppose so, if you believe that the Confederate States of America was right to secede from the U.S.A., and then launch the Civil War, the bloodiest conflict in American history. And why did the CSA do that? Because it believed in that euphemistic “states rights” issue … which included allowing states to sanction the enslavement of human beings.

Dylann Roof’s fate has yet to be determined.

His past, as illustrated by this photograph discovered by his racist manifesto, includes this symbol of hate.

Terrorism occurred in Charleston

I want to weigh in on the discussion of whether the Charleston, S.C., massacre was an act of terrorism.

Here goes: I believe it qualifies.

Dylann Roof is accused of murdering nine people after he spent an hour studying the Bible with them. He reached into a pocket, or something, pulled out a gun and started shooting.


The victims never saw it coming. An act of terror? By my definition of the word, yes.

Yet we’re not calling it that. It’s a “hate crime.” Muslims who opened fire in Texas before they were killed were “terrorists.” A young white man in Charleston does the same thing and he’s called a “racist,” a “lunatic,” or a “mass murderer.”

You want mass murder? The 9/11 attacks certainly qualify. They, too, were carried out by terrorists.

I am growing weary of these word games.

The Charleston shooter was a terrorist, who committed a hate crime, who killed many people at once and thus, qualifies as a mass murderer.

Why not lump all these descriptions together?

We can stop playing semantic games with the language.

That’s the ticket: blame the victim

National Rifle Association board member Charles Cotton has exhibited an amazing capacity for heartlessness.

He has placed the blame for the shocking shooting deaths of nine Charleston, S.C., church members on one of the victims.



Cotton’s narrative goes something like this: One of the victims is state Sen. Clementa Pinckney, who voted against legislation allowing South Carolinians to carry concealed handguns. Had the measure passed, according to Cotton, the victims would be alive.

According to Politico: “And he voted against concealed-carry. Eight of his church members who might be alive if he had expressly allowed members to carry handguns in church are dead,” Cotton responded to the post on Thursday afternoon. “Innocent people died because of his position on a political issue.”

Pinckney, who was pastor of the church where the carnage occurred, is responsible for this tragedy. Did you get that?

What in the world is Charles Cotton, a Texas NRA board member, thinking in trying to blame one of the victims killed in that rampage?

Suppose for a moment that someone in the church was packing a pistol when the gunman opened fire. Is the NRA board member certain that he or she could have stopped the shooter on the spot — without anyone else suffering grievous injury or death on the melee?

Good grief! It’s been only four days since the tragedy erupted in that house of worship.

Can’t there be some sort of cooling-off period? Can’t we wait a reasonable length of time before leveling blame? And for crying out loud, can’t we declare “hands off!” the memory of one of the victims of this senseless act?


‘Accident’ becomes new ‘oops’ moment … maybe

Rick Perry had an “accident” in an interview dealing with the Charleston, S.C., massacre.

He called the attack that killed nine church members an “accident.”

The former Texas governor’s handlers sought to take it back, saying he meant to call it an “incident.”

But the damage may have been done. Social media took off like a rocket with the “accident” comment, comparing it to Perry’s infamous “oops” gaffe uttered during a debate in the 2012 GOP primary season.


The carnage created allegedly Dylann Roof was no “accident,” clearly. Heck, I wouldn’t settle for the word “incident” to describe it. It’s much, much worse.

But as social media thought to make hay about the former governor’s gaffe, I’m struck by the lack of response from Rick Perry himself.

I’m not interested in hearing what his press flack says about what Gov. Perry intended to say.

As expected, Perry sought to frame his response in part against how he characterized President Obama’s reaction to it, contending that the president hates guns so much that he would prefer to disarm Americans. Oh, never mind that the president has declared his support of the Second Amendment.

So …

Governor? What did you intend to say? And please, don’t just parrot what your press person has said what you meant.

Where do these people find forgiveness?

The loved ones of the men and women Dylann Roof allegedly shot to death have done what?

They have forgiven the young man? They say that if God can forgive him, how can they not?


This one is going to take some time for me to process.

Roof stands accused of killing nine people at a church in Charleston, S.C. It appears to have been a racially motivated massacre. He is known to have said he wanted to start a “civil war” and that he believes blacks and whites shouldn’t mix.

So, he went to a Bible study, was welcomed by the African-American church members. He sat with those victims for an hour — and then he opened fire.

Today, he went to court for an arraignment and several family members said they forgive this individual for committing a monstrous act of terror against them and those he killed in cold blood.

I consider myself a committed Christian. I know what Scripture says about forgiveness, how Jesus Christ urges us to love one another, no matter the sin. He didn’t distinguish among sins, never said one sin was greater than another.

What the young man is accused of doing, though, crosses a line that makes his alleged sin far greater than, say, using impolite language.

Could I forgive someone for doing something that Dylann Roof is accused of doing?

Hypothetical questions are tough to answer.

Perhaps one day, I could.

One day.


From my perch halfway across the country where this carnage occurred, I harbor intense anger toward this young man.

I stand amazed that those who are suffering such intense grief and heartbreak can find it in them to forgive.