It is shocking to me that one misguided, perhaps demented, hate-filled young white guy could rock our nation with a single act of terrorism. This self-styled vigilante waltzed into the Bible study group at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. The group welcomed him, and he sat among them for something close to an hour, and then took out a gun, which he had no trouble getting his hands on. Then, this youthful white supremacist murdered all nine of the generous, God-loving African American congregants.
The following is an excerpt from what has been identified as shooter Roof’s racist manifesto:
"The event that truly awakened me was the Trayvon Martin case…. I can say today that I am completely racially aware. Black people are racially aware almost from birth, but White people on average don’t think about race in their daily lives…. 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. I was not raised in a racist home or environment. Living in the South, almost every White person has a small amount of racial awareness, simply because of the numbers of negroes in this part of the country. But it is a superficial awareness. Growing up, in school, the White and black kids would make racial jokes toward each other, but all they were jokes. Me and White friends would sometimes would watch things that would make us think that ‘blacks were the real racists’ and other elementary thoughts like this, but there was no real understanding behind it…"
The full manifesto is available on Gawker (click here). What I have written is about all I can deal with, though I am always fascinated with criminal minds. Maybe it’s still too soon.
Alas, for the shooter, his objective to create an action that would ignite racial tensions and at best, a full-fledged race war, failed miserably! What a shock it must have been to his system that not only did nothing of the kind happen, but that his murderous actions had the exact opposite effect. The people of Charleston, along with supporters around the country, joined hands across color, religious, and political lines to deal with their grief, shock, and loss, to create a time of peace and harmony, and to generate realistic conversations about race relations as part of a long, inclusive healing process. Our President, Barack Obama, beautifully approached all of this. See the post below for details.