Here's the latest update on the domestic terror attack that took the lives of nine people in a Charleston church last night.
The alleged terrorist shooter is Dylann Roof, the 21-year old white man pictured above with apartheid symbols on his jacket.
He has two prior arrests, one on April 26th for trespassing and another in March for possession of a controlled substance.
The gun he used was given to him for his 21st birthday by his father, according to his uncle.
The Daily Beast has rounded up some quotes from former high school classmates which paint a picture of a guy who regularly used drugs. This description caught my eye:
“I never heard him say anything, but just he had that kind of Southern pride, I guess some would say. Strong conservative beliefs,” he said. “He made a lot of racist jokes, but you don’t really take them seriously like that. You don’t really think of it like that.”
But now, “the things he said were kind of not joking,” Mullins added.
Yes, you kind of don't think of it like that until suddenly it's acted upon, which it was in this case.
Many of Roof’s Facebook friends, including those from his high school, are black. The cousin of the church’s pastor who was killed quoted a survivor who said Roof told the church: “I have to do it. You’re raping our women and taking over the country. You have to go.”
Now where would he possibly have gotten an idea like that?
Charlie Pierce is right:
We should speak of it as an attack on history, which it was. This was the church founded by Denmark Vesey, who planned a slave revolt in 1822. Vesey was convicted in a secret trial in which many of the witnesses testified after being tortured. After they hung him, a mob burned down the church he built. His sons rebuilt it. On Wednesday night, someone turned it into a slaughter pen.
We should speak of it as an assault on the idea of a political commonwealth, which is what it was. And we should speak of it as one more example of all of these, another link in a bloody chain of events that reaches all the way back to African wharves and Southern docks. It is not an isolated incident, not if you consider history as something alive that can live and breathe and bleed. We should speak of all these things. What happened in that church was a lot of things, but unspeakable is not one of them.
Not to think about these things is to betray the dead. Not to speak of these things is to dishonor them. Let Nikki Haley, the governor of South Carolina, look out her window at the flag of treason that is flown proudly at her state capitol and think about these things, and speak of them, before she pronounces herself so puzzled at how something like this could happen in South Carolina, the home office of American sedition.
President Obama's statement was angry, sorrowful and resolute all at once.
"I don't need to be constrained about the emotions tragedies like this raise," the president said. "I've had to make comments like this too many times. Communities like this have had to endure tragedies like this too many times."
"Now is the time for mourning and healing, but let's be clear: At some point as a country, we have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries," the president said. "It is in our power to do something about it… I say this knowing the politics in this town foreclose a lot of those opportunities."
I'll post updates with new information as it's available.