A brief set of evening links and updates related to the murder of nine black Americans in the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina.
- The shooter was identified as Dylann Storm Roof. He was captured 250 miles north of Charleston after a North Carolina florist recognized him and his vehicle from news reports. She followed Roof's vehicle until police arrived and detained him. Roof has now been extradited to South Carolina.
- There were many signs Roof had been planning an attack, telling his roommate he "wanted to start a civil war" and "was going to do something like that and then kill himself." He was infuriated by Trayvon Martin and Freddie Gray protests and told a friend something needed to be done for the sake of "the white race."
Roof displayed a Confederate flag on his license plate, according to Konzny, but that is not unusual in the South.
- "He had that kind of Southern pride."
“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.”
- Why is does the "Confederate" flag still fly on the grounds of the South Carolina capitol, even as the United States and South Carolina flags were lowered to half-mast? Because the South Carolina legislature made it illegal to remove or alter its display without their explicit permission. And yes, South Carolina is one of the few states that do not have a specific law targeting hate crimes.
- Support for that flag isn't confined to South Carolina, with Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker making news after he noted the "tradition" of the flag and opined to an interviewer that states should "make their own call—later in the day a much-pilloried Baker apologized for his remarks.
- South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham continued to make an ass of himself today, rejecting the notion that the shooting was part of any "broader" pattern.
“I just think he was one of these whacked out kids. I don’t think it’s anything broader than that,” Graham said. “It’s about a young man who is obviously twisted.”
As reminder, Graham believed the surviving perpetrator of the Boston Marathon bombing should be designated an "enemy combatant" and interrogated for ties to Muslim terrorism.
- The Reverend Clementa Pinckney, killed in the attack, was a member of the state legislature and and advocate for stricter background checks for gun purchases and body cameras for state law enforcement.
“There are many who said there is no way a police officer would shoot someone in the back six, seven, eight times, but when we were able to see the video, see the gunshots…see him die face-down on the ground…we said, ‘I believe,’ he told his colleagues on the Senate floor. “Now, we as legislators have a great opportunity to allow sunshine into this process. Please give us new eyes for seeing.”
- A partial history of racially motivated attacks on black American churches.