Nine Dead In Shooting At African-American Church In Charleston, South Carolina

Nine people died overnight in a shooting at an historic African-American Church in Charleston, South Carolina.

Charleston Church Shooting

Nine people were killed last night in a shooting at an historic African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina, and the shooter remains at large:

CHARLESTON, S.C. — A white gunman opened fire Wednesday night at a historic black church in this city’s downtown, killing nine people before fleeing and setting off an overnight manhunt, the police said.

At a news conference with Charleston’s mayor early Thursday, the police chief, Greg Mullen, called the shooting a hate crime.

“This is a tragedy that no community should have to experience,” he said. “It is senseless and unfathomable that someone would go into a church where people were having a prayer meeting and take their lives.”

The police said the gunman walked into the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church around 9 p.m. and began shooting.

Eight people died at the scene, Chief Mullen said. Two people were taken to the Medical University of South Carolina, and one of them died on the way.

“Obviously, this is the worst night of my career,” Chief Mullen said. “This is clearly a tragedy in the city of Charleston.”

City officials did not release information about the victims and did not say how many people were in the church during the shooting. Hospital officials declined to comment.

The pastor, the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, 41, and his sister were among those killed, said J. Todd Rutherford, the minority leader of the State House of Representatives.

Mr. Rutherford, who has served in the State Legislature with Mr. Pinckney since 1998, recalled him as a tireless leader with a booming voice and a mission to serve.

“He was called to the ministry when he was 13, ordained at 18, elected to the House at 23 and the Senate at 27,” Mr. Rutherford said. “He was a man driven by public service.”

Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr. said the city was offering a reward for information leading to the arrest of the gunman, whom the police described as a cleanshaven white man about 21 years old with sandy blond hair and wearing a gray sweatshirt, bluejeans and Timberland boots.

“To walk into a church and shoot someone is out of pure hatred,” the mayor said as he walked away after the news conference.

Law enforcement officers from the F.B.I.; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division; and other agencies were assisting. Chief Mullen said the police were tracking the gunman with police dogs.

Around 10:45 p.m., police officers escorted a man in handcuffs who appeared to match the attacker’s description. But officials said later that they were still searching for the gunman.

In the first hours after the shooting, the police blocked reporters and passers-by from approaching the church, opposite a Marriott Courtyard hotel, because of a bomb threat. Many among the news media cluster were political reporters in town to cover campaign events of Hillary Rodham Clinton and Jeb Bush.

Helicopters with searchlights circled overhead, and a group of pastors knelt and prayed across the street.

“The question is, ‘Why God?’ ” a man wearing a shirt bearing the name of the Empowerment Missionary Baptist Church said during the prayer.

Later, a group of church leaders gathered at the corner of Calhoun and King Streets, a few blocks from where the shooting occurred, and held an impromptu news conference. Tory Fields, a member of the Charleston County Ministers Conference, said he believed the attacker had targeted the victims because of their race.

“It’s obvious that it’s race,” he said. “What else could it be? You’ve got a white guy going into an African-American church. That’s choice. He chose to go into that church and harm those people. That’s choice.”

Further details from The Post and Courier in Charleston:

A white gunman killed nine people during a prayer meeting at one of Charleston’s oldest and best-known black churches Wednesday night in one of the worst mass shootings in South Carolina history.

Heavily armed law enforcement officers scoured the area into the morning for the man responsible for the carnage inside Emanuel AME Church at 110 Calhoun St. At least one person was said to have survived the rampage.

Police revealed no motive for the 9 p.m. attack, which was reportedly carried out by a young white man. Charleston Police Chief Greg Mullen said, “I do believe this was a hate crime.”

Mayor Joe Riley called the shooting “a most unspeakable and heartbreaking tragedy.”

“An evil and hateful person took the lives of citizens who had come to worship and pray together,” he said.

Authorities did not identify the dead.

State Sen. Clementa Pinckney is the church’s pastor and was believed to be inside during the shooting. Authorities would not confirm that he was wounded, but church members, friends and political colleagues said he was among the dead.

Riley said city police were being assisted by sheriff’s deputies, the State Law Enforcement Division and the FBI.

Mullen pledged to put all efforts, resources and energy into finding the gunman.

“This is a tragedy that no community should have to experience,” he said. “It is unfathomable that somebody in today’s society would walk into a church when people are having a prayer meeting and take their lives, and I can assure you that we’re going to do everything in our power to find this individual, to lock him up and to make sure he doesn’t hurt anyone else.”

The city will hold a news conference at 7 a.m. Thursday. A group of AME pastors plans to hold a prayer vigil at noon.

The shooting occurred on the eve of the eighth anniversary of another local tragedy, the death of nine Charleston firefighters in the June 18, 2007, Sofa Super Store blaze in West Ashley. A ceremony is planned for later today to honor the fallen firefighters as the city now grapples with another mass loss of life.

Church members at Emanuel AME were gathered for a prayer meeting when gunfire erupted in the 19th century building. A female survivor told family members that the gunman initially sat down in the church for a bit before standing up and opening fire, according to Dot Scott, president of the Charleston NAACP.

The gunman reportedly told the woman he was letting her live so she could tell everyone else what happened, Scott said.

Police spokesman Charles Francis described the suspect as a 21-year-old white man in a gray sweatshirt/hoodie and jeans with Timberland boots. He has a slender build.

Police and emergency vehicles swarmed several blocks surrounding Henrietta and Calhoun streets, just east of Marion Square. Barricades blocked off several streets to traffic, and police asked nearby residents to leave their homes.

Helicopters circled overhead and officers with dogs searched nearby properties.

Though information was scant, the scope of the tragedy quickly became apparent. Dozens of law enforcement officers, several carrying military-style rifles, fanned out across the area as a team of coroners arrived. Several crisis chaplains also rushed to the area.

State Sen. Marlon Kimpson, D-Charleston, said he was praying for Pinckney and for “our Mother Emanuel AME Church,” as it’s affectionately called by many parishioners. It is the South’s oldest black congregation south of Baltimore.

“I ask the nation to keep Charleston in our prayers,” he said.

Gov. Nikki Haley said her family also was praying for those touched by the killings.

“While we do not yet know all of the details, we do know that we’ll never understand what motivates anyone to enter one of our places of worship and take the life of another,” she said. “Please join us in lifting up the victims and their families with our love and prayers.”

U.S. Sen. Tim Scott said it was “absolutely despicable” for such violence to occur in a place where people come together to “laugh, love and rejoice in God’s name.”

“My heart is breaking for Charleston and South Carolina tonight,” he said.

Outside Medical University Hospital, the area trauma center where the wounded were taken, Jon Quil Lance stepped away from the building to smoke a cigarette and think about his grandmother, Ethel Lance, who he’d heard was shot in the church.

“I’m lost, I’m lost,” he said. “Granny was the heart of the family.” He said his grandmother had worked at the church for more than 30 years.

“She’s a Christian, hardworking; I could call my granny for anything. I don’t have anyone else like that.” He said he didn’t know her condition. “I don’t even know if she’s alive now.” He threw his hands up. “I don’t even know if my grandmother is alive.”

He paced up and down Ashley Avenue, and his thoughts gathered momentum. “What was this guy thinking? That dude shot a bunch of elderly people! Now people are going to be afraid to go to church. I don’t know what’s going to come of this. I’ll tell you this, I’m not the only one praying tonight.”

At 12:45 a.m., as word spread about the deaths, Lance fell to the ground and sobbed. “Somebody better get that (expletive).” A friend cradled him at the hospital’s entrance. Officers ushered loved ones inside.

The church where this occurred, the Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church (Also, see this write-up from the National Park Service), is among the oldest in the City of Charleston, among the oldest African-American congregations in the United States, and the oldest A.M.E. Church in the country. It has roots that stretch at least as far back as the 1816, and possibly sooner, and in its current incarnation was founded by a man name Denmark Vesey who was implicated in plotting a slave revolt in Charleston in the 1820s, and was among of a group of African-Americans who were executed in the aftermath of that plot in a procedure that could fairly be described as a kangaroo court. During that controversy, the original building used by the Church was burned to the ground but the congregants continued to meet in other locations until 1834 when African-American churches were made illegal under South Carolina law. After meeting in secret, the church finally became public again in the aftermath of the Civil War, only to see the building they constructed destroyed in and earthquake in 1886, leading to the current building which was built in 1891. Last night’s shooting took place some 193 years after the events of the failed slave uprising that lead to the death of Denmark Vesey.

At this early hour, there are few details related to the shooting other than some items that have been reported by reporters on the scene via Twitter or by local media. The only things that seem to be confirmed at this point is that there were eight people dead inside the church when authorities arrived there, that a ninth died at the hospital, that there are a still unconfirmed number of injured still being treated, and that among the dead are South Carolina State Senator Clementa Pickney, who is also the Pastor of the Church and was just 41 years old. At a late night/early morning press conference near the scene, the Police Chief and Mayor of Charleston both described the crime as a likely hate crime, and given the circumstances of the shooting that certainly seems like a logical assumption to make at this point. Racially motivated attacks against African-American churches in the South has a long, horrible history, most notably perhaps the most famous of those being the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmningham, Alabama less than a month after the March On Washingotn in the summer of 1963. While it’s entirely possible that this shooter, whomever he may be, was motivated by something else or simply mentally ill, the fact that he chose a target like this on a night when there would be a regular Bible study group in attendance, leads one to believe that he had a specific target in mind. Indeed, when a white man shoots up African-Americans inside an African-American Church the odds that there wasn’t at least some racial motivation involved are pretty low. If that’s the case, then this shooting seems likely to revive not only the gun debate just as every other mass shooting has in recent years, but also to put an entirely new spin on the race issues that seem to have reached new prominence over the past year or so.

Early this morning, the police issued a bulletin to the media with captured surveillance video of the suspect they are looking for:

More to come, I’m sure.

Update: The suspect has been identified as Dylann Roof, a 21 year old from Columbia, South Carolina. What appears to be his Facebook Profile picture shows him wearing a jacket displaying the flags of Rhodesia and Apartheid-era South Africa:

Photo via The New York Times

FILED UNDER: Crime, Law and the Courts, Race and Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Liberal Capitalist says:

    Conservatives – Tell me again how we are living in a post-racial society.

    And then explain to me why S.C. still “honors” the stars and bars of the confederacy at their statehouse.

  2. stonetools says:

    Warm thoughts and prayers to the victims and their friends and relatives. More thoughts on this matter later, but blessings to the people involved and to the first responders and caregivers.

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    “It is unfathomable that somebody in today’s society would walk into a church when people are having a prayer meeting and take their lives….”

    Than again, I guess it was fathomable to at least one person.

  4. Mikey says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: People think “it can’t happen here.” But it can. It happens plenty of other places–mosques getting bombed during Friday prayers, for example.

    It SHOULD be unfathomable, it SHOULDN’T happen here, or anywhere else. People should not have to look over their shoulders when entering a house of worship (or any other public place) but humans haven’t yet progressed that far.

  5. C. Clavin says:

    If only those poor churchgoers, who were busy praying, had been strapped….then they could gotten into a fire-fight and killed this guy.

  6. Ron Beasley says:

    Hate crime? This guy was probably a bigot but this is the action was the actions of a totally deranged individual not unlike that guy who is now on trial for shooting up that Colorado movie theater. Once he is identified we may be able to see if he has any history of mental problems although in the deep south seeking help for such things is not common so maybe not. In this day of age he reminds me more of a suicide bomber than your classic KKK member. He will be caught and probably soon and perhaps face a fate worse than death.

  7. gVOR08 says:

    Too sad.

    There are things that need to be said about guns and race in America, and since this is a nominally conservative blog, about the Republican Party’s influence on guns and race. But later.

    Just too sad.

  8. Ron,

    All mass killings are “deranged” in some sense of the word, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t have their own internal logic, and racism would certainly be a plausible internal logic under these circumstances.

  9. Ron Beasley says:

    @Doug Mataconis: I certainly wasn’t saying that race didn’t play a part but there is a lot more to it in this case. My late parents were both what I would call bigots but neither of them them did this sort of thing.

  10. Jack says:

    He’ll be a white kid who is on anti-depressants. His parents are likely hard core liberals and anti-gun, who voted for Obama twice. He is likely an atheist, very anti-Christian, and very Anti-Republican–thus the killing of Sen. Rev. Clementa Pinckney (R).

  11. grumpy realist says:

    Those poor people. R. I.P.

    And after this guy gets caught, we’ll see whether he’s listening to voices inside his head or is a “lone wolf” who has been hopped up on race war rhetoric.

  12. CB says:

    Can we all maybe let the bodies cool down first, before we use this as a football for our own personal entertainment?

    Makes me sick. Those poor people.

  13. Slugger says:

    To the families of the victims: our deepest sympathies; may you be comforted among all who mourn.
    To the larger community: we utterly reject these evil acts. Our hearts are set on reconciliation and peace, and no evildoer can be allowed to sway us from these goals.
    To our peace officers: take care of yourselves but bring this person and anyone who aided him to justice.

  14. CSK says:

    The suspect’s been identified as Dylann Roof, 21, from the Columbia area. He was arrested in March on drug charges and in April on trespassing charges. This is breaking from the Charleston Post and Courier.

    Awful.

  15. aFloridian says:

    @Jack:

    He’ll be a white kid who is on anti-depressants. His parents are likely hard core liberals and anti-gun, who voted for Obama twice. He is likely an atheist, very anti-Christian, and very Anti-Republican–thus the killing of Sen. Rev. Clementa Pinckney (R).

    Chances are not high for this. I bet this kid is from the South, and unless his parents are uber-wealthy college grads, it’s unlikely they’d be what you say.

    This was a distressing situation to wake up to. I hate reading about these mass shootings first thing upon waking up. If James Joyner wants he should go to the Blaze and look at how some people there rationalize or excuse this, or, better yet, blame Obama.

    As a white Southerner, I am deeply distressed by this atrocity, especially if conducted by a fellow white Southerner. The last couple of years have been terrible for race relations, but maybe the darkest hour is just before the dawn, in that we are finally facing the kinds of racism that are still thriving in the 21st century.

    A terrible loss of life. The perpetrator is likely both evil and mentally ill.

  16. Neil Hudelson says:

    If this shooter targeted this church specifically because it was a church, and because it had a black congregation–and considering the location, one can fairly confidently infer just that–is this not domestic terrorism?

    Would this not be an attempt to instill terror into a population in order to control their actions/thoughts/beliefs?

  17. Neil Hudelson says:

    @Jack:

    You’ve clearly never lived in Charleston.

  18. CSK says:

    Dylann Storm Roof received a gun for his 21st birthday in April. In the photo of him that’s been released he’s wearing a jacket with the South African and Rhodesian flags.

  19. Surreal American says:

    @CSK:

    Nope, no racism here.

  20. ElizaJane says:

    Confirmed — the kid was a white supremacist. In the pictures of him he is wearing patches with the apartheid-era South African flag and the flag of Rhodesia.

    To aFloridian above, you don’t even need to go to The Blaze to read crap about this event. At every website, even the Washington Post, there are commenters saying that Obama stirred up race tensions in this country and this is the result. Everything was happy sunshine before him! Back then, black people knew their place.

    Makes me so upset.

  21. CSK says:

    This little monster was out on bond from his two arrests.

    He gets arrested in March on a drug charge, and he’s given a gun for his birthday present the following month, when he gets arrested yet again for trespassing.

    Words fail me.

  22. al-Ameda says:

    @Jack:

    He’ll be a white kid who is on anti-depressants. His parents are likely hard core liberals and anti-gun, who voted for Obama twice. He is likely an atheist, very anti-Christian, and very Anti-Republican–thus the killing of Sen. Rev. Clementa Pinckney (R).

    .. and in the real world …
    @ElizaJane:

    Confirmed — the kid was a white supremacist. In the pictures of him he is wearing patches with the apartheid-era South African flag and the flag of Rhodesia.

    Well, thank god we live in a post-racial society, where the only racism is “reverse racism.” I’m sure that Dylann Roof (the murderer) was a victim “reverse racism.”

  23. stonetools says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    Indeed, it is an example of the most American of terrorisms – carried out against black people in the service of a white supremicist ideology by a gun-wielding white man. Unlike some people, I do not find this unfathomable at all-and neither would almost any African American.
    Take a state founded as a slave society modelled on the Caribbean slave colonies, a state that rebelled against the Federal government precisely in order to maintain and spread that type of society. Over lay that with a century of Jim Crow-the legal system specifically designed to preserve as much of that society as possible.Mix it the fact that the South Carolina political system continues to fiecely resist federal attempts to dismantle their caste system. Add to that Republican propoganda that often frames resistance to these federal attempts in alarmist fashion.Sprinkle on top the easy availability of firearms without back ground checks, which means that crazies and drug users can legally acquire guns at a moment’s notice.
    What you have is a recipe for these kind of racially motivated mass killings. To be honest, it’s somewhat surprising ( and a ground for hope) that there aren’t more of them.

  24. michael reynolds says:

    @Jack:

    On top of everything else you got wrong, the Reverend Senator was a Democrat, not a Republican.

    I’ll take my guess since you favored us with yours: he was you Jack, a guy just like you, an angry, gun-obsessed, racist loser.

  25. Ron Beasley says:

    Will anyone in the media or the Republican party be able to describe this guy as what he is – a terrorist. Don’t hold your breath.

  26. Modulo Myself says:

    @Ron Beasley:

    Fox will probably say he’s against Christians.

  27. cian says:

    God help them. Glen Beck is coming (this from The Blaze):

    “I am going to Charleston SC tomorrow. I don’t have the details yet. But I want you to join me.

    Let us no longer hide our light under bushels. Let us be lamp stands!!!!!

    Let’s gather tomorrow and show this community that they are loved.

    Something great begins in Charleston. It began last night after a few moments of evil, GOoD rushed in.”

    Jesus, a lamp stand seeking the limelight. Sickening.

  28. Modulo Myself says:

    What is the nature of the anger that makes one target a church full of people who have done nothing to you? Nothing at all. They weren’t drawing cartoons or insulting his gods. Their country had not bombed his village and killed his parents. And yet somehow, if the accounts are right and this guy is the killer, he managed to feel threatened by them.

    I’m guessing most of the angry white men with guns aren’t going to do this. 99.99999% will not go on shooting sprees. But they sound exactly like Dylann Root. Exactly like him. And they are not troubled by it one bit.

  29. Gustopher says:

    Genuinely insane, or just a hate filled freak on bail for drug charges, he really shouldn’t have had such easy access to guns.

    The tea party infused gun aficionados like to brandish their weapons and proclaim that the tree of liberty must be periodically watered with the blood of tyrants, but the sad truth is that it is really being watered with the blood of victims of these shootings and the only liberty being preserved is easy access to guns.

    We have roughly the same number of gun deaths and automobile deaths in this country. Cars give us independence, convenience and increased mobility — they are probably worth it. I’m not sure what we get that justifies all those gun deaths.

  30. CSK says:

    Breaking reports are that Roof has been arrested in Columbia, SC, by the Columbia police.

  31. PJ says:

    @Modulo Myself:

    Fox will probably say he’s against Christians.

    Didn’t take long….

    Presidential candidate and former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) on Thursday called the attack by a white gunman on a historic black church in Charleston, S.C. part of a broader assault on “religious liberty” in America.

  32. Jack says:

    @Gustopher:

    he really shouldn’t have had such easy access to guns

    He was legally forbidden from owning or even touching a gun or ammunition.

  33. Davebo says:

    @Jack:

    As usual Jack, you are wrong.

    He had no criminal convictions and was on bond awaiting adjudication for his drug and burglary arrests.

    Where does that put you now? 0 for 20,000 or so?

  34. stonetools says:

    @Ron Beasley:

    Terrorists are those crazy, bomb wielding brown people from somewhere in the Middle East. Crazy, gun-wielding white people are termed “lone wolves”and “misguided” people who “occasionally” get hold of guns.We will soon be hearing humanizing stories about his comic book collections and admonitions not to “politicize this tragedy” by calling for “restrictive laws that will only punish law abiding Americans”. Which of course this guy was till a few months ago.

  35. JKB says:

    About half his Facebook “friends” are African-American so obviously, the whole motive thing is going to take a bit to sort out.

  36. Tillman says:

    @JKB: Nah, we’re still good. That’s a square in White Terrorist Bingo, one of the more depressing games.

    @Jack: Dude, I get the whole instinct to stand as a bulwark against liberal groupthink, I really do, but honestly you are horrible at it. Take a break.

  37. Jack says:

    @Davebo: Those barred from possessing handguns under South Carolina law include anyone convicted of a crime of violence, fugitives from justice, anyone who is a member of a “subversive organization,” anyone who has been declared mentally incompetent and anyone who is a habitual drunkard or drug user.

    Following is a list of places in South Carolina where gun possession is off limits, with or without a permit to carry:
    •Law enforcement facilities
    •Detention facilities
    •Courthouses
    •Election polling places
    •Government offices
    •School and college athletic events
    •Day care facilities
    •Health care facilities
    •Churches
    •Any privately-owned establishments prohibiting firearms

    Even a drug arrest, i.e. possession of drugs establishes one as a drug user.

  38. Tony W says:

    All I see is weakness. Cheap racial categorization. Idiots with guns playing into southern stereotypes. Segregated black churches where folks get together and try to feel some strength. Jackassery coming from @Jack and Santorum and the rest of those who would politicize, rather than build.

    I hear all this talk about America being a strong nation, but in my observations such strength is very rare here. To a large degree our president has it, and the weak hate him for it – caring more about tearing him down than caring for their fellow nationals. The bigots hate Mr. Obama enough to shoot up a building full of innocents.

  39. Jack says:

    @Tillman:

    Dude, I get the whole instinct to stand as a bulwark against liberal groupthink, I really do, but honestly you are horrible at it. Take a break.

    Thanks for voicing your unsolicited opinion…again.

  40. stonetools says:

    @PJ: Over at No More Mr. Nice Blog, the writer has already gathered evidence as to what right wing response will be to this:

    But I’m looking at the comments in the Fox Nation thread, and it’s clear that the folks in the Fox audience know exactly how to square this story with what they think they know — they’ve absorbed years of propaganda from Fox and other right-wing media outlets, and they’ve learned how to fit everything into the same old templates (and a couple of new ones). Expect to see these memes reinforced by Fox on-air talent in the next few days:

    Prayer’s to all.Now SC you better watch out AL show me the money lying fraud Sharpton ,is headed your way.

    ****

    Strange no mention of the 16 year old shot last night in SE Washington DC, hum I wonder why?

    ****

    Are we sure they were black, or did they just check the box?

    ****

    they “identified” as being black

    ****

    Obama and his criminals should be happy this morning–this is what a divide America along racial, religious and economic lines create.

    This is depressingly more of such stuff there. It makes it clear to me that there is exactly zero possibility that anything good will come of this. The right wing propaganda machine has created a nation of zombies programmed to believe that black is white, up is down, and that anything bad is Obama’s fault somehow. At this point they can’t be convinced of anything different-we can only wait till they die off and try again with the next generation.

  41. Davebo says:

    @Jack:

    Ah, moving the goal posts to the parking lot now eh Jack? You went from “He was legally forbidden from owning or even touching a gun ” to “well he shouldn’t have carried it into church!”

    Better trolls please…

  42. CSK says:

    @CSK:

    The most recent reports corrects the preceding one: Roof was arrested in Shelby, North Carolina, in a traffic stop.

    Shelby’s about three hours from Charleston.

  43. wr says:

    @Jack: “Thanks for voicing your unsolicited opinion…again.”

    All opinions here are unsolicited. The difference is that his are generally welcome, because he has something to say, while your comments are inane, loathesome drivel from a mouth-breathing racist idiot who learns everything he knows from right-wing idiot sites.

    Is your entire purpose in life to make sure that no one will miss you when you go?

  44. grumpy realist says:

    @Modulo Myself: He’s an obvious loser who chose to imbibe mental poison and then act out on it.

    He wants to claim that he’s proud of being white because he has nothing else to base his ego on. And if you want to be “proud of being white”, that means you have to act out against the enemy–you know, THEM.

    Again, those poor people. Human beings, getting shot down because a immature punk couldn’t think of any other way to bolster his ego.

  45. Paul L. says:

    Calls for civilly return until Pam Geller or a anti gay marriage group is attacked.

    Dear GOP: South Carolina Blood Is On Your Hands

  46. Jack says:

    @Davebo: Did you miss this part?

    Even a drug arrest, i.e. possession of drugs establishes one as a drug user.

    Which means he was not allowed to own a gun according to SC law.

  47. Jack says:

    @wr:

    Is your entire purpose in life to make sure that no one will miss you when you go?

    Yeah. From you this actually made me laugh.

  48. michael reynolds says:

    @Jack:

    I love the part where the creepy racist gun-cultists like you try to fling poo on everyone but themselves, I really do.

  49. Jack says:

    Meanwhile…

    “Brandon Friedman, the former deputy assistant secretary of public affairs at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, posted a tweet shortly after the Wednesday night shooting linking it to South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley’s defense of flying the Confederate flag outside of the South Carolina statehouse.”

    Democrats dancing on graves…never let a crisis go to waste.

  50. Jack says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I love the part where the creepy racist gun-cultists like you try to fling poo on everyone but themselves, I really do.

    Say the self absorbed elitists libtard.

  51. Jack says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I love the part where the creepy racist gun-cultists like you try to fling poo on everyone but themselves, I really do.

    Says the self absorbed elitist libtard.

  52. Franklin says:

    I’d be embarrassed to come back after making such an overconfident but completely wrong prediction, but that’s just me.

  53. JohnMcC says:

    See what happens when you feed them?

  54. CB says:

    @Franklin:

    For that, you need some humility and a sense of shame, libtard.

  55. Lit3Bolt says:

    When oh when will the white community take responsibility for its 400 year history of racism, slavery, theft, and terrorism? Why are the white community leaders and the white fathers in South Carolina not speaking out against this white terrorist? And why is the white traitor flag still flying at full mast in Columbia?

    Send this racist terrorist to Guantanamo. He might have valuable intelligence on white supremacists, NRA members, and racist sympathizers in South Carolina. It’s vital that we torture him as soon as possible to get the names of every racist/Confederate radical that he knows.

  56. Ron Beasley says:

    This is a really disturbed drug taking kid who’s really stupid father bought him a hand gun for his birthday.

  57. al-Ameda says:

    @Jack:

    Says the self absorbed elitist libtard

    “libtard”?
    As Kierkegaard once said, as translated from the original Danish: “f*** that bulls***”

  58. CSK says:

    @Ron Beasley:

    Yes–after the kid had been arrested on a drug charge.

    A handgun. An easily concealed handgun. A forty-five.

  59. grumpy realist says:

    “He used drugs heavily a lot,” Mullins said. “It obviously harder than marijuana. He was like a pill popper, from what I understood. Like Xanax, and stuff like that.”[quoted on Gawker]

    Now I’m really confused. How in the hell can anyone get hepped up on Xanax? When they put me on it I invariably fell asleep face down on the desk.

  60. Rafer Janders says:

    @Jack:

    Which means he was not allowed to own a gun according to SC law.

    Add criminal law to the list of many, many things you are far too stupid to understand. Absent a conviction, a mere one-time arrest for drug possession can not, in itself, establish someone as a habitual drug user.

  61. Davebo says:

    @Jack:

    “Even a drug arrest, i.e. possession of drugs establishes one as a drug user.”

    The problem Jack is that this, like most of what you say, is total BS.

  62. Tillman says:

    @Jack: I’m sure there’s no possible connection between South Carolina’s valorization of the Confederate battle flag, once raised over armies assembled to defend a state’s right to own human beings as property, to a shooting at a church erected by a black man* who was accused of fomenting a slave rebellion (and then lynched), that killed nine black people, and was committed by a white man who had expressed publicly sympathies with the white supremacism that girded the whole enterprise of the Confederacy through brandishings of iconography identifying with Rhodesia (or Zimbabwe, as it’s now called since being returned to native rule) and South Africa (famous for a particular kind of regime that starts with A, notorious for its design and goals).

    I mean, I get it, it takes a terribly long run-on sentence to summarize, and anything beyond a soundbite can’t get through some skulls into the squishy, thinky matter underneath. Unless you think Dylann Roof was an Afrikaner?

    Seriously dude, take a break.

    * Current incarnation was built by his sons. It was burnt down after the lynching, you see.

  63. stonetools says:

    @Lit3Bolt:

    Speaking of terrorism, I wonder how long it will be before jihadists realize that although explosives are tightly controlled in the US, any terrorist or group of terrorists without a criminal record ( and therefore law abiding) can acquire a virtually unlimited number of those weapons of mass destruction called guns in the course of an afternoon of cruising around the gun shops of northern Virginia.They can buy all the ammunition and body armor they need off the Internet.
    Once that’s done, and after some practice sessions, they can launch a suicide shooting attack anywhere-a metro station in DC, a shopping mall, a church-and kill a couple of hundred people before the authorities get them ( Such attacks have happened elsewhere in the world).

    Even then, I expect Jack and the NRA to defend the current nonsensical US gun laws.

  64. stonetools says:

    Apparently they’ve captured the suspect, so that’s progress. (In the “olden days” of a few decades ago, he wouldn’t have even been arrested).

    I note that a possibly armed white kid suspected of killing nine people gets taken into custody: an unarmed black male guilty of jay walking, or waving a toy gun in Walmart, or playing with a toy gun , or suspected of selling illegal cigarettes gets killed by the police.

    Oh well, like I said, progress.But still a ways to go.

  65. Paul L. says:

    @stonetools:
    How do you explain the capture of killers in these cases that the national media did not cover and I’ll bet you never heard of?
    Wichita Massacre
    Murders of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom

    Amanda Marcotte calls for civility.

  66. Mu says:

    The odd part is, he only made about 250 miles in the 12 h after the shooting, before he was identified. Did he go home for a nap first? Doesn’t sound like he planed this out well if he really didn’t want to be caught. But then, McVeigh thought a get-away car without a license plate would work.

  67. grumpy realist says:

    @Mu: Dude, he’s 21. That’s the definition of “act first, think later.”

  68. stonetools says:

    Heh, here’s some good snark, from LGM:

    I’m waiting for the media to blame it on bad white parenting, or “white fathers need to take more responsibility.”

    And of course kids like that need to pull their pants up and stop listening to that music I don’t like.

    Sometimes you have to laugh to keep from crying.

  69. Mu says:

    @grumpy realist: That’s what I don’t get. He sat in the church for an hour before shooting. That doesn’t sound like an impulse thing. But if it wasn’t planed then especially you’d think he’d floor it any direction he can get away.

  70. Scott says:

    I think the ruling is wrong.

    If license plates are considered “Government speech”, then the Government needs to get out of the business of issuing license plates. There is just too much mischief to allow the Government to pick and choose here. License plates are for identification and are the property of the state.

    If the ruling was just the opposite, then it would allow anyone to say anything they wanted. Which is almost as bad.

    If people want to speak or display their vanity, then use a bumper sticker, paint your vehicle, or some other means of communication. The purpose, anyway, is just to make money.

  71. MikeSJ says:

    I’m curious about his mental health status. Was he on meds? Did he have any history of mental illness? Any history of treatment?

    Looking at him I get a distinct Adam Lanza vibe. Could be wrong of course but we’ll see.

    His family history, more specifically what his family was doing about him playing at White Supremacy other than giving him a .45 will be eye opening.

  72. SC_Birdflyte says:

    @Neil Hudelson: While no one would take South Carolina for a model of enlightened race relations, the expressions of sadness and horror have come from across the political spectrum. In any case, the homicidal Mr. Roof wasn’t from Charleston, but from Lexington, over 100 miles away. Here in Aiken, everyone I talk to is aghast.

  73. SC_Birdflyte says:

    @Jack: That’s a law that is honored more in the non-enforcement than in any measure of legal rigor.

  74. michael reynolds says:

    @SC_Birdflyte:

    Aghast, but not so aghast they’d want to do something like make it harder for psychopaths to get guns. Not so aghast they’d stop flying the flag of treason over the capital. Not so aghast that six weeks from now most of them won’t be denying that we have a race problem in this country.

    It’s all tut-tut followed by another round of NRA bribes sliding into the pocket of gutless politicians.

  75. grumpy realist says:

    @Jack: An arrest is different from a conviction.

    Or do you want to be like the Red Queen in Alice: “No No! Sentence first, then trial afterwards!”

  76. Onward Christian Soldiers says:

    This is why it is irresponsible not to leave your home without a gun.

    If only one parishioner had been carrying a concealed handgun many lives could have been saved.

    The answer to tragedies like this is for MORE people to arm themselves. Suffice it to say, this would not have happened at my Church —- I would have personally stopped it.

    Tragedies like this would not occur if more people were responsible enough to arm themselves.

  77. michael reynolds says:
  78. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Onward Christian Soldiers:

    So, in essence, your argument is:

    “we need more guns, because they have more guns, but if we get more guns, they’ll get more guns too, so we’ll need even more guns”

    Seems like self-perpetuating paranoia …

  79. Mikey says:

    @michael reynolds: @HarvardLaw92: Why are you guys feeding James P’s sockpuppet? You know if you feed a stray they keep coming back!

  80. Dave D says:

    @michael reynolds: I initially read his comment as a Poe and kinda laughed especially his assertion that he personally would have stopped it.

  81. Liberal Capitalist says:

    Huh. No surprise there…

    Every S.C. Statehouse Flag Is at Half Staff–Except the Confederate One

    tl:dr – To ensure that the confederate flag keeps flying, they would require a law passed to lower (or remove) it. There is no pulley to raise or lower it. It’s part of the politics to keep the confederate flag flying.

    People there keep electing officials that ensure that it stays up. No matter what.

    Yep. Post-racial. definitely.

  82. Mikey says:

    @Liberal Capitalist: Someone ought to bring in a bulldozer and knock that symbol of racist rebellion clean the f–k over.

  83. humanoid.panda says:

    @stonetools:

    Even then, I expect Jack and the NRA to defend the current nonsensical US gun laws.

    And they already have answer at the ready: the only answer to terrorists employing squad level tactics to hit civilian targets is civillians employing squad level tactics to defend them.

  84. tragic leftist group think says:

    grumpy realist says:
    Thursday, June 18, 2015 at 15:51

    @Jack: An arrest is different from a conviction.

    Well here in my state…if you are arrested and released.. until you are convicted or vindicated in court for the arrest… you are required to relinquish your guns over to the police.

    So more then likely if this POS was arrested and had a ongoing court process he was not allowed to posses a firearm.

  85. C. Clavin says:

    @Onward Christian Soldiers:
    See…when I typed that…I was ridiculing fools like you. Fool.
    @C. Clavin:

  86. Matt says:

    @MikeSJ: He was on xanax and was known to be a pill popper.

    Xanax can cause some seriously unhealthy side effects such as rage and suicidal thoughts even when dosed properly.

    I’ve taken xanax before and all it did for me was make me tired and grumpy as a result of being tired. I didn’t care for it at all.

  87. stonetools says:

    @Dave D:

    The sad part about it is that the gun cretins actually believe that stuff, based on the (to their mind) accurate portrayals of Clint Eastwood and John Wayne blasting away perpetrators in the movies. Sadly gun nuts can’t tell the difference between fantasy and reality.

    Meanwhile Charles Cotton, NRA executive, said:

    “And he (the church pastor who is a South Carolina legislator) voted against concealed carry.Eight of his church members who might be alive if he had expressly allowed his church members to carry guns are dead”.

    If there is a hell, Cotton has certainly earned his place there.

    I am so sick of this stuff. This rarely, if ever happens, in civilized countries , but somehow, it happens here every other month. The NRA and its enablers has blood on their hands. I’m sorry to say it, but it’s true.

  88. stonetools says:

    @Tillman:

    Nah, we’re still good. That’s a square in White Terrorist Bingo, one of the more depressing games.

    His lawyer has already said he was a “nice, normal kid” . All I need now is “loves pizza” and “had a dog”

  89. de stijl says:

    Moloch was hungry. Moloch wanted to be fed.

    We are a nominally Christian nation, but we worship the Old Gods too. Blood sacrifice is required.

    I would weep, but I’m too sad and tired right now to conjure the tears.

    We are damned.

  90. grumpy realist says:

    @Onward Christian Soldiers: So, in accordance with your theory, the safest countries in the world should be those where everyone goes around armed? Like Iraq and Somalia?

    Check, please….

  91. anjin-san says:

    @MikeSJ:

    Looking at him I get a distinct Adam Lanza vibe

    .
    I don’t get that at all. He has dead fish, mean eyes – not crazy eyes.

  92. C. Clavin says:

    I’m looking for the comment where Jack admits he was completely f’ing wrong.

  93. C. Clavin says:

    So the gun lobby is saying that they have managed to make guns so accessible to any and all nut bags…that now church-goers must pack heat to be safe in church.

  94. Mikey says: