Why, O Why? Nine People Killed by Gunman at Charleston AME Church [update II]

emanuel ame church in charleson

From the Guardian:

“At least nine people have been killed after a gunman opened fire at a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina, in what police have described as a “hate crime”.

Police released a image of the gunman and a car from video at a press conference on Thursday. The suspect, who is still on the loose, has been described as a clean-shaved, white male aged approximately 21, with a small, slender build, wearing a grey sweatshirt with jeans and boots.

Gunfire erupted on Wednesday inside the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal church, whose pastor Clementa Pinckney, a Democratic member of the South Carolina Senate, was named as one of the dead.

Eight of the victims were killed in the church. Another died on the way to hospital. Charleston police chief Greg Mullen said there were survivors, but declined to give more details.

The gunman had yet to be caught hours after the attack and was considered extremely dangerous, he said.

Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, Charleston.  Alamy

Mullen said he believed the shooting was “a hate crime”. He said: This is a tragedy that no community should have to experience … It is senseless, unfathomable. We are going to do everything in our power to find this individual, to lock him [the gunman] up, to make sure he does not hurt anyone else.  [snip]

Police have not named the victims but the Democratic party leader in the South Carolina state house confirmed pastor and state senator Pinckney was among the dead. “He was always out doing work either for his parishioners or his constituents. He touched everybody,” minority leader Todd Rutherford told AP.

Pinckney helped lead a prayer vigil in April for Walter Scott, a black South Carolina man who was shot dead by a North Charleston police officer. He campaigned for police to be equipped with body cameras, which he said “may not be the golden ticket, the golden egg, the end-all-fix-all, but [would help] to paint a picture of what happens during a police stop”. Mandatory body cameras became law in the state one week ago.

The Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal church traces its roots to 1816 and is one of the largest black congregations south of Baltimore. The Reverend Martin Luther King Jr addressed the church in 1962.”

Live Updates:

  Eight people were dead when police arrived on the scene, following an emergency call on Wednesday evening just after 9pm local time. A ninth person died later in hospital.

  Three people survived the attack, police said. There are unconfirmed reports that the suspect allowed one of the survivors to leave the church so she could report what happened. The police are continuing to interview survivors.

“Rev John Paul Brown, who will be leading prayers for the victims in Charleston, has urged the community against any retaliation for the attack. Speaking to WBTV he said: “At this point there is so much healing that is needed.” He said if the community chose to fight violence with violence it would lose. “As a faith community we would kill everything that we stand for [if we resorted to violence].”

He then added this cryptic appeal” “Somebody knows something and we are depending that those people who know something think about the humanity about what should be done. And I believe it’s going to be a quick resolve.”

No, don’t give up, don’t give in.  No words can describe the pain you all must feel, but hold together….somehow.  Find strength in your community, not in those politicians who will exploit your grief for their own ends.   It will be impossible for you not to remember the bombing of the 1963 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham this week; nor should any of us.

The nine dear souls murdered:

ame church murdered

Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, 45, an assistant pastor at the church who also worked as an athletics coach and speech specialist at a nearby school.

Tywanza Sanders, 26, who was a 2014 graduate of Allen University in the state capital, Columbia, where he got a degree in business administration.

According to his Facebook page, Sanders was originally from Charleston but was living in Columbia. An aspiring rapper who went by the name Fresh Wanza, according to the entertainment site Heavy.com, his songs included the titles Whats Wrong With Just Being Black and Making It. A friend told the site that Sanders was working as a barber at the time of his death.

He died while protecting his auntie, 87-year-old Susie Jackson, putting himself between her and the murderer’s bullet.  Both died.  He wrote extensively on racial discrimination, and his last post on the social media site was a quote by African-American baseball player Jackie Robinson, saying: “A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives”.  Yes, he walked the walk magnificently.

Ethel Lee Lance, 70, was a sexton at the church and worked in Charleston for 30 years.  Upon hearing of her murder, her grandson Jon Quil Lance said, “I’m lost, I’m lost; Granny was the heart of the family.”

Susie Jackson, 87, was a longtime Emanuel AME Church member and a cousin of Ethel Lee’s.

Cynthia Hurd, 54, was a regional branch manager from the Charleston County Public Library system, “a tireless servant of the community who spent her life helping residents, making sure they had every opportunity for an education and personal growth.”

Daniel L. Simmons Sr. was a retired pastor from another church in Charleston. His daughter-in-law, Arcelia Simmons of Newport News, Va., told ABC News that Simmons attended Emanuel AME Church every Sunday for services and Wednesdays for Bible study. He is listed on the church’s website as a member of the ministerial staff.

DePayne Middleton Doctor, 49, was an enrollment counselor at Southern Wesleyan University’s Charleston campus, a friend told The Associated Press. She joined the church at the beginning of the year and soon began teaching Wednesday evening Bible class. On her LinkedIn page, she listed herself as a “management professional.” A mother of four daughters, she was a minister who sang in the church choir, the Post and Courier reported.

The Reverend Clementa Pinckney, 41 was the pastor of Emanuel AME church and a state senator a fellow senator called the “moral conscience of the General Assembly.”

Myra Thompson, 59, was a former school teacher & Bible study teacher. Thompson was leading the prayer service when shots rang out.

May you find peace as you continue you next journeys, and may your families and friends eventually find some measure of comfort, and use your senseless murders to help ensure such killings….stop.

All I’ve been able to find about the three survivors, although I’ve lost the link:

“The woman who survived, whose name has not been publicly released, had blood on her dress when she was speaking to Johnson on Wednesday night. Both the survivor and her granddaughter reportedly evaded the gunman by pretending they were dead.

The survivor’s son, who was in his 20s, was also at the Bible study but he was fatally shot after he tried to check on Pinckney and directly engaged the shooter.  (So she must be Tywanza Sanders’ mother.)

The survivor, who is elderly, who spoke with Johnson and her 5-year-old granddaughter are two of the three people who survived the shooting. According to Johnson, when the gunman saw the elderly woman was alive, he asked her, “Did I shoot you?”

When the elderly woman said “No,” the gunman said, “Good, because I need someone to survive,” and said he was going to shoot himself, the survivor told Johnson. “And you’ll be the only survivor.”

59 responses to “Why, O Why? Nine People Killed by Gunman at Charleston AME Church [update II]

  1. People aren’t born primed to hate.

    Well, the symbols of hate and division are still a large at the Capitol building:


    @CityCharleston @ABCNews4 will they fly the confederate flag at the state capital at half mast? better arrest shooter & burn that damn flag

  2. And now in Memphis, too:


    No one hurt or killed apparently, but shots fired at a choir practice…


    • holy hell; yeah, i’d be pretty edgy about now if i were black. someone speculated on the thread about it possibly being the same shooter.

      cold, cold comfort: no children were murdered this time; i’ve been reading again about the 16th street church bombing, thinking of angela davis: “and you ask ME about violence?”

      adsed on edit: it seems that a grandmama in the church had her five-year-old grandson play dead, and he’s alive. whooosh; some grammy.

  3. why, yes: it was not a hate crime or domestic terrorism: it was an attack on *faith*


  4. Just about sums it up:

    If police can capture the #CharlestonShooting terrorist without killing him, there's no excuse for them killing people at all.— Samuel Sinyangwe (@samswey) June 18, 2015

    • the po-po would likely just say the terrorist dude hadn’t reached for his waistband.

      chris cuomo had asked if ‘we’ knew he was really white; he couldda been using whiteface makeup.

      small wonder the black twittersphere and allies see white supremacy so clearly.

      oh, screw it; i was hoping to list the names of those murdered, but the account is totally ‘what obama said’ and videos of him pontificating. i’ll look later.

    • Good point indeed. If the colors of the killer and his victim were reversed, he would have been bombarded with a hail of bullets before he was able to get out of the car.

  5. I sensed something was up, something was gonna happen this summer, and here we are. The Twitterverse has been full of reports that this dude had been planning the murders for six months or more, that he wanted to start a civil war, that he was always telling racist jokes, yadda yadda, and yet of course the media is doing its best to make him out to be just misunderstood. Poor baby.

    There have been a number of reports of threats and/or violence at black churches, reports of KKK recruitment in Shelby, NC, where dude was (apparently) apprehended, and there’s a running commentary (among all the other comments cropping up) that he was given permission to do this horrible deed by the constant rat-a-tat-tat of police killings of black people, one after another, nearly every single day, with almost no consequence to the killer-cops. What little consequence there’s been has been ineffective in stopping killings by police.

    So some violent cracker (yes, I’m slurring the Poor Baby) decides to get in on the action. Hey, why not? What is he said to have said? “I have to do this. You rape our women and you’re taking over our country. You have to go…” He has to do this…? Raping our women????

    As I read the stories of those he killed, I teared up. The killing has to stop. The police have to stop killing. And people like this killer have to stop being granted permission to kill.

    Amnesty has issued a damning denunciation of US police and their lack of respect for human life:


    And people dare to wonder why some amped up white guy would shoot up a black church? Particularly this black church, on the anniversary of the planned1822 slave uprising its founder set in motion?

    They dare to wonder?


    • allow me time to not know all of this; jayzus, it’s just all too much to bear in one fell evil swoop. i’ll try to come back a bit later, okay?

      i wish i could go out to look at the stars…

    • i can’t think the mass murderer would have known of that date and the event, but who can say?

      yes, you intuited the summer would bring more devastation of blacks, and you may be just right in thinking that he was more juiced up in seeing how few consequences were given to killer kops. but the reason i brought the one graphic noting how the US loves its soldier shooters is part of the larger equation to me. likely he had cast himself in the ‘soldier for existing race wars’ among his…er…allies, much in the way ‘soldiers for Xianists’ murder abortion providers so cavalierly.

      part of the reason (and only part, mind you) that i could give a fig what pretty words obama’s speech writers wrote for him is that: his evil and cavalier killing of brown people around the globe permeates the society’s love of, and admiration for…termination with extreme prejudice. and ‘bug splat’ (writ large) is just something that’s rather unfortunate.

      have other media picked up the guardian/hrw piece? it’s quite damning, and showed laws in states i had known about, esp. in regard to lethal force allowed. ‘evading law enforcement’ or ‘resisting arrest’ are other state laws that need to be amended. come to think of it, so are ;police privacy rights’, pffft.

      re: ‘cracker’. someone reminded the twittersphere of chris rock’s bit: i ain’t afraid of al qaeda; it’s *al-cracka* that terrifies me!”

      oy, i did go in search of brief bios and stories of those murdered, and added them to the OP. yes, heart-rending, sob-producing in many cases…

      and along the way, i did see that cracker had indeed been planning for months to create a race war, and that he’d cursed those in the church for ‘raping our women’. when i read your comment, all i could see was emmet till’s having been lynched for the mississippi equivalent, when a whistle was..a rape of a white woman. sorry i couldn’t handle it all yesterday.

    • He’s been planning this for months and apparently received a hand gun, presumably the murder weapon, as a birthday gift from his father? When was his birthday? Did the father also attach a note that it was to help him fulfill his dream?

      • this comment might also be for ché, but my goodness: pop gave him the gun for his birthday? i haven’t been able to stand looking into his history, but has anything come out about his pop and mom? talk about ‘guns and roses’, though.

        but i did see some indication that obama is stymied that ‘even this’ hasn’t spurred a gun control debate’, and noted that we are suuuuuch a violent nation (look in the mirror, dude).

        i just the twitter account for #hoods off, nothing there, although i don’t get how to use their ‘paste it’ links.

        there does seem to be some indication that some of the brass in ‘operation jade helm’ are klan, at least in some states.

        • “but has anything come out about his pop and mom”
          That’s what I’m wondered. His racial hatred was nurtured somewhere. His birthday, it turns out, was in April. Pop had to have known what the gun was for. Because he had been planning it for months.

          “Because of his criminal record, Roof would not have been able to buy a gun from a store. Federally licensed gun dealers are required to run background checks on gun purchasers, and Roof’s pending charges should have turned up as a red flag.

          But Roof didn’t need to go to a dealership. According to his uncle, Roof received a .45-caliber pistol from his father in April for his birthday, Reuters reports.”

          • oh, fook me, his visage makes me want to grab a bouquet of garlic…

            i was about to say: loophole? but yes: the loophole is that a private transaction between a felon and a not…is just fine. but how many handguns do they reckon are already in USian houses? some staggering number of millions. no, fewer ‘violent people’ is the only answer, and less reverence for gun power and shooters. but more and more states are allowing guns in churches and bars, how’s that going?
            colorado, for example.

  6. Why O Why? The Rev. Sen. Pinckney, a state senator, succeeded last month in getting the conservative South Carolina legislature to pass a bill mandating body cameras for all law enforcement in South Carolina, and got Gov. Haley to sign it.

    I’m curious to know who in Dylann Storm Roof’s personal network is in law enforcement. Body cams strike at a key aspect of the institutional racism in the state, not necessarily effectively as the Rev. Sen. Pinckney himself said when he proposed his bill, but a first step.

    Seems like that first step is a bridge too far for someone.

    • yes, even the guardian piece had featured rev. pinkney’s success with the boy-cam mandate law, and it’s good to hear that he knew it was only…a step.

      zounds, it sounds like a job for op-hoods off to poke into his friends in law enforcement, but i’l; bet you’re right that he may have had kop mentors. but that would mean pinkney was *the* target, and i dunno if that was o, of course. we may hear more about it, though. but he sure seems to have admitted that his aim was to start a race war, so maybe his ‘friends’ knew of the date being close to the 1882 slave revolt and…the citadel.

      added on edit: i’d meant to mention that even when grand juries see video of clear assassinations by police, they often no-bill them, or prosecutors stall for seven months…while they ‘investigate further’.
      but i went back to fetch info that the NYCLU has been trying to convince a three-judge panel to release the grand jury testimony in eric garner’s murder. we’ll see, but apparently pantaleo has an round-the-clock protection detail (being paid by taxpayers, of course).

      and this has gone rather viral, as i reckon you’ve seen:

  7. okay and good job, ta-nehisi: ‘Take Down the Confederate Flag—Now’; the flag that Dylann Roof embraced, which many South Carolinians embrace, endorses the violence he committed.

    a snippet from his piece that i did not know, and am therefore aghast that there are defenders who fucking dare to call the flag ‘heritage, not hate’.
    “That the Confederate flag is the symbol of of white supremacists is evidenced by the very words of those who birthed it:

    Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner-stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth…

    okay, he’s getting bolder these days, and good on him. he might have mentioned that klansmen and klanswomen often march under the self-same flag.

    speaking of which, have you ever seen photos of children in klan robes and hoods? it’s enough to make you weep…and then rage at what they’re being taught. reminds me of this song…

  8. and by the by, who in hell cares what ‘professional athletes and stars’ are saying about the #CharlestonShooting? Or how big the hashtag is trending? how jejune of them…and that includes YOU, arianna.

    thank goodness for electric intifada:

    …although, i confess, this is the only mass murder event i’ve cared to follow (if rather lamely); sorry to be such a bigot. the only one i’d ever attempted to bring any light to was far-post-sandyhook elementary: ‘poisonous pedagogy and our culture of violence’

    this version i kept at another wordpress site for reference, sadly has none of the many pro and dissenting comments it received at my.firedoglake, but our diaries have been thrown out with the other trash. ;-0 the poisonous pedagogy theme is toward the end. i do still subscribe to that point of view, and even more now, than then.

  9. W J Hamilton is an attorney in Charleston and transit activist who diaries at Daily Kos. Here is his witness to the people he knew and to the society that Dylann Roof grew up in.


  10. http://transformativespaces.org/2015/06/19/on-remembrance-and-resisting-desecration/
    A vigil yesterday in Chicago, and reflections from an activist.

    • oh, my; kelly made me sob. ‘also an attack on the history of blacks’…so poignant, so true. so much less confusing than mr. hamilton’s to read, but they echoed one another in this:

      “We must build forward, and defiantly hold space in the name of those who came before us, those we have lost, and those who will change the course of history. We must remember that, in spite of our fears and anger, our spaces, our streets, and our cities are our gardens, and we are the sowers of seeds.”

      a in: block by block, row by row,,,work to create safe spaces for community and restoration of innocence (we might add ché’s ‘dignity’ in defiance of their constant oppression. for them, this song, and the mexican proverb:

      ‘They tried to bury us, but they forgot that we are seeds.’

      bless them all, and bless their efforts.

      thank you, too, tarheeldem. ‘the smart ones left south carolina’; yes, we hear him.

  11. it seems there have been more bomb threats to black churches, one on the DC AME church.

    interesting parallel, yes? another version referenced libby schaff directly.

    this is what was going on just before coretta scott king came to lead the 1500 person strong march from the Emanuel AME church in charleston; the more things change…etc..

    “On April 25, 1969, Governor McNair ordered more than one thousand state troopers and National Guardsmen to Charleston, declared a state of emergency, and imposed a 9 pm to 5 am curfew. In defiance of the curfew, strike organizers held nighttime demonstrations and law enforcement officials responded by arresting hundreds of strikers, their family members, and large numbers of students (some not yet in their teens). Union members and students considered their arrests a right-of-passage as the city streets became a site of protest excitement and celebration as well as a combat zone.

    As the strike stretched on and summer approached, the mood of strikers and city residents turned increasingly dark with the arrival of armored personnel carriers and soldiers who monitored the protests in Charleston’s streets with fixed bayonets. A union organizer’s hotel room was fire bombed, acts of vandalism increased, and a rash of mysterious fires kept firefighters occupied. Facing the constant threat of extralegal violence, Mary Moultrie moved out of her home for her family’s safety, and slept on a cot at the union hall under the watchful eye of armed youth from a local street gang.”


    last night rival gangs in seatlle march for unity against police brutality.



    We were never meant to survive‘, by alicia garcia (blackout collective, perhaps)

    “We were never meant to survive. We argue that Roof’s actions are not isolated, are not easily and dismissively attributed to mental illness but instead are reflections of a disease that plagues this country – racism. And we argue that until we grapple, as a nation, with the racist violence that infects this country, we will only see such acts increase.

    Roof’s words remind us that Black people in this country cannot consider ourselves safe anywhere. We cannot expect protection from the police. We cannot expect to be safe in swimming pools, in churches, in stores, on buses, in our communities or even in our homes. Black children are not safe. And we cannot consider ourselves safe from the daily trauma of witnessing the violence exacted against our communities. In this case, a young Black girl played dead underneath her grandmother’s dead body in order to stay alive. Roof left one woman alive, telling her that he wanted her to tell the story of what happened that night.

    The truth that needs to be told is that even our nation’s first Black President has yet to face the fact that violence against Black people is an epidemic of epic proportions. [snip]

    As the demographics of this country shift to that of majority people of color, there exists both a rational and irrational fear that the very people who have and continue to bear the brunt of such blatant and brutal violence will, at some point, resist. Roof’s words, “You’re taking over our country. And you have to go” reflect the fear that the right has capitalized on since the 1970s – the fear of the majority becoming the minority.

    Despite what our president says, this is not merely an issue of gun control. In fact, this is an issue of the prevalence of structural anti-Black racism that results, in many cases, in anti-Black violence, and in too many cases, anti-Black murder.”

    yes, all of this, and more: it’s not just ‘the right’, either.

    from the ferguson response newsletter:

    “The community in Charleston has asked us all to join them as they hit the streets to confront the roots of this
    violence. In your own community, tomorrow Sunday 6/21 at 6PM EST, organize an action against anti-black violence. Lift up the stories and names of the nine killed as you raise up the names and stories of people in your local communities. Use the hashtag #StandWithCharleston

    Stand with Charleston tomorrow! Find or list actions here.

    Ferguson Action Team

  12. https://twitter.com/hashtag/TakeDownTheFlag
    Columbia SC

  13. Downtown Charleston

  14. As best I can tell, there was a protest today in Columbia insisting that Gov. Haley #takeitdown — “it” being the Confederate flag that the state has legislatively legitimized to fly on the state house grounds as part of a Confederate Memorial in the name of “heritage”.

    SC Rep. Doug Brannon (R-Spartanburg) announced on Chris Hayes that he will introduce legislation thiscoming week to authorize removing the flag by December.

    Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz called for South Carolina legislators to rule on the flag issue soon. The politics is not helpful for turning out the Hispanics they think they can turn out. Will the national Republican leadership allow the SC legislature to remove the flag, stiff their Southern Strategy base, and dodge a losing 2016 issue? I think it could happen. More white South Carolinians want to be gone with all the stigma that brings them out of state. In a sense it’s minor, but deinstitutionalizing the cult of the Lost Cause is way overdue.

    Indications are that Dylann Roof was radicalized by the Council of Conservative Citizens web site (formerly known as the White Citizens Councils). If ever there was a case in which to get a warrant and do two-hop surveillance of communications to prevent terrorism, Dylann Roof’s actions should give the FBI probable cause. But not being Muslim and being a Lexington County SC white boy, the FBI can see no political motive. (Thank you Mr. Comey; the ghost of J. Edgar lives). No matter that Roof assassination one of the prominent black political leaders in Charleston, a state senator who has successfully passed a bill mandating that SC law enforcement wear body cameras for accountability. No political motives of decapitation or punitive retribution there, I’m sure, Mr. Comey.

    We will see what comes forth from the state house this week and whether Nikki Haley is just a female Dinesh de Souza.

    • I posted a few tweets/photos of the #TakeDownTheFlag rally at the statehouse, but the comment is in moderation. I’ll try this link to the hashtag:

      • i’m sorry, marym. i don’t seem to be getting emails, not jut from the café. another of yours was stuck in limbo the other day, dunno why. i have comments set to enable the max # of links, too.

        but i do thank you for the #takeitdown pics and link. earlier on the other charleston hashtag, there were plenty of pix of folks lighting fire to the cursed flag; this is something i can fully endorse. sleep well, dream well (jayzus, how easily i say that; i hope others can, those with dark complexions). america.

    • well, the politics of it will have to be handicapped, yes? but yes, it could happen as the pressure builds, i suppose. not quite getting bush and cruz wanting it settled, though. (sorry to be obtuse, but i don’t follow elected/electoral politics almost at all; i had to google ted cruz.)

      whooosh on the cracker terrorist affiliation; i’d seen a headline about a manifesto he’d *possibly* written, so i reckoned i could avoid it for now. yes, it seems ‘terrorists’ are only dark-hued folks. i even googled the fbi definitions of the term, but it didn’t really seem worth the concentration, given…everything. dhs’s definition is likely quite different.

      shoot, i gotta shut down; i’m rambling at the end of a long day. let’s hope all this may lead to a better world; plenty of folks on the ground, especially, wish to make it so.

    • i just looked at the takeItDown hashtag, and saw a sign that said fuck your heritage: take it down! and a link to R’s saying yes, take it down, and ‘the world is watching. yes, i reckon some of the world is watching.

      i looked up the CCC and the white citizens councils, the latter having been birthed just after brown v. board of education in mississippi: white supremacy and separatism. which brings me to wonder why w j hamilton had said that no, the cracker terrorist was *not* raised in a KKK environment; i’d simply assumed that he was. but admittedly, as he switched locales in his narrative, i got a little lost.

      now of course, even if the legislature votes to #takeitown, it’s just another of those first steps, and while it’s good to know that there will be more solidarity with charleston today ,i hope that they’re more generally continuing the anti-police brutality campaign.

  15. Bush and Cruz are depending on Hispanic voters in their primaries. The have a Hobson’s choice on how to react to the Charleston killings. Stand with the bigots or stand with the immigrants. Can’t do both. For now, they waffle.

    As I understood W. J. Hamilton, Roof was raised in a genteel racist environment of helicopter partners and affluent schoolmates, isolated at home because of the absence of transportation and the particular insular design of recent suburban developments everywhere. The KKK couldn’t afford those digs. And genteel Republicans are not wild about the pointy millinery and Christianist robes. Hamilton references high school kids with BMWs. He swaps from Lexington County to his similar suburbs on the coast northeast of Charleston, an area that has exploded with ill-considered development because of lax politiicians. Hamilton is pointing to a broader concern that through genteel racism and isolation and internet access, there might be a bunch of guys absorbing toxic neo-Confederate, neo-Nazi, and radical Islamophobic and anti-immigrant fixations that push toward a political identity and develops the self-talk to envision himself as the last white man, the last warrior. And that these guys can randomly pop off in different ways if provided access to a firearm and enough time alone to prepare and carry out a plan. Hamilton cities the similar process but the different narratives of various mass murderers of around Roof’s age. But the sociology that Hamilton describes exists in some of the ring communities around Atlanta or Charlotte or St. Louis or Chicago. The paradoxical thing about this is that these same communities can spawn anarchists, socialists, libertarians — and still keep their sense of white privilege at a minimum or still be caught in the same genteel racism. Those issues did show up in the Occupy movement; I know anectdotally only of a few that originate in these ring suburbs. But the formation of political identity and solidification of a political “mission” can move either way.

    Apparently for Roof, the Council of Conservative Citizens, now a very affluent and coy white supremacist organization well-networked into Southern elites and the Republican Party was Roof’s first stop. Even before Gov. Nikki Haley had to shed her Council of Conservative Citizens adviser to her re-election campaign in late 2013. After absorbing the Negrophobe message, deconstruction of the alleged manifesto of Roof’s by Juan Cole points to sources of thought among the neo-Nazi, anit-immigrant (and thus Islamophobic) European right-wing movements of Geert Wilders and Marie Le Pen and the even further out groups that influenced Anders Breivik. It seems the young man dipped into every right-wing movement he could but missing the more local and historical Silver Shirts of the North Carolina mountains in the 1930s.

    That’s the sort of brew of ideas that seemed to capture him.

    But onward. Dr. William Barber today had this line from his regular sermon (you can almost hear the stained-glass gospel voice): The perpertrator has been captured; the killer is still at large.

    Next item: Gov. Haley has assigned two black South Carolina Highway Patrolmen to guard the Confederate monument on the state house grounds that contains the Confederate flag. Hostages much?

    I guess by tomorrow noon we will know how serious the South Carolina legislature is with putting the Confederate flag behind them.

    • i really appreciate your translating both mr. hamilton’s piece; in my devolving brain configuration, i need to have the words say something i can *see*, picture. he took me in too many totally unfamiliar directions. iirc, the more ‘genteel white supremacists’ hold parties in ferguson, as well, but again, iiirc, there were modified hats and robes present in the photos someone took surreptitiously it may have what spawned the “opHoodsOff” hackativists, come to think of it.

      it would be a symbolic step if the flag comes down by the order of the legislature, but clearly, the depth of racism in this country shown by not only cracker killer, but the msm, is so entwined with the cavalier killing of blacks who are ‘too scary’ to let live that it will take a sustained effort to change any of it for the better.

      i like that glen ford is calling to use the historic ‘no justice, no peace’ rather than #blackLivesMatter, as a more militant and encompassing demand. for me, it would/could also encompass the police brutality against all non-white folks, the mentally ill, the homeless, and other expendables.

      oh, my; thank you, Rev. Barber; the best thing i’ve heard all week:

      The perpetrator has been captured; the killer is still at large.” whooosh.

  16. #blacklivesmatter is a movement of activists primarily inspired by assata shakur. I think that the movement can survive a diversity of tactics at this point and can have a parallel movement of #nojusticenopeace that broadens to include all of the categories that you listed — and also the toleration of violence against women (huge in the #idlenomore movement). In addition it can be a parallel movement with #idlenomore.

    It seems that someone is spiking the anarchist movement with the idea that Soros is controlling #blacklivesmatter. It’s hard to say but the references to Assata are still there.

    There are two strands of political discussion going on in my personal network. The first is about gun control, which is still caught in the usual ’tis/’taint discussion. The second is about taking down the Confederate flag, the history of the flags (not actually much real “heritage” there, and the incorporation of motifs from the Confederate flag into state flags and seals. Strangely there is absent from the this discussion the Fourth flag of the Confederate States of America, the rectangular white banner better known as the Appomattox flag, which was also used at Bennett Place, between Durham and Hillsboro NC.

    Some of the protesters did some “tagging” of Confederate monuments in Charleston with lines like #takedownthisflag and #blacklivesmatter. The United Daughters of the Confederacy statuary in Hampton Park, named after Confederate planter/general Wade Hampton III and the site of a Confederate prisoner-of-war camp and cemetery, has been covered by the City of Charleston for maintenance (and to prevent “vandalism”). This park in 1865 was the location of the first Decoration Day, decorating the mass graves of the Union soldiers who died in the prisoner-of-war camp. Freed slaves did that. The white folk skedaddled in advance of the Union army (black units) assigned to secure Charleston. In another side note, Wade Hampton III was the namesake of the high school that I and, ten years later, Jim DeMint attended. In another, this was the site of the South Carolina Inter-State and West Indian Exposition (a world’s fair) in 1901-1902. And when I was a kid, Hampton Park had a zoo, closed in the late 1970s. Before the site was anything else, it was a race course; the fancy metal gate was moved to Belmont in New York when Hampton Park was built.

    So the powers-that-be seem to be worried about this symbolically layered site might become contested ground in the consequences of the assassination at Emmanuel AME Mother Church.

    • well, yes to ‘inspired by assata’; ‘nothing to lose but our chains’, and created by alicia garza (linked above), patrisse cullors and opal tometi. and yes to diversity of tactics, but remember glen ford just got back from the Left Forum, and may have been feelin’ his oats, seeing #shutItdown as the clearest way forward.

      clearly, they all will do what they feel called to do, and the millennials may see ford as the old guard. ;-) but given the hashtag originators (all queer blacks, iirc, from blackoutcollective, it strikes me as odd that it took so long for the recognition of violence against black women to be learned by the men in the movement. and yes, garcia is (or was) a bit bitter about it, understandably.

      #sayHerName was thus a very big deal for many of us, both women of color , trans and queer, and allies.

      it seems the harper administration did order an inquiry into the disappeared canadian aboriginal women, and their report references ‘family’ violence in the main (again, iirc). but i’d forgotten that the many march(es)4justice were linked to idle no more.

      interesting history of hampton park. guess people might just be listening to the speeches in the SC capitol today. ;-)

  17. My first encounter with Southern cracker racism was in the Florida backcountry in the ’70s. It was a real surprise to me because it was among people I had been working with and thought I knew not far from Sarasota, people who in public expressed no animosity toward Negroes and other not-whites, in fact were quite jolly with their not-white colleagues and seemed at ease in a mixed-race setting.

    And then I get invited to a party “out in the country” hosted by Billy at his place. He was my closest work-compadre, and so I go, and the first thing I notice is this giant confederate flag across the side of the building (a galvanized tin barn) and many more hanging inside, and every kind of white cracker was lounging around, smoking dope and drinking whiskey, and talking trash about “them Nigras” that were “gonna take over,” and what those crackers were gonna do to keep that from happening.

    I was dumbfounded. WTactualF? I don’t think I stayed more than 20minutes; I had to get out of there. I never looked at Billy the same way again, and I doubt he saw me as one of his tribe either — which I knew would put me in jeopardy, if not from him, then from his buds out in the country. I’d never felt that kind of threat before but it was very real.

    Up to that time, I didn’t know how virulently and potentially violently racist some people in Florida were. And how well some of them could disguise it behind masks of creativity and/or gentility when out and about in public.

    I saw some of the same shit from crackers in Georgia and Louisiana. Haven’t been to the Carolinas, but it’s not hard to imagine what kind of masks are worn there. On the other hand, in Texas, Oklahoma and Missouri, they don’t much bother with masks, at least to my eye from my limited experience in those states. Racism is right up front and confrontational.

    But it’s not limited to the South. My first exposure to racial segregation was in Sacramento, California, where defacto segregation was the rule and it was quite rigidly enforced. Integration was fought strenuously by white folks, and when they didn’t get their way (which they ultimately didn’t) white flight to El Dorado County produced what was for a while the whitest county in the United States. I don’t know that it still is, but it could be.

    Southern racism is a nasty business, but in some ways, racism may be worse in the supposedly rogressive North and West. I don’t know what it will take to overcome it, or even if it is possible.

    It seems to me that the “national debate” over the display of the Stars and Bars is of minor importance; the problem goes far beyond that symbol of contempt.

    • yeah, i agree that the confederate flag is just a symbol of larger white supremacy, but i read yesterday at a website that kinda…banned me, and was shocked to read how many there (aside from the few blacks) maintained that the flag meant ‘anything the beholder wanted it to mean’. one alabaman said he never saw racism when he was growing up there.

      people tend to forget that connecticut ports included slave-trading ships along with other cargo, and maybe rhode island, as well. but yes, it’s not just the south. turned out that in the late ’70s some klan robes were discovered in an attic in durango, co; some of neighbors right here were formerly klan, as well.

      your point about being genteel racists in public, but letting it all loose ‘when they were in the bosom of their tribes’ is well noted. i’d add the anonymity of social networking adds a whole new level to the ugly things white supremacists can utter with total abandon, and that includes life threats to black and otherly-hued tweeters, as well.

      my sister and her husband moved to atlanta. when we went to visit them a number of years later, we discovered that she’d developed into a white supremacist *and* homophobe. are those ‘others’ related, somehow? some of her narratives showing both gave me the absolute willies. and she wasn’t taught that in our house, or in our town: there were no people of color, except for a few at the college.

      i do remember many blacks who’d ‘escaped’ to the north saying they were moving back to the south, that at least racism was more honest there.

      • We have black friends who did move back South, fed up with the racist hypocrisy of California.

        One moved back to Mobile where she’d been born and raised, saying that at least in Mobile, she knew where she stood, and white folks didn’t make believe they liked black folks when they didn’t. On the other hand, she said, there were always white folks in the South who weren’t racist at all despite the pressure from other white folks who were.

        One white friend moved to Atlanta in the ’80s. When we heard from her, which wasn’t often, she mentioned culture shock but she felt she was insulated from some of the worst of it because she was among peers at Emory U, and it was like a different world — one she was comfortable with.

        Yeah, the stories of the slaving and the profits from slaving that were so essential to Northern merchants prior to and after the Revolution (sic) are largely suppressed. And there are plenty of other stories about how eugenics, racism and segregation were integral to the Progressive Movement of the early 1900s.

        At least some of what we’re dealing with now is a legacy of that…

      • i apologize if i seemed to have meant that my sister (and her husband, although i have no idea who he was in that regard before atlanta) turned white supremacist *because of the south*. what i’d thought when i wrote my comment was that given their huge chase and success for dollars, it was as though their new *tribe* (the monied class) was a large part of the reason. and they weren’t just superior to blacks: they were scared to death of them.

        one rainy night my sister got a flat on the highway. a kind black man got soaked while knocking on her window and asking if he could fix her flat. so terrified was she that she wouldn’t even buzz down her window. that’s just one wee anecdote to show her/their fear, but oh….there are others.

        but yep, at least in some locales in the south, they just call a spade a…nigra.

        for anyone interested in a discussion on guns and violence in the usa, here’s one, via tom englehardt at NC. i’m just not. they pop up like weeds after mass shootings, like “21 myths about gun control” i saw advertised.

  18. This is very hard to see and hurts real deep. Over at First Draft,
    Athenae had a commentary on news reporters and this grim racist hate crime.
    Thanks for your relentless attention to this disease of hate on an ongoing and regular basis.

  19. nice to see you, nonquixote, even under these sorrowful and (by now for me) infuriating circumstances. the ugly face of racism rears its head again in the media, yes, and among some elected officials.

    didn’t allison do some good reporting during Occupy encampment days? sorry, though, i can’t bear to watch jon stewart; it was pounded into my noggin that he thought torture was fine…in some circumstances. i’ve sworn off him since, although i have seen reports that he hung up ‘teh funny’ to condemn this domestic terrorism.

    welcome, but i did manage to sneak in a couple diaries that aren’t as focused on hate and police brutality, a couple. of course, on citizen pushback against the current oppressions galore, and the coming attractions. (the senate votes on a stand-alone fast-track bill tomorrow, it seems. and yeah, i called the odious corporate clown of a michael bennet (d-CO) again.

    the good guys are just losing on so many fronts now; ‘the center cannot hold’. well, we may get to see what that looks like in the not-too-distant future.

    best of everything to you and to your extra mouth. ;-)

  20. I guess if I’d ever thought about it I wouldn’t have assumed Walmart was selling this stuff to begin with, but anyway
    “Walmart, the country’s largest retailer, will remove all Confederate flag merchandise from its stores, the company told CNN Monday.”

    • walmart is the alice’s restaurant of amerikan shopping, marym. ;-) that’s great since they don’t want to offend any sensibilities. kewl. i also liked: “Amazon and eBay whether they would remove Confederate flag merchandise from their sites. Neither company responded to repeated requests for comment.” well, yes.

      but to walmart: they are now retailing nestle bottled water, and there have been calls to boycott the store. but what if there is no alternative, as in communities like ours, where their big box store, and an agricultural big box store have driven all indies out of business? bah.

      but not only in oregon, but sacramento municipal water, and i reckon other places i’ve forgotten:

      but kewl that the waltons see which way the zeitgeist winds are blowing…for now, at least. ;-)

  21. Jon Stewart did explain how he could not write a script nor any jokes about this (took the audience a few tries to realize he was speaking off any script) so this was different and I only watched it as allison had included it. Her writing is essential reading (to me), as is yours.

    Good guys are also doing good things beneath the radar, contributing to instruction at community gardens, helping a recently assigned wheel-chair senior get an “unaffordable,” ramp to the front door, there is balance and strong opposition to evil here, there and everywhere. I continually have faith in the positive making a difference. There is no, “otherwise.”

    Peace and continued resolve.

    • well said, mi amigo; i just have a case of the glummies.

      when we live we the awareness of death hovering over our left shoulders, we can realize that it’s the efforts (causes) we put out in our lives, not the goals reached (effects). likely if i were still out and about and creating healthy programs, no matter how small they seemed, i wouldn’t feel as i do. but good on you for all you’re doing.

      stewart: i just can’t, and i hadn’t meant to fault anyone who listened. but i did run into the short version of this today (speaking of subprime foreclosures), and without know all the details, it did lift my spirits a bit.

      Learning from Slavic Village: A Report from Ground Zero of the Foreclosure Crisis’ (a cleveland suburb)

      “To bring a neighborhood back, two basic elements need to be put in place. First, you have to have decent and affordable housing that people want to live in, and second, you need to give residents places to spend their money once they got done with work – places like grocery stores and bars and hardware shops. That sounds moronically simple on its face, but many city planners and economists seem to bypass these key points, because it is more stylish to think that developing neighborhoods with art galleries and cafes with fair-trade coffee and beet juice is a better way to go.

      What Trzaska is doing is not easy. His real estate firm, Sonny Day Development, is buying property in Slavic Village with the intent of getting small entrepreneurial businesses to take root and in the old neighborhood, with the old-style design of having retail on street level and housing above. But he is also active in the Slovenian National Home on East 80th Street, which his family has belonged to for most of its nearly 100 years of existence.

      That program is the Slavic Village Recovery LLC, a private for-profit entity that has found they can get decent and affordable housing rehabbed and sold on the private market if they bypass government subsidies to do so. That is not a misprint. This group has found that not using public funding can actually make the housing cheaper.”

      well, i’ve pasted in too much, but it’s a revival plan that seems to be working, and at very low profit. the devil is in the details, as in what standards they use as they rehab.

  22. sigh. from a friend in NC, sending a pic of this fukkery from nikki haley: this is the caisson carrying rev. pinkney’s casket to lie in state at the SC statehouse. the confederate flag at the Confederate Memorial with the Confederate flag at full staff. so much for your hypocrisy, miz haley; we know which side you’re on.

  23. Obama rose to the occasion today in delivering the eulogy for Rev. Sen. Clementa Pinckney. In fact, this eulogy could well be what history remembers him for most. It was not short; school kids are in no danger of having to memorize it in history classes. But it was culturally and theologically on target–something that fails him in his conversations with the left. If you understand the mental framework of political discussion in Southern churches, especially within the black church, you will understand how this fit. Within a theologically clear discussion of grace, the receiving of grace, and the response in amending one’s relationship with God and one’s neighbors, the President called attention to an agenda of removing the Confederate flag, ending job discrimination and housing discrimination, ending police brutality and the school-to-prison pipeline, protecting voting rights, and dealing with an obsessive gun and gun-buying culture. It’s intent I think is to give the Governor and the state legislature the courage to actually go through with what they have announced. (There are already howls from the “Hell No” quarter on this symbolic measure.) It also sought in a subtle way by showing an appropriate bridging of religion and politics to delegitimize the coming rightwing religious (some evangelicals have already moved toward acceptance of same-sex marriage) hissy fit about today’s Supreme Court decision. It is likely that the 2016 election will be about race (police brutality, voting rights, school-to-prison pipeline, job discrimination, school resegregation) and an attempt to undo marriage equality as about economic class inequality and foreign policy.

    If you want to understand the rituals of respect in South Carolina, watch the entire funeral service as a drama whose ritual is established by tradition. The President adjusted his eulogy to this style as a way of honoring the family. The used kid gloves in dealing with the state politics in order to not distract from whatever momentum for change is accumulating.

    It is also interesting that the family made sure that people understood that the funeral service was for the family and was not centered around the President.

    I think that a lot of people had a hand in writing this eulogy and that Barack Obama and Michelle Obama took extra pains with it to hit the right tone for the sake of the family. With churches being burned, having them being the targets of white terrorists because of something the President said is a real danger even now. Do whatever spiritual exercises seem appropriate to protect and console Jennifer Pinckney and her daughters.

    After the funeral service the family and funeral cortege travelled the 117 miles to Marion, SC, where Rev. Sen. Clementa Pickney will be laid to rest in graveside service.

  24. it may be that i shouldn’t even begin to answer your comment tonight, thd, given the smoke coming out of my ears after seeing what his eulogy seemed to mean from many of the identifiable blackLivesMatter tweeters,

    no, i don’t give a good goddam that he sang ‘amazing grace’ or really referenced the ‘grace’ accorded by the victims’ families offering the cracker white supremacist AME killer ‘forgiveness’. your notion that he may have helped other churches not be burned down tonight…i will take under advisement.

  25. I will answer, if I may, wendye. I have great respect for you, Tarheel Dem, but none for Emperor Obama. (Ralph Nader has called him King Obama, and that is too kind.) I shun his words. He long ago lost any right to speak, especially not at anyone’s funeral.

    He has no legacy. That bird has flown; that ship has sailed; that dog won’t hunt!

    I honor the forgiveness of the good people of this church. They didn’t deserve to have the whiff of Satan in their midst this sorrowful day.

  26. The flag was taken down, but the state put it back up.

    Ferguson Action ‏@fergusonaction · 7m7 minutes ago
    The action to remove the flag was carefully planned by local folks. @BreeNewsome and the supporting crew did not take this lightly.

    • heh; as brown blaze said: “it takes a black woman!”

        • ;-)
          apparently they wanted to put it up again ahead of a ‘pro-flag’ rally today? what would that look like? participants locked and loaded?

          while #takingThemAllDown might signify a step, i will hope that it doesn’t end with that for south carolinians, et.al. i was appalled to read on one centrist website i was banned from that ‘we owe a debt of gratitude to (the AME terrorist) for scratching the veneer of deep racism in the south’ (or close).

          but most blacks and some not-blacks, know only too well that it’s not just the south; though they may be more up front about their racism, and perhaps homophobia.

          • It’s my inexpert opinion that keeping on much more with the flag theme won’t be all that helpful, but this flag now, and the well-executed action were appropriate. Per twitter she’ll be represented by SC House minority Rutherford. If true we’ll see what happens when direct action and traditional politics meet again.

            • yes to that, and for now many in the black twittersphere are paying rapt attention. it may be that ‘this is the moment’ so many of the racially unbigoted peeps having been waiting for but how odd that this may be the flexion point. i seldom understand these things.

              but where you do have expert opinion, imo, is on the ACA: ‘obamaDontCare’, and i thank you for trying to correct those on Fred L’s post on the scotus decision on subsidies. oddly, most seemed unfamiliar; perhaps they can all afford private insurance?

              hilariously, at least for now, the IRS has sent my returns back every year since my brain damage date. this year, they did, but i’d made an error in *their* favor. but: i did not fine myself for no health insurance, and they have not yet fined me. ;-)

              • Yeah, I crossed my picket line to comment on Obamacare and Guantanamo. I do it for the lurkers, if there still are some. There’s no good discussion though, even with my outstanding contributions :).

                • you jest, but they *are* outstanding contributions. on the odd day that i even click into the site, i wonder if they might not do well to just turn out the lights. whoever ‘they’ is/are, of course.

  27. yes, juliania, and thank you for your far more measured tone. i, too, respect our friend tarheeldem, but the list of things he quoted as obama’s ‘next steps to tackle’ or whatever) just made me see red. well, it’s easy to talk about housing discrimination since SOTUS just upheld the fair housing act. but just think of the rest of his list and how massively his policies via his cabinet have contributed to: job discrimination: what jobs? the only jobs since the 2008 meltdown are in the crap-paying service sector, and a lot of that’ on him. he not only tanked any meaningful financial ‘reform’ step by step, but his DoJ has given every sort of banking fraud a free pass, and helped incredibly to *further* transfer wealth up to the Oligarch class.

    his claim to want to end the school prison to pipeline makes me utterly sick to my stomach, given that his pal arne duncan (along with bill gates and other private sector greedsters) has authored the closing of ‘failing schools’ and aided in the whole for-profit charter school movement. wow, if he cared about mass incarceration of blacks, his DoJ wouldn’t have been busting blacks for weed, or cannabis entrepreneurs even in states where *it’s legal*.

    oh yes, sure, arne threw a bone to Negroes and the underclass striking debt for corinthian colleges post-bankruptcy, but glen ford says it’s rubbish. he’s aided in dismantling the social safety net in ways most said ‘only a democrat could have done’.
    but if he does in fact end up with fast-track authority, *and* the ttp, tisa, and tafta become part of the law of the land, well, that will be his signature legacy. i’d hazard a guess that tisa rulez would impact many, many black workers in the postal service sector, at the very least.

    no, i don’t listen to him no unless i must for a diary; i consider him just another lying politician who can mouth inspirational but meaningless platitudes, as he fooks over the people he pledged to defend and support. it grieves me to see so many of the BLM tweeters so schmoozed by him and hillary, who of course went to ferguson to give her market-tested speech on institutional racism last week.

    ‘ending police brutality’, let’s give him a har, har, okay? well, yes, at least cops can’t get *free* rocket launchers or tanks with tracks now, so it’s getting better all the time. but for him to speak as though he’s an innocent observer of all this makes me furious.

  28. Being furrin born, I just can’t separate domestic and foreign policy, but even so, Obama makes it easy by mucking up the former along with the latter. We could call him the Great Equalizer, perhaps.

    And perhaps the schmoozers are quite simply so yearnful for some kind of change sometime somehow. One cannot blame them; it’s what they have for now, the last kernel of hope. Whatever it produces, they’ll take it, they’ll humble themselves for it, that precious crumb. They’re not greedy; they’re desperate. For the sake of the children.

    I know you don’t blame them because as you say, you are grieved. And even if they are still confused, it’s the pols that are shams, not they.

    • they are indeed desperate, juliania; well said. but blacks have long been captive to the party of D’s, and they have not yet learned how a D will sell them out as quickly as an R now; and i do understand why that learning curve is steep. but even the ‘second black president (toni morrison, curse you) has sold them out like the first one:: welfare ‘reform’, ‘three strikes’, and tanking glass-steagall and enacting the commodity futures ‘modernization’ act. all of which affected black lives disproportionately, as did bogus subprime mortages >>>>foreclosures.

      but as to obama’s foreign debacles around the planet: the shooter may have seen the glory given to the Warriors of the World bringing democracy for a few, to the planet. and of course, obama’s and his acceptance of the deep state alliances with neoliberal policies brought by the imf and world bank.

      but i do hope more of them wake up, and realize that neoliberalism and capitalism itself, require slaves and colonization (we are they, not just blacks, in the end).

      it occurred to me that i had misspoken earlier. so odious is his visage and voice to me now, that i only report on his speeches if i can dig up a transcript.

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