Friday, June 19, 2015

Some Thoughts on the Emanuel AME Church Massacre -OR- Structural Violence, Racism, and Domestic Terrorism in America: The Long Story

An exterior picture of the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C., scene of the horrific massacre on Wednesday, June 17, 2015.


I've been having trouble updating this blog this week and wanted to post a laid-back entry tonight, but that doesn't seem to be in the cards. I necessarily must mention what happened in Charleston, although I want to avoid a lengthy and excessively vitriolic entry about it.

I refer, of course, to the racially-motivated horrific massacre in Charleston of nine African Americans at the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, by a homegrown 21-year old white supremacist terrorist named Dylann Storm Roof who was subsequently caught in Shelby, N.C., the next day.

Photo montage of the nine victims of white supremacist terrorist Dylann Storm Roof; from left to right starting at the top: Rev. Clementa Pinckney, Tywanza Sanders, Rev. Sharonda Singleton, Cynthia Hurd, Rev. DePayne Middleton-Doctor, Ethel Lance, Susie Jackson, Myra Thompson, and Rev. Daniel Simmons Sr.

Their ages ranged from 26 to 87 (Susie Jackson).

Yes, the scumbag shot and killed an 87-year old woman. There has to be a special rung in Hell for that.

Learn more about who they were here.


White supremacist terrorist Dylann Storm Roof being escorted under heavy police guard in Shelby, N.C., where he was captured at a traffic stop, June 18, 2015.


So first thing's first: The absurdly named Dylann Storm Roof is a fucking white supremacist terrorist. Full stop.

We aren't going to abide this time the usual bullsh!t about how it was a "hate-filled" "lone wolf" who is "mentally ill" because that just releases all the usual bullshit excuses every time some "troubled" white American male commits domestic mass atrocity, which is most of the time.

An undated Facebook picture of white supremacist terrorist Dylann Storm Roof in some swamp and wearing a jacket with the flag designs of Apartheid-era South Africa and white-ruled Colonial era Rhodesia.


The many attendees at the vigil for the Emanuel AME victims held at Morris Brown AME Church, Charleston, S.C., June 18, 2015.


More generally, we are just so sick of these mass killings in this country. It's fucking exhausting, but if you want to talk mental illness, it's on America's psychosexual fetish with firearms and all-violence-all-the-time that's mentally ill. Instead of Lady Liberty in New York Harbor, we should have Charlton Heston's "cold, dead hands" there. Hasn't he already had practice with this??

Now because this story is inherently a political one -- precisely because it is an act of racial terror in a country with such an ugly and unrelenting history of it -- it is important to note that the Fox News Channel Bizarro-World alternate reality that this was actually an "attack on faith" (read: Christianity; subtext: white Americans).

It's total rubbish, of course, a total lie, but one is buying it and the other is selling it.

Screenshot of "Fox and Friends" discussing their Bizarro-World version of the Emanuel AME Church massacre.

In their reality, this racially-motivated act of domestic terrorism against blacks had nothing to do with race and was instead an "Attack on Faith," the solution to which is for clergy to openly pack heat.

Yes, that's where "the debate" has reached in America. It really is quite a spectacular fall from the Gore Vidal - William F. Buckley debates, isn't it?


Pres. Obama approaches the podium at the White House on June 18, 2015 with Vice President Joe Biden beside him to give remarks on the massacre at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C.

The President's remarks were spot on, so naturally the rightwing side of the internet exploded in jabbering rage.


And since it is political, this Jonathan Chait piece is very important to read on why the GOP presidential candidates have to do the obscene in order to appeal to their "base" voters and pretend that Dylann Storm Roof wasn't motivated by racial hatred but was instead a "senseless" act of evil: Why Can't Republicans Admit Dylann Roof Was Racist?

The ending sums it up well: "Roof's actions are a completely sensible expression of his twisted worldview. It's the failure to admit it that's senseless."

To the extent that the "arc of history" can be drawn from the systematic and state-sponsored Southern white terrorism against a pre-Civil War enslaved and post-Civil War Jim Crow-era, quasi-enslaved, terrified, and helpless black population of the Old Confederacy (and, yes, I know a lot of bad shit when on in the North, too) to Roof's act, that's a separate issue that I'm not going to get into it now.

Instead, let me just say that I enjoyed this Yahoo news article about reaction in other countries -- if only to watch the number of comments swell beyond 16,000 by the time I posted this entry (and none of which I read) by the incoherently enraged Fox News primary voter base.

Best line has to be from Mexico's La Jornada: The U.S. is a "structurally violent state" where force is frequently used domestically and internationally to resolve differences.

It states: "In this context, the unchecked and even paranoid citizen armament is no coincidence: Such a phenomenon reflects the feeling of extensive sectors about the supposed legitimacy of violent methods."

Dylann Storm Roof at a court appearance via closed circuit TV on June 19, 2015.


The good news -- and, yes, I'm against the death penalty -- is that Dylann Storm Roof, will almost certainly get the death penalty and, well, I just don't care. I know to be ethically consistent I should, but I don't.

People fill the pews at the Morris Brown AME Church in a vigil for the victims of the Emanuel AME Church victims, Charleston, S.C., June 18, 2015.


I didn't even want to talk about this topic, although I felt I should for the gravity of what happened and I could not in good conscience ignore it.

What I really wanted to talk about is awesome Pope Francis' incredible encyclical on climate change and why it is of such groundbreaking importance. And although it isn't at all the main issue here, I am also delighted that the Pope's encyclical has called bullsh!t on GOP climate science denialism (not that this will stop the James Inhofe-Steve Doocy Axis of Know-Nothing Nonsense).

However, that is beside the point. And more to the point, I will have to save this topic for another entry.


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