AME Shooting Update

[Content Note: Terrorism; racism; death; white supremacy; guns.]

The shooter who killed nine people at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina, has been identified as 21-year-old Dylann Roof.

He has been located and taken into custody by police. Alive.

Lucky for him, he wasn't suspected of stealing or selling cigarettes.

Pictures of Roof show him wearing white supremacist gear and sitting on the hood of a car sporting a Confederate license plate. He was deep into movement white supremacy, underlining that this act is not attributable to "mental illness," nor is it an isolated incident, nor is it an incomprehensible act of senseless violence; it is a deliberate act firmly centered in ancient white supremacy.

Nonetheless, the apologia has already begun:
[Roof's] uncle said he recognized Roof from the police photo and "described him as quiet and soft-spoken," according to Reuters.

...White Knoll High School had a mix of black and white students. [John Mullins, who went to high school with Roof] says they occasionally mixed, and the school had "a lot of preps, a little bit of gang members, and a lot of outcasts." But Roof wasn't one of the outcasts, Mullins said.

Nor did Roof make a habit of spouting racist messages.

"I never heard him say anything, but just he had that kind of Southern pride, I guess some would say. Strong conservative beliefs," he said. "He made a lot of racist jokes, but you don't really take them seriously like that. You don't really think of it like that."

But now, "the things he said were kind of not joking," Mullins added.

Many of Roof's Facebook friends, including those from his high school, are black.
He was "quiet and soft-spoken," and he didn't "make a habit of spouting racist messages," except for when he was telling "a lot of racist jokes."

And he has a lot of black Facebook friends. Which we're meant to read as evidence that he had meaningful relationships with black people (and thus couldn't possibly be racist), even though Roof could have been surveilling them as potential targets under the auspices of friendship.

This is reprehensible. And there is going to be a lot more of it, because we simply refuse to acknowledge that this is straight-up terrorism, rooted in the white supremacist eliminationism that was a central feature of the founding of this country and defines it still.

[Commenting Guidelines: Anything even resembling apologia for this act of white supremacist terrorism will be deleted. Anything even resembling policing of black people's emotions will be deleted. Further, this is not the space to work out your white privilege. White people need to be doing that right now, as ever, but that is work to be done with other white people, not in a public forum where people of color who don't have the luxury of ignorance afforded by privilege are obliged to encounter and navigate it as a cost of participation.]

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