THE SHOOTING deaths of nine people in Emanuel AME Church, in Charleston, S.C., is a tragedy, one that came about because of the hatred that Dylann Roof allegedly harbored in his heart.
But Roof, who allegedly laid out his plans to kill African-Americans in a racist screed on a website he administered, is not unique. He is but the latest in a long line of domestic terrorists driven by racial hate.
We saw his predecessors in Birmingham, in 1963, when a bomb killed four little girls. We saw them in Memphis in 1968, when an assassin’s bullet killed Martin Luther King.
If Roof, an unemployed high-school dropout already facing drug charges, walked into a church, sat with his intended targets, then callously killed preachers and old women while spouting racist rhetoric, none of us should be surprised. By his own admission, he is steeped in the racist ideology that is symbolized by the Confederate flag flying on South Carolina’s capital grounds.
South Carolina’s legislature must take the legislative action necessary to have that flag removed. If they do not do so immediately, we have no choice but to call for an economic boycott of the state.
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Illustration by Richard Harrington