In the wake of the Charleston shootings, before the bodies were even cold, keyboard commandos were out in force, attempting to surf their politics on the waves of outrage that would inevitably follow. Unfortunately, this opportunism has been rampant on all sides of the political spectrum.
Many from the left immediately framed this tragedy as an extension of the Ferguson and Baltimore incidents. Some even pointed to the fact that Dylan Roof was taken alive, and not shot in cold blood, framing it as if it was an injustice. Wait you’re going to criticize the police in a case where they actually did their job properly? Does that mean you are ok with police brutality as long as it is used on suspects that you dislike?
Many drew attention to the way the killer was described in the media. They claimed that he was not being referring to as a thug or a terrorist simply because he was white. Others used the event as a platform for a renewed gun control push.
Those from the political right quickly took to the defensive and applied all the standard pro-second amendment memes and catch phrases. They drew attention to the killer’s history of drug abuse, in particular his use of Suboxone (There is anecdotal evidence tying this drug to personality changes http://www.drugs.com/forum/featured-conditions/does-subutex-suboxone-change-personality-48326.html), and they compared the event with another attempted mass shooting in a church which had been prevented by a citizen with a concealed carry permit.
Many from the right also accused the left of race baiting. Trouble is, they often mixed in their own race bait in the process. For example Infowars made a point of calling out racial guilt trips coming from the left only to then rattle off a series of FBI statistics which show that blacks are implicated in 8 times more violence against whites than vice versa. Hey look a fire. Let’s throw gasoline on it!
How do you respond to a train wreck like this?
The killer confessed, and his manifesto was discovered online. At this point it is abundantly clear that the killings were racially motivated. In fact, he has admitted that his goal was to start a race war and bring back segregation. Hence his fascination with the apartheid states of South Africa and Rhodesia.
Now killing people in an attempt to start a war means that the crime was politically motivated. So by definition it WAS an act of terrorism. It was also a hate crime. At this point the official investigation is treating it as such.
Those of you who are attempting to pick fights over the way the killer is or isn’t being labeled are missing the point. Those of you who are quoting racially charged crime statistics are missing the point. Each and every one of you who are framing this tragedy in terms of one race against another are missing the point.
This mass murdering idiot was on a mission: to divide the population, to destroy what little trust remains, and to sew the seeds of racial conflict. Those who are politicizing this event are playing right into this. You’re giving him what he wanted!
Please stop! The social fabric of the United States is ripping itself apart at the seams and you people are arguing over the threads (and you’re pulling on those threads).
Racial finger pointing isn’t going to help. Peddling politics at funerals isn’t going to help. Looking for a way to even the score by targeting people who had nothing to do with this event isn’t going to help. The response by the families who were directly affected by this tragedy put all of you to shame.