Friday, June 19, 2015
Lindsey Graham Needs To Think About His State's Role In This Tragedy
Rebel symps fly their Confederate flags in South Carolina
"I can't explain this. I don't know what would make a young man of twenty one to get so sick and twisted to kill nine people in a church" - Lindsey Graham, yesterday
Graham, asked if he thought it was a hate crime, then went off on a tangent, dredging up "people who are organized to kill others for their religion, especially Christians" - which this massacre in Charleston had nada to do with. Only a posturing imbecile like Graham would fail to see it was all about race. (Though the Wall Street Journal editors also fall into that category!) Especially as we now know Roof had openly declared blacks were "taking over the country, raping our women" and confided to a pal he wanted to "start a race war or a new Civil war". This was also a guy who sported white supremacy emblems from two nation states - Rhodesia and Apartheid South Africa - that have been the worst in history for racial separation and white supremacy.
But Roof didn't live in those nations, but in South Carolina. So where's the connection to his hate and what fueled it? Journalist Eugene Robinson offered the most trenchant observation this morning:
"Very clearly this was about race. That was a state motive. He inhaled this poison from some atmosphere. He got it from somewhere."
The discussion on 'Morning Joe' then finally settled on the still existing racially divisive nature of the place - South Carolina - which still flies the Confederate battle flag in its state capitol. Aspen Institute leader Walter Isaacson then pointed out one reaction to this crime is "we should take it down".. Indeed.
Expanding on this was author Kevin Alexander Gray last night on Chris Hayes' 'All In'. As he told Hayes"
"Look, I'm from South Carolina. This state is the ideological home of white supremacy in this country. On our state house grounds we have memorials to Confederate heroes. We have streets, roads, bridges, schools, buildings named after Confederates. And we're on Calhoun Street! They built a statue of Calhoun so high that the freed slaves wouldn't tear it down.
The tourism industry in this city is based on slavery. That young man grew up in a state that reveres its Confederate history. It reveres the fact that the first shots of the Civil War were fired from this city. It reveres the fact that the Citadel, right across town, was built to crush slave rebellions.
That young man was born and lived in a county that is the most Republican in the most conservative state - that if you go places like Swansea and Gaston, you'll see Confederate flags- which theyve believe is the flag of the white man's country. "
Alexander than made the significant point that while black activists are dismissed as "thugs" and Hispanics as "illegals", white men who brutally kill others are all of a sudden "mentally ill" - which he noted in disgust was an "overused term". (In fact, statistics show the mentally ill are at least 3 times less likely to wantonly kill than their normal counterparts.)
So what does it all add up to? It configures the state of South Carolina as at least an accessory after the fact to what happened at ".Mother Emanuel" church. It bears partial responsibility for breeding this kid Roof as a diehard white supremacist sympathizer and pro-Confederate racist hater. It thus answers Eugene Robinson's question of the atmosphere from which the kid "inhaled the poison".
And inhale it he did. From the state's resident racists, the shameless pro-Confederate atmosphere including the Battle flag over the state capitol.
Rationalizers can try to explain this all away as best they can but facts are facts. And we know even a slightly unstable personality - left to percolate in a race hate environment where slave masters are still extolled- will ultimately surrender to the memes and act them out. This is made more certain when the person in question - such as Dylann Roof, is semi-educated. (He left school in 9th grade, as reported last night).
And, of course, semi-educated people are far more likely to believe and accept twisted histories - whether that the Civil War was fought for "state's rights" as opposed to preserving slavery, or that lands of Native Americans were seized in justified conflicts, or that LBJ didn't start the Vietnam War on a pretext, or that the Warren Commission is the final word on the Kennedy assassination.
We can consult Robert Baum’s textbook, LOGIC, pp. 469-70, to see that explicating necessary and sufficient conditions are practical replacements (in logic) for causes. To refresh memory, a necessary condition is one which, if absent, the entity cannot exist or the event occur. A sufficient condition is one which, if present, the entity must exist and the event must occur. In this context, we can see that the pre-existing racially divisive atmosphere of South Carolina emerges as the necessary condition . Roof's hatred of African-Americans along with being given a Glock .45 for his birthday was the sufficient condition. Roof's racial hatred of blacks (he adopted the middle name 'Storm' from Storm front) along with his birthday gift of a .45 Glock was the sufficient condition.
Governor Nikki Haley lamented this heinous crime that has "broken the heart of South Carolina". Maybe she could begin to repair it by getting that Confederate Battle Flag taken down and toning down the bitter white supremacist memes still afoot in her state.