Jun 192015
Elliot Roger | UC Santa Barbara Dylann Roof | Emanuel AME Church
MAY 23, 2014 | 6 DEAD, 14 INJURED JUNE 17, 2015 | 9 DEAD
Everyone: I guess we’ll never know why he did it.
Shooter: I did it because I hate women.
“Women are vicious, evil, barbaric animals, and they need to be treated as such.”
Everyone: I guess we’ll never know.
Everyone: I guess we’ll never know why he did it.
Shooter: I did it because I hate black people.
“I have to do it. You’re raping our women and taking over the country. You have to go.”
Everyone: I guess we’ll never know.

based on Tweet by @MaryTylerMog


Mental illness alone didn’t prompt Elliot Roger and Dylann Roof to take innocent lives. Both killers had a worldview, a rationale, and a target population. Roger did it because he hated women, and Roof did it because he hates black people. But hate isn’t a mental illness — it’s an ideology. Misogyny and racism aren’t unique ideologies of lone men — they’re deeply entrenched, pervasive cultural systems that shape the worldviews of significant populations. Because Roger and Roof are both products of larger systems, neither man’s violence can be dismissed as the singular action of an unstable person.

I’m glad to see people getting on top of the dialogue and framing what happened at Emanuel AME as what it is: a racist hate crime and an act of domestic terrorism. While some part of me understands the calls to refrain from politicizing — people are dead; families and communities are mourning — it seems impossible because the massacre at Emanuel AME was political.

Dylann Roof intended to make a political statement. After he was caught, Roof told investigators the same thing he told friends over the past six months — he wanted to start a race war. Refusing to acknowledge his intent denies the existence of racism as a political issue, and depoliticizing racism wont make it go away.

Using a racist hate crime to talk about racism is appropriate. Using this particular massacre to talk about gun control is understandable (since a gun was used to end nine people’s lives). But calling it an “attack on faith” to promote the myth of Christian persecution is inexcusable.

fox-friends-attack-on-faithInexcusable, you say? Cue Fox News…

Yesterday on Fox & Friends, the humanoid trio of styrofoam packing peanuts feigned concern and framed the attack as one on Christians. They spoke to Bishop E. W. Jackson — a black man/minister/failed politician/conservative commentator — who cautioned against assuming a racial motivation, instead pointing to imaginary faith-based motivations for violence against Christians.

Jackson wants to arm congregations (with actual fucking firearms) in preparation for faith-based hate crimes. Seriously. I’m not making this up. If it weren’t Fox News, you’d think it was satire…


“Last night’s deadly attack taking place at an historic church in South Carolina, the gunman’s horrifying attack on faith killing 9 people, including a famed pastor. So, if we’re not safe in our own churches, then where are we safe?”
– Elizabeth Hasselback, Survivor contestant/View co-host, NFL wife
“…I am deeply concerned this gunman chose to go into a church, because there does seem to be a rising hostility against Christians across this country because of our biblical views. And, I just think it’s something we have to be aware of and not create an atmosphere where people take out their violent intentions against Christians.”
– BISHOP E.W. JACKSON, minister, politician, conservative talking head
“…extraordinarily they called it a hate crime — uhhh, and some look at it, because it was a white guy, apparently, and a black church, uhh, but you made a great point just a moment ago about the hostility towards Christians, so — and it was a church! So, maybe that’s what their talking about. They haven’t explained it to us.”
– STEVE DOUCHEY, BS in Journalism, human silly putty


Video above (3:57); Full transcript available on DailyKos.

  3 Responses to “framing the debate”

  1. I wish I had your eloquence. All I have is “fucking idiots!”

  2. Well said.

    At the time of the Rodger murders I tried to get something down that would contextualise them.

    With your permission, an excerpt:


    Wherever it is allowed to flourish, patriarchal ideology creates a bully hierarchy in which the most socially dysfunctional, power-hungry, male sociopaths dominate . All large corporate or public organisations in which there is a top-down power structure with the greatest power concentrated at the top, exhibit this pathology. But whatever the asymmetries of power among and between men, they are as nothing compared with the overwhelmingly unequal power dynamics that continue to exist between genders. This is a global problem requiring global solutions.

    Patriarchal ideology saturates our language and culture, imposing a set of interwoven narratives and ‘metaphors we live by’ (to use the term coined by Lakoff and Johnson), that influence us from the moment we are born.

    It’s a man’s world.
    Are you a man or a mouse?
    The army will make a man of you………….
    Man up!
    Take it like a man!
    Is he man enough?

    Given the historical and geographical ubiquity of patriarchal ideology, it is simply not good enough for the West to point the finger of blame at the world’s ‘dangerous places’. Patriarchal ideology is everywhere. Therefore unequal power dynamics and misogyny are everywhere.

    As Carmen Medina, one of the delegates from El Salvador to the London summit on ending sexual violence in conflict points out:

    “….a real transformation of (the) patriarchal culture is needed.

    Every man needs to be convinced that all forms of violence against women, girls, boys, and all vulnerable people, is not a privilege granted to a man by his apparently dominant nature, and that (the) hegemonic masculinity is a social construction that can, should, and must urgently be amended to improve the lives of women and men themselves.”


    Much of the above applies to white supremacist ideology.

    Neither Roof in the US, nor Breivik in Europe may be considered mentally ill, unless you want to argue that certain ideological constructs are a form of collective madness.

  3. Too bad more cannot see as clearly as you.

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