Charleston shooting: How many more have to die?

The Rev. Clementa Pinckney, one of nine victims of a domestic terrorist attack by a white supremacist.

The Rev. Clementa Pinckney, one of nine victims of a domestic terrorist attack by a white supremacist.

Another day, another nine people dead in a mass shooting. This time it’s at a historic black church in Charleston, S.C., where a 21-year-old white man has now confessed to shooting and killing nine people at prayer, including the church’s pastor.

The shooting occurred during a prayer service at Emanuel AME Church, one of the oldest African Methodist Episcopal churches in the country. People met for Bible study, but they died instead when a white gunman opened fire.

President Barack Obama was visibly angry as he spoke to reporters the next day in the White House press room, saying he’s had to address the country “too many times” on the occasion of a mass killing. “To say our thoughts and prayers are with them … doesn’t do enough to express what we feel.”

“I’ve had to make statements like this too many times. Communities have had to endure tragedies like this too many times. … Now is a time for mourning, for healing, but let’s be clear. At some point we have to reckon with the fact that this type of violence does not happen in other advanced countries.” Of course, he was talking about the proliferation of guns.

“It is in our power to do something about it. I say that knowing that the politics in this town preclude this from happening right now, but it has to be said and will have to be acknowledged,” Obama said.

Fox News’ reaction? The hosts of Fox and Friends refused to call the shooting by the suspect, Dylann Roof, who has a Facebook photo of him wearing patches from a white supremacist group, an attack on race. Instead, they insisted that it was an attack on faith — anything to prolong Fox’s false claims of a war on Christianity. The prescription from the mental midgets there was to “arm pastors.” Yeah, that’s just what we need — even more guns.

Survivors of the church shooting said they heard the suspect utter the words, “You rape our women and you’re taking over our country. And you have to go.” Don’t think he was talking about Christianity there. What part of “hate crime” isn’t clear to the cretins on Fox?

It apparently also isn’t clear to GOP candidates for president. Some, like former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, immediately echoed the “war on faith” theme. Others, like former Florida Gov. Jeb! Bush, said “we don’t know” what motivated the shooter. I guess Roof’s statement to police that “I wanted to start a race war” didn’t spell it out enough?

Perhaps the most sickening comment was from a board member of the National Rifle Association, who all but blamed the shooting on one of the victims pictured above, the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, who was also a South Carolina state senator and voted against the ability to carry firearms in churches. The NRA hack might have deleted that statement now, but that doesn’t delete the outrage people felt or delete the stupidity of the remark.

The Washington Post put together statistics on guns and mass shootings in the U.S. Lots of interesting facts, with comparisons of crimes in the U.S. and other Western countries. But a few stand out, including an obvious fact: More guns mean more homicide.

My “political murder of the day” the day I wrote this post, in which I post stories of people who were killed for political reasons, offers the tale of talk-show icon Alan Berg, who was shot and killed by white supremacists, just because he was Jewish. You can read it if you click above (or go down the list, if you’re reading this on subsequent days).

When will it end? How many more need to die?

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