Charleston Shooting: An Act of Terrorism
- 06/19/2015 by Linda Perry (WBAI News)

Among those fatally shot were, clockwise from top left: Susie Jackson; Sharonda Coleman-Singleton; DePayne Doctor; Ethel Lance; Daniel Simmons Sr.; Clementa Pinckney; Cynthia Hurd; and Tywanza Sanders. The ninth victim, not pictured, was Myra Thompson.Photo: Associated Press
The 21 year old who killed 9 people in the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church on Wednesday has been charged with nine counts of murder and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime. The Governor of South Carolina wants Dylan Storm Roof to face the death penalty.  

Herb Boyd with the Amsterdam News on the Friday Edition of WBAI's Morning Show said, "There's a lack of attention paid to domestic terrorism, domestic violence, that has  been perpetrated going back years. Look at the Ku Klux Klan coming out of the Civil War and the the kind of lack of attention, inadequate understanding and effort put forward into investigating these types of situations."  

Charleston Chief of Police Greg Mullen called the shooting a hate crime which Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch said the Justice Department is investigating.

Phyllis Bennis with the Institute for Policy Studies disagrees. She says, "The killings in South Carolina were not a 'hate crime' -- they were an act of terrorism. The State Dept's definition of terrorism is 'premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against non-combatant targets.'  That sounds like a pretty accurate description of the premeditated murder of church folk at prayer -- an act motivated by politically articulated anti-Black racism.

"The sandy-haired white guy is not just a hater, but a terrorist. US and other government officials are likely to respond to those who call it terrorism with a careful non-denial denial that starts with 'we don't have enough information yet.' And we have to remember that the operative assumption, most of the time, is that white guy Christian violence = mental illness unless proven otherwise; Arab or Muslim violence is immediately defined as terrorism, period. That's part of how the legacies of slavery and racism and Islamophobia in this country fuel US wars abroad, and it's part of how US wars come home."

Yesterday the Charleston Coroner revealed the names and affiliations of the dead.  

Cynthia Hurd, 54, branch manager for the Charleston County Library System

Susie Jackson, 87, longtime church member

Ethel Lance, 70, employee of Emanuel AME Church for 30 years

Rev. DePayne Middleton-Doctor, 49, admissions counselor of Southern Wesleyan University

The Honorable Rev. Clementa Pinckney, 41, State Senator, Reverend of Emanuel AME Church

Tywanza Sanders, 26, earned business administration degree from Allen University

Rev. Daniel Simmons Sr., 74, retired pastor (died at MUSC)

Rev. Sharonda Singleton, 45, track coach at Goose Creek High School

Myra Thompson, 59, church member