On a picture of Charleston shooting suspect, clues as to the nature of this evil

From the Facebook page of Dylann Roof, identified as the suspect in a mass shooting Wednesday night in Charleston, S.C.

From the Facebook page of Dylann Roof, identified as the suspect in a mass shooting Wednesday night in Charleston, S.C.

The suspect in the unspeakable horror that unfolded in a Charleston, S.C., church last night — a shooting that left nine people dead — has been identified by authorities as 21-year-old Dylann Roof. Normally, I am very reluctant to give such suspects even a smidgen of publicity by publishing their photos. But I am making an exception because the above photo, found on what appears to be his Facebook profile, gives us a couple of clues as to what might have motivated such a terrible thing.

On the jacket he’s wearing, you’ll notice two flags. The one on top is the same as the flag of South Africa during apartheid:

(Photo from Wikipedia)

(Photo from Wikipedia)

The one below is the flag of another apartheid state, Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), from 1968 to 1979:

Flag_of_Rhodesia

(Photo from Wikipedia)

Obviously, those are ominous symbols to have been worn by a young white man who is now accused of committing a mass shooting in a black church.

Evil is evil regardless of motivation, but we all know how the fault line that is race in America is always on the brink of splitting. Let’s not allow what appears to be one sick individual to drag the rest of us into the abyss with him. Instead, pray for the survivors, the families of the victims, the entire congregation of Emanuel AME Church, and the law-enforcement officers trying to catch the suspect before anyone else is harmed.

UPDATE: Roof has been arrested.

Reader Comments 0

149 comments
bu2
bu2

Kyle,

When will they permit you to write about something else?  Bookman has 3 blogs on it (last I checked).  Paper has the entire front page and 6 total pages in the front section.  Did you even have this much coverage on 911?  Or the Olympic bombing that actually was in Atlanta?  Its a sad situation, but your coverage flood is just strange.

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@bu2 No one tells me what to write about (or not to write about). There's a lot of interest in this story. I'm sure we'll get back to other topics next week.

MHSmith
MHSmith

 Alleged Charleston Gunman Fit a Familiar Pattern: Nova Psychologist




...At Nova Southeastern University, psychologist Scott Poland teaches and studies the minds of mass killers.

"It will be a long time before we have answers, if we’ll ever get answers about why this terrible crime was committed," he said.


But from what is known, Poland favors some possible motivations over others.

"One would be glory, the national attention and focus which unfortunately the shooter often gets... number two, some kind of grievance, anger, revenge, some kind of in justice."


As for a mental state, some are psychotic, some depressed but this one, Poland says, appears more of a psychopath.



* "Someone who believes they were superior, they did have the right to kill other people, especially other people that were another race."...



http://www.nbcmiami.com/news/local/Alleged-Charleston-Gunman-Fit-a-Familiar-Pattern-Nova-Psychologist-308310171.html



A former Lawyer of mine broke-down  what this "right to kill" really means in the mind of a "psychopath"

as he said, when a psychopath kills someone in their thinking they just did the world a favor, they have no remorse at all for doing what they think is doing good. 



straker
straker

Atlanta - "this sickening love for guns"


For the politicians, its their love for the generous campaign contributions they receive.

LilBarryBailout
LilBarryBailout

@straker

If you oppose guns, don't have one.

My gun ownership has no effect on you, so kindly mind your own business.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

Please do not minimize the fact that this young man dropped out of school because correct educational delivery was not utilized.  Please do not minimize the fact that this young man did not receive the mental health care he needed through the schools in which he had functioned before he dropped out.  Just the fact that he dropped out of school after having failed the 9th grade is critical to understand.  Thereafter, he became an isolated loner who found connection on white racist web sites.  Please listen to this educational leader of a quarter of a century, grades 1 - 12.  See my post below.

MHSmith
MHSmith

@MaryElizabethSings


I don't have to minimize the fact that this young man dropped out of school. If dropping out of school produced mass murderers the blood in the streets would be flowing high enough to reach the horses bridle.



This kid was mental challenged to say the least, I personally think he might be a "psychopath", which doesn't mean he doesn't know right from wrong or is just too dumb to control his actions.



The birth of a psychopath



Let's see how much remorse this kid shows for what he done, shall we?



The birth of a psychopathwww.cnn.com/2015/06/16/health/birth-of-psychopath/

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@MHSmith 


We must not minimize Dylann Roof's failure in school, and drop-out status, thereafter. Mental illness could also be true of him and, if that is true, his mental illness should have been recognized by his teachers, parents, and school counselors, and dealt with.


Of course, not all drop-outs become serial killers, but at least 80% of the incarcerated are high school drop-outs. We must start valuing, and speaking out for, the importance of having excellent teachers and the important of pinpointed instruction as an antidote to dysfunction in society whereby every student can meet with success. This success would help to assuage an individual's deeper problems, like racism, which often is caused by feelings of inferiority in one's self, projected onto others.

MHSmith
MHSmith

@FIGMO2


You are right and on more than one point. Taking all the guns and buying more schools teachers and school books that cannot teach the morals of love for life(every life) better understanding of all people and trust that can defeat fear is what we really need in this society to heal the country.


Wena Mow Masipa How
Wena Mow Masipa How

@FIGMO2

No, he couldn't just as easily have used a bomb. Which is why he didn't. He used something that was only marginally more difficult to obtain than candy.

schnirt

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@Wena Mow Masipa How "only marginally more difficult to obtain than candy"

I'll never understand why people bother to come on here and post comments that include claims so inane as to devalue anything else they might have had to say.

someonesdad
someonesdad

The NAACP is just happy that Rachel Dolezal got knocked out of the news...  Just a little bit.

Dusty2
Dusty2

Sad sad sad  so many losses here.  Prayerful people in worship, a young man who could have had a future,  all their families and the great riffs always caused by hate. We can only  continue the prayers that were stopped and try for a future of hope.


MLK said it for all times:  "We shall overcome."  Let us all work together  against the evils that arise against humanity..  .

332-206
332-206

Geez, Dusty. So well said.

AtlantaTruth
AtlantaTruth

He will die from lethal injection as he should.   His father who ILLEGALLY gave him the murder weapon will go to prison as well as an accessory to multiple murder.   Again, the NRA is to blame for this ongoing bloodbath in our country which no other developed, civilized, advanced society on the planet has anything close to regarding this sickening love for guns and the death they bring.    What a mockery.    Move on.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@AtlantaTruth

But will he die in our lifetime?

Not likely--thanks to a despicable criminal justice system that will grant him and his money-grubbing lawyers endless appeals.

lvg
lvg

@AtlantaTruth You are dreaming. Daddy is protected from prosecution by the NRA

n8diggidy
n8diggidy

@AtlantaTruth LOL, I see people start throwing up statistical comparisons (fancy lies) to other countries that are not identical to ours, all for the purpose of limiting gun ownership. I understand that criminal don't obey laws, only the law abiding obey them. That being said, I became a life time member of the NRA today.  It was $1,000 well spent to defend a freedom from knee jerk reactionaries all too willing to cede freedoms for false security.  

MetroPoliceOfficer
MetroPoliceOfficer

It's excuse time!!! Let's see what you people can come up with. Because OF COURSE there HAS to be something wrong with this young man. Let's just forget about the countless number of family members, friends, etc this devil has effected.

M.A.Ross
M.A.Ross

Based on information reported in the media, Roof was 21 y.o. and a 9th grader.  As a special educator his age and classification indicate that he possess some type of intellectual disability.  He may not have a clue as to what the flags mean that he wore. So why would his father  give him a gun for a birthday gift ? Was it his father's ideology?  It reminds me of the mother of the Sandy Hook shooter who would take him to the gun range with her to "relieve stress".  He had intellectual disability.   

DawgNole
DawgNole

@M.A.Ross: "He had intellectual disability."

______________________

What was his mom's excuse?

DS
DS

CNN is reporting that Roof was arrested in February and again in April. In the February arrest, he was found in possession of a drug called suboxone, which is used to treat opiate addition but that can also cause violent behavior.

It seems a high percentage of people who committed mass murders/shootings were also on some kind of drugs, like this one, or sometimes antidepressants. Not saying everyone on such meds will become a shooter, but it is worrisome, I think. There are heated debates about gun violence, but I don't hear much discussion about whether these drugs are really safe, given that they can cause violent behavior (suboxone) or a diminished sense of normal human empathy (some antidepressants). 

http://www.cnn.com/2015/06/18/us/charleston-south-carolina-shooting/index.html

MHSmith
MHSmith

@DS


I had hoped the anti-gun law crowd wouldn't get any blog time on this one Kyle - it ain't the time or place for it. The libs need to focus on the real problems: the fear, distrust and pent-up angst between our ethnicities  - NOT RACES. Communication is what can bring us together, silence and brooding can only worsen the problems and produce more, not less, of these ethnic killings and the kind of hate that triggers these actions in a society that has seemingly lost the value of a human being's life.


All drugs as all guns have the potential of being dangerous in the wrong hands, when used for the wrong purposes. I don't care to get into the on going debate between theology verses science about, is hate a mental illness or a demonic force such as evil. 




HST
HST

@DS In all fairness, it's under side affects of those drugs. How about the pilot who crashed Germanwings? He did everything but wave a white flag at his psychiatrist.  The small percentage of people who become this violent from such drugs do not outweigh the benefits. 

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

Ours is a society wherein someone thinks it funny to phone in a couple of bomb threats after the shooting.

A serious disconnect if you ask me. 

MHSmith
MHSmith

Look at the face on this kid. Did they look for the worst mentally depressed gaze they could find of the guy for media purposes? 


Nah, this one has multiple mental problems I'd venture to guess. When all the details come out that can be told are revealed what we'll see is a dark person behind that stare 

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

Very well said, Kyle.  Wise. Thank you, also, for pointing out the insignia on his jacket.  I had not realized those detailed facts.  


One additional thought - this "evil" may be a mental illness due to chemical imbalance.  I wanted to point out that possibility, too.  Darker mental illness appears as "evil" because it can be so disconnected from common human emotions such as love.

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@MaryElizabethSings The two are not mutually exclusive. Even if he is mentally ill -- which doesn't seem to be borne out by facts at this stage, but it's very, very early -- it could be evil that compelled him to act.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@Kyle_Wingfield


Hopefully, time will tell what this case is about, in depth.  


Recently, I have been watching CNN in which some seem to indicate this egregious act may be related to white racist group activity.  Will just have to wait to see for certain.  It is certainly a tragedy - for the victims and for our nation, as a whole, in that our common humanity is not being valued more than our smaller divisions to which we identify.  I wish all of us could simply identify as children of God.

HST
HST

@Kyle_Wingfield Really? You're going to use evil as a reason? Why not just say he's a lunatic and nothing justifies his actions? Evil - what an antiquated word.  

Atlanta Craker
Atlanta Craker

Remember, it's one young guy... Don't let the hacks use this as a catalyst.

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@Atlanta Craker As a catalyst for what ? Stricter gun control ?


It stopped being just "one young guy" a long long time ago


Shortly after Columbine I think



Atlanta Craker
Atlanta Craker

@HeadleyLamar @Atlanta Craker


So what is your resolution.. Kill all white males less that 22? Or take all weapons away from the American public?This country has 10,000 murders a day is is extremely violent.  In any society, you can never prevent this kind of behavior.. Russia, China and everyone else deals with this. The train bombings in Russia were awful.


Never good. How many people did our government kill in Iraq? How many American indians did the US govt kill? 


What is your point?

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@Kyle_Wingfield @Atlanta Craker Its 40 on average from what I found


Definitely not 10,000


According to data made available by the FBI, In 2011, an estimated 14,612 persons were murdered in the United States. (This is the most recent data available at the time of this writing).

HST
HST

Such a tragedy on so many perspectives and true regards to the lost and their families. Seriously f-(k_d up. 

CallMeStupid
CallMeStupid

My instincts tell there is much more to this story.  It makes me think about the picture of Jake Tapper in  Ferguson and the guy right behind him holding an ISIS HERE sign.

IReportYouWhine#1
IReportYouWhine#1

Why can't I get my Blackhawks avatar to appear in the comment section? It's already up in the ajc header, right next to the subscribe now button.

HST
HST

@HeadleyLamar If I would have seen such an act or was witnessing one, there'd be no bad guy. Armed citizens are one of the basic principles for our society in the U.S. 

HST
HST

@332-206 @HeadleyLamar I'm a seasoned combat soldier that's currently on leave. I'm not playing a fictitious role or character. I draw my weapon with intent. I've misfired before and so has anyone who handles firearms daily or actively. My gun and actions are what lets you have such opinions. The world is not free. 

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@HST @HeadleyLamar  If I would have seen such an act or was witnessing one, there'd be no bad guy.


This John Wayne stuff just doesn't fly. Maybe you would have shot him. Maybe he would have killed you first and then used your gun to kill even more people


If guns made us safe America would be the safest place on earth.


it isn't by a long shot.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_firearm-related_death_rate


Obama is correct in pointing out this doesnt happen at nearly the rate in other advanced countries


Are we just unlucky ? Or are they doing something different ?

HST
HST

@HeadleyLamar America was founded with bravery, and nothing to do with the "safest" place to be. I assure you the world is much more dangerous than you think. People die all the time and they're not part of some consensus. Grow up. Get out and see the world...

332-206
332-206

@HST @332-206 @HeadleyLamar

Dear Seasoned:

Did my Vietnam tour with the 82nd. Followed that up with a career in law enforcement.

Thank you for your service.

Ralph-43
Ralph-43

@HeadleyLamar Thanks Headley for your in-put.  It takes courage to speak out against the silliness and anger of the gun crowd.  How much data and information do they need to convince them that more guns will NEVER bring peace?  Any soldier stationed in a war zone knows how close our country is to open anarchy.  In fact, may of the comments regarding 'freedom' refer to a desire for anarchy.  Thanks again.

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@Ralph-43 @HeadleyLamar Thank you Ralph


Although if i'm honest it doesn't take much courage to sit behind this keyboard.


And Kyle has always been a good host here. We definitely don't see eye to eye on much but he allows me to express my opinion freely. 


And thank you for responding. Its nice to know there are like minded people out there.