Hate Crime Or Terrorism: Charleston Shooting


This tragedy has actually hit many nerves in my body. As a black woman myself, I feel that rage that many other people, regardless of the ethnicity of the individual, on the 17th June 2015 when the suspected gunman Dylann Roof, 21, went into the historical Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, and killed nine people. All were African-American and four of them were reverends.

This incident has provoked the debate of what is considered as terrorism, with people, which includes Charleston’s City Police Chief, Gregory Mccullen, describing the killings as a “hate crime”. On an article that was published on the 18th June 2015 by BBC Newsbeat, going into detail about how the Charleston shootings relates to this debate. 

People hear the commotions and people witness the repercussions of the actions that occurs, but at the end, we always think to ourselves what was the main agenda behind it. That question decides whether it’s a terrorist attack or a hate crime.

If that individual’s agenda was to target a particular group/race/ethnicity etc. Then it can be strongly argued that it’s a hate crime. Many articles have reported that when a man plead to him to stop, the suspect [Dylan Roof] refused and said “You rape our women. And you’re taking over our country. And you have to go.” This implies that he feels that African-Americas/black people are doing this and could lead to the main reason of doing this. Considering that his roommate said that he was “planning something like this for six months and wanted to spark a civil war” and Raf Sanchez, a journalist from The Telegraph, outlined Roof’s white supremacist views, it seems that Roof’s main agenda of doing this was based on a discrimination of a particular race.

Yes, people could argue that because he killed nine people, which can be considered as a mass murder, which is what a terrorism act mainly involves, however like said before, it’s the agendas and also the thoughts of the person doing the crime that determines whether it is a hate crime or a terrorism attack. All the evidence outline Roof’s motive as a ploy to kill a certain race due to the views he had on segregation etc. And frankly, it is not like he woke up and decided to just do it, he planned it. So in my eyes as well as many others, this is a hate crime.

One Comment Add yours

  1. jonolan says:

    “Hate Crime” is a meaningless phrase, used properly only in legalistic terms and then only in an attempt to criminal thought. As for “terrorism” – that’s even more meaningless in some ways because there’s no good, working definition of terrorism that doesn’t involve the acts and sowing of fear being perpetrated by a government; all other pseudo-definitions being closer to that of pornography, i.e., you know it when you see but can’t objectively qualify it in any many that will garner general acceptance.

    Of course, you also left out “freedom fighter” since he was a “guerrilla” fighter trying to save his nation from what amounts to foreign aggressors. Yeah, that’ll piss you off but consider that, if the races were reversed you and other Blacks would be excusing his actions and using the phrase “freedom fighter” and others like it just like your kind does whenever any group of you chooses to riot.

    And the end of the day, he was just a murderer. All other terms are just agenda-driven labels to be hung upon him for someone’s perceived gains.


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