SO MANY WARNING SIGNS; TROUBLED YOUNG MAN
I AIN'T BUYING IT FOLKS!
(FULL DISCLOSURE: I’m writing this after having attended Kathy Griffin’s politically and radically incorrect performance at the Kennedy Center last night, so my mindset is not in a forgiving mood. I’m fired up about bullshit.)
Watching Fox News Sunday this morning and sure enough the terms of the conversation about Dylann Roof included: young man, troubled, disturbed, deranged. Here’s a short post I penned on the Huffington Post a couple of days ago:
Scott Sorg So are we going to call him a "terrorist" or a "thug" or simply a "confused young man?" Let's watch and see. I'm betting the latter.
So how brilliant am I? OK, so not really. This is how the media describes mass murderers and domestic terrorists when they are White. If you don’t believe me, check out the terms used to describe James Holmes who killed twelve people at the Century Movie Theater in Aurora, Colorado, a couple of years ago. When murderers are Black, terms such as “animals” and “thugs” are used, just as Roof did in his manifesto.
If you read Roof’s manifesto as I have, you will find that it is not delusional, doesn’t appear to be the product of a deranged mind nor the product of someone who has a mental illness. On the contrary, it is a reasonably cogent explication for why he found it necessary to kill nine Black people at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston.
Now, his views, his view of the real world, are indeed delusional and pretty much mirror the disturbing rants of the radical, far right wing, fascist blogs and web sites that I’ve visited. (Note: The NSA must be very confused about my political leanings since I regularly visit the American Nazi Party and the Tea Party’s home pages as well as Addicting Info and MoveOn.org’s web sites.) On the other hand, if you listen to Rush Limbaugh who daily proclaims that “liberals are destroying America” it’s difficult for me to see all that much daylight between Rush’s view of the world (which is delusional) and Roof’s. Now, the media doesn’t call Rush “disturbed” or “deranged” or “troubled,” primarily, I suppose, because as far as I know Rush hasn’t yet gunned down other human beings. My point, however, is that Rush knows exactly what he’s doing and gets paid millions annually for it. He’s not delusional, no one claims that Rush has a mental illness even though his view that “liberals are destroying America” is unarguably delusional given the past forty years of conservative rule here in America.
So why then, when Roof’s world view – like Rush’s – is clearly delusional, the media somehow pardons Roof as being a “troubled young man?” I’ve never heard George Zimmerman called a “troubled young man” in the media even though subsequent events in his life do indeed point in this direction. Trayvon Martin, on the other hand, was called a thug. Go figure.
And let’s deal with the “there were warning signs all over the place” that Chris Wallace declared this morning on Fox News. From what I’ve read so far, Roof had a couple of brushes with the law over trespassing. But no arrests. His friends – or one friend, at least - have said that he voiced negative opinions about Black people but they dismissed them as just words. Roof was drunk, one friend said. Minor drug use but no arrests. Alcohol consumption. If these are the signs of a disturbed, mentally deficient, delusional “young man” then we must also consider all the hundreds of thousands – if not millions – of other young, White, American youth who display precisely the same characteristics. Are they all, therefore, potential mass murderers? Is there some other conclusion one can draw?
I’ve also seen comments about how the very fact that he murdered nine people is proof that he is insane. Really? Then what about all the other murderers – 14,000 murders are committed annually – in the nation? Are they all insane too? If so, why, then, don’t they all plead insanity when they come to trial? The insanity plea is used in only 1% of all criminal cases, is successful 26% of the time and 90% effective when a criminal has been previously diagnosed with a mental illness.
This whole “conversation” on Fox, in the press, in the media, simply avoids the fundamental question of “how and why did this twenty-one year old White man come to believe that Black people were “taking over the country,” raping White women, and how and why did he find it necessary to attempt to foment a race war?” So far, the media, politicians, pundits have basically proclaimed: "We'll never know." But this defies rational analysis even with the limited information about Dylann that we know. Dylann Roof is neither insane nor delusional. Misguided? Yes. Subject to seductive conspiracy theories? Yes. Too willing to believe the loony ravings of radical right wing groups? Yes. Too inexperienced to be able separate fact from fiction? Yes.
But insane? No. Not insane.
The answer is staring all of us in the face. It’s not a big mystery. Ask Rush. He holds many of the same delusional views as does Dylann Roof and to “pardon” either one of them is to consciously deny the corrosive influence that Rush, Westboro Baptist Church, the Ku Klux Klan, the American Nazi Party, White Aryan Resistance, National Socialist American Labor Party, etc. have on the minds, thinking and views of people. Particularly of young people.
I’m not buying the deranged, insane, young man. It’s bullshit. He too, like Rush, knew exactly what he was doing.