Dylann Storm Roof: The Man Behind the Trigger
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Politics and Activism

Dylann Storm Roof: The Man Behind the Trigger

Who was Dylann Storm Roof? Why commit such a heinous attack?

Dylann Storm Roof: The Man Behind the Trigger

“I have no choice. I am not in the position to, alone, go into the ghetto and fight,” the author of the text writes. “I chose Charleston because it is most historic city in my state, and at one time had the highest ratio of blacks to Whites in the country. We have no skinheads, no real KKK, no one doing anything but talking on the Internet. Well someone has to have the bravery to take it to the real world, and I guess that has to be me.”

These words were proudly typed and displayed to Dylann Storm Roof’s blog on thelastrhodesian.com before he made his journey to Charleston. He entered Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church on Wednesday June 17 to attend worship services and a Bible study, armed with a concealed .45 caliber Glock pistol. The parishioners of this historically black Charleston center of faith welcomed him with open arms and took him in and treated him as nothing less than one of their own fellow parishioners and family members.

In the Bible study following the worship services, Storm drew his handgun, told the victims, “I have to do it. You’re raping our women and you’re taking over the country,” and opened fire on those in the Bible study, claiming nine lives, including that of Reverend Clement C. Pinckney, church pastor and state senator, before making his exit from the church and fleeing the scene.

After family members positively identified him on the surveillance footage, Storm was arrested four hours from Charleston in Shelby, N.C. for his act of terrorism. A search of his black Hyundai on the arrest scene turned up a .45 caliber pistol with ammunition.

This story took no time to go viral and become the highest profile case in the United States, especially in light of the recent spike in United States racial tensions following the death of Michael Brown at the hands of Ferguson, Missouri police officer Darren Wilson. However, what we know from the story itself is that we have nine African American victims killed in a historically black place of worship at the hands of a young white male in a historic southeastern U.S. city. We are all easily led to the conclusion that this was no random act, nor was it a personal attack to the nine victims whose lives were claimed.

This was a racially motivated act of terrorism and should, undoubtedly, be seen and treated as such. Shortly after being detained, Roof proclaimed that this act of terrorism was his plan of action to ignite a race war, a modern day reflection of Helter Skelter -- Charles Manson’s plot to start a race war in 1969, and the African American serial killer, John Allen Muhammed, the D.C. sniper, who claimed the lives of 10 and injured three white victims with racially charged motives.

There’s a lot more to this story than the facts we see from the crime scene and the arrest, and to really have a grip on this story and case -- as well as what could possibly be a future attack -- we should look into the personal life of Dylann Storm and what led him to become the domestic terrorist I’ll plainly refer to by name.

Dylann Storm Roof was a 21-year-old South Carolina resident, high school drop out, and self-proclaimed white supremacist. He frequently visited Confederate Civil War museums, Old South museums and landmarks with historical significance to the institutions of slavery and segregation, and was outspoken on his belief in white supremacy on his Tumblr and Last Rhodesian blogs.

“The whole racist thing came into him within the past five years. He was never really popular; he accepted that. He wasn’t like ‘When I grow up I am going to show all these kids.’ He accepted who he was and who he was changed obviously.”

This is what Caleb Brown, a bi-racial childhood friend of Dylann’s, had to say when he was asked about the character of Storm.

Where did it all start? As a popular mantra that “No one is born racist” we are shown just that. Dylann Roof was not always the man we see on the news today, but he underwent some changing, a transitional period to become the racial terrorist he is today. On his blog, he posted a manifesto of his racist beliefs. His carefully thought out and planned attacks, and system of beliefs he claims, began in 2012 when the Trayvon Martin murder case acquitted neighborhood watch security guard, George Zimmerman. Storm said the controversy surrounding the case didn’t make sense to him as he saw it as cut and dry that Zimmerman was innocent and acting out of self-defense. Storm went on to state that it ignited “his racist fire” and it was from there he began his major transition.

Over the next few years of his life we see that Storm’s life quickly became that of a hopeless, and failing individual. He dropped out of high school, and became acquainted with the handcuffs he will be wearing every day for the rest of his life. Storm was picked up and arrested for drug possession, harassment of mall employees, and criminal trespass within the last year.

Storm’s blogs account for his actions and feeling over the last few years leading up to this tragic event. From the photos of him proudly displaying a .45 caliber Glock in one hand, and a Confederate flag in the other, to his lengthy rants and ramblings on white supremacy, to his “vacation photos” at Confederate Civil War and slavery museums. Storm displays great mental tact and ability that should dismiss his case of mental illness.

This attack has come in the heat of an exponential spike in racial tensions in the United States with the deaths of several unarmed African Americans at the hands of police forces -- and Storm knew just that. He discussed his reasoning for picking this very moment in time was because of that and his choice in city was due to it being the most historic city in his state and at one point having the highest number of black to white ratio of citizens in the country. He was not sick, but a terroristic man greatly disturbed.

Currently charged with nine counts of murder and one count of possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony. He deserves nothing shy of life without parole. Seeing as though he lives in South Carolina, and the attack took place in South Carolina, he is facing the death penalty with the choice between lethal injection and electrocution. Personally, I won’t lose sleep if he is sentenced to death row.

Storm proves to have been nothing more than a ticking time bomb that needed no external ignition. He was set to detonate, and he did just that.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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