His picture is all over the Internet. Reporters are looking into his sick, tortured background. His father bought him a .45 caliber hand gun for his 21st birthday. He hated African-Americans. He plotted murder. He left three witnesses to tell of his wicked deed. He believes he succeeded.
He killed nine God-fearing men and women in a beautiful, historic church in Charleston, S.C. Emanuel A.M.E. Church is sacred ground. It was once burned to the ground by white supremacists. This latest twisted soul claims he had to kill black people because they were taking jobs from white people and raping women. Complete and utter nonsense.
Twelve people had gathered to study God’s word. To pray and to seek God’s favor. They welcomed him in as Christians are called to do. Love your fellow man. Minister to those in need. Be a comfort in a time of storm.
He sat in their midst for one hour before he stood up and began to shoot. The storm raging in his body would not be quieted. I will not dignify his acts by speaking his name.
Attorney General Loretta Lynch declared his act a hate crime. But this 21-year-old monster will not get the victory. Hearts are broken, as they were in Sandy Hook, in Columbine and in so many places where gunmen have inflicted their rage upon innocents.
The church’s pastor, S.C. state senator Clementa Pinckney was among those killed. He was leading the bible study. Cynthia Hurd, Susie Jackson, Ethel Lance, Rev. DePayne Middleton-Doctory, Tywanza Sanders, Rev. Daniel Simmons, Rev. Sharonda Singleton and Myra Thompson were all murdered.
In processing the evil of this deed, one can’t help but draw a parallel to the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham in 1963. On that September morning five little girls were in the ladies room preparing for Sunday services when a bomb exploded, killing 11-year-old Denise McNair and 14-year-olds Addie Mae Collins, Carole Robertson and Cynthia Wesley. Sarah Collins, Addie Mae’s younger sister, was badly injured and lost an eye.
The message that morning: “A Love that Forgives.”
But the Klan members who planted the bomb didn’t realize their act would backfire. When people saw dead children being carried from the rubble, the Civil Rights Movement was galvanized. What those men meant for evil, God meant for good.
Hate never prevails.