Dylann Roof was very clear that, when he opened fire in a South Carolina church, his goal was to start a race war — but if you ask conservatives, the Confederacy-worshipping white man was a Muslim extremist targeting Christians, or even…
Sure, Roof may have told his future victims that they “raped our [white] women, and you are taking over the country. I have to do what I have to do.”
Some of the Right’s 2016 presidential hopefuls — like Lindsey Graham — maintain that, despite the fact that Roof was clearly a racist, right-wing terrorist who clearly stated that he wanted to kill some black people, he was “looking for Christians to kill them.”
This narrative was also pushed by Rick Santorum, who asserts (in spite of reality) that this was an assault on “our religious liberty we’ve never seen before.”
According to Fox News, not only was this an attack on the Christian faith — but the attack, which left nine dead, was evidence that pastors should stockpile guns.
Jeb Bush, unwilling to admit that this racially-motivated shooting was a product of the shooter’s white supremacist leanings, took what he probably considered to be the safe route: He feigned ignorance…not that “ignorance” is a stretch for a man who once complained that society doesn’t shame single moms enough.
On Friday, Bush told attendees at a Faith and Freedom Coalition summit in Washington that he doesn’t “know what was on the mind or the heart of the man who committed these atrocious crimes” — even though Roof was very clear about what was on his mind.
“They were praying. They were learning and studying the word of the Lord,” Bush said in his speech. “In times like these, in times of great of national mourning, people of faith, all of us must come together and at least reflect on this and fortify our strength and love of Christ, love of God to be able to continue to go forth.” While Bush was certain to note that the killings occurred in a church, he stopped just short of echoing Santorum and Graham’s wild assertions.
HuffPo’s Laura Bassett asked Bush directly if there was a racial component:
By contrast, presidential candidate Bernie Sanders said in a statement:
“The hateful killing of nine people praying inside a church is a horrific reminder that, while we have made significant progress in advancing civil rights in this country, we are far from eradicating racism.”
One must wonder why the Right insists on refusing to accept that an attack is racially-motivated, even when the shooter openly admits that it is.
Perhaps it’s a fear that their base will realize they lied when they claimed racism is over. Perhaps it’s because, as science verifies, that conservatism and racism go hand-in hand, but the right-wingers are simply too stupid to realize that they are racists. Perhaps, if conservatives admitted this shooting– one in which the gun was purchased legally through the exploitation of a legal loophole — was truly committed by a right-wing ammosexual racist with easy access to guns, it would destroy a carefully-constructed false narrative almost entirely.
Whatever the reason, the reaction to this act of right-wing terrorism from conservatives serves as evidence of how detached from reality they truly are.