What makes someone hate another race for no apparent reason–a blanket hate most people can’t fathom or understand? Apparently, Dylann Storm Roof was known to his close friends to be a racist. It’s uncertain what his relationship is with his father, but, unfortunately, he was given the murder weapon– a.45 caliber handgun –for his twenty-first birthday. The devastation that gun in the hands of a racist created wreaked havoc with people’s lives. He killed nine people– aged 26 to 87 –gunning them down because of their race at a prayer meeting. A prayer meeting that he was welcomed to attend by seemingly kind people who were members at the historic Emanuel AME Church in Charleston.
The loner Roof allegedly grew up in a fractured, unstable home in which he was allegedly raised by a violent father who beat up his stepmother and hired a private detective to follow her when they split. Franklin Bennett Roof, 52, Dylann’s father, allegedly was mentally and physically abusive to his wife, Paige. The 10-year marriage ended in a vicious, violent assault, according to the Daily Mail.
Any chance at stability in Dylann’s life ended with the 2009 divorce. His main anchor in life was a father, a builder, who was away travelling for four days each week with his construction company. Dylann spent his days taking drugs and playing video games while his father was away, barely attending school. He attended White Knoll High School in Lexington, but dropped out after repeating the ninth grade, and was said to be unemployed.
According to friends of Dylann Storm Roof, they knew he was a racist. One friend, Joseph Meek, took Roof’s.45 Glock birthday present from him once when Roof was in a drunken rage. Before Meek took the gun, Roof had stated racist remarks about segregation and killing people, a mere two weeks before the bloodbath that he created. Meek, who is white, stated the following according to the Daily News.
“He [Roof] said he was planning for about six months to do something crazy. He wanted it to be segregated. He wanted it to be white with the white, black with the black. All the races segregated. He wanted to do something big, like the Trayvon Martin case [referring to the unarmed black teen gunned down in 2012 in Florida by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman]. He was upset about it. It made him mad….I only took it away because he was drunk. I didn’t take him seriously. I do feel a little guilty because I could have let someone know.”
Once a surveillance video was made public, Meek did call the FBI to help identify Roof. Roof’s uncle, Carson Cowles, indicated that he believes it was the first gun his nephew owned, and Roof seemed fascinated by it and could barely put it down when he received it. Cowles stated that his nephew seemed happy about his new acquisition and the target practice he started.
Why would someone give a gun to someone with no prior gun experience–and someone who makes violent statements? Did Roof’s father know about his son’s violent thoughts and pervasive racism? Cowles noted that the family members are trying to see how they missed any red flags regarding roof that led to the horrific massacre.
Cowles said that he wasn’t aware that Roof had any hatred for blacks, as Dylann was quiet and kept to himself. To his knowledge, Roof did not have any diagnosed mental condition. Cowles stated the following, according to the Daily News.
“My family is nothing like this. We could’ve never seen anything like this–no way, shape or form….He’s [Dylann Roof is] a monster…and he needs to pay for what he’s done.”
Dalton Tyler, 20, another friend of Dylann Roof stated that Roof talked openly about wanting segregation and his desire to start a civil war. He recalled Roof once yelling a racial slur and threatening a black woman for merely looking at him, and he stated the following according to the Daily News.
“He told her, ‘What the f**k you looking at, n****r! I’ll shoot your a**.”
It’s not clear yet if Roof had any known ties to white supremacist groups. But there were hints even on his Facebook page that he hated black people. In a profile photo, he posed scowling and wearing a black jacket emblazoned with an apartheid-era South African flag and another representing the former white supremacist African state of Rhodesia, which is now Zimbabwe.
He has now been charged with nine counts of murder and has reportedly confessed to the shootings.
His background is of interest not to make excuses for his violent, racist behavior. Instead, do you believe that there is a way to try to stop such individuals by studying their backgrounds before they act on their violent instincts? Should friends and relatives report violent threats to the authorities? Please leave your comments below.
According to an article in the Inquisitr, the judge in the Charleston shooting case opened Friday’s bond hearing for the alleged killer of nine, 21-year-old Dylann Roof, by lecturing a courtroom packed with family members of the people slain in the racially-motivated hate crime that Roof’s family members are also “victims” in the incident.
Do you think that it was appropriate for the judge to even mention Roof’s relatives, calling them victims, especially considering the nine innocent lives lost and what their friends and family must suffer?
[Photos Courtesy Facebook]