Dylann Storm Roof. That’s the three-name nom de guerre of the latest mass murderer to open fire on innocent, unsuspecting victims. The 21 year-old killer bought a gun with his birthday money. Then, on Wednesday, he sat in a pew at Charleston, South Carolina’s Emanuel AME Church during a Bible study.
After nearly an hour, Roof almost turned aside from his evil mission. They were, he admitted, exceptionally virtuous people. Then, he shot nine of them because, he said, Black people were “taking over America.”
CNN.com reported, “According to a CBS News report, earlier this year when cops searched Roof after he was acting suspiciously inside a Bath and Body Works store, they found “orange strips” that Roof told officers was suboxone, a narcotic that is used to treat opiate addiction. Suboxone is a habit-forming drug that has been connected with sudden outbursts of aggression.”
Roof stated that his intention was “to start a race war.”
At his pre-trial hearing, victims’ family members said they forgave him. Another said that forgiveness was granted only on condition that he repent. The Black guard standing behind Roof (understandably) rolled his eyes.
Some blame this massacre on easy access to guns. I don’t know what South Carolina’s gun laws say, but how did Roof legally purchase a gun when he had been arrested for drug possession? Did someone miss his prescription for the notorious drug suboxone which, according to readers posting on CNN’s article site, claim that it almost instantly transformed loved ones into violent maniacs?
Before we get the guns off the street, why don’t we try getting the drug pushers – and their customers – off the streets first? Why don’t we rescind the legislation legalizing recreational drugs and make doctors more accountable for the prescriptions they write? Why don’t we education parents on the need monitor the Prozac, Paxil and other drugs used for depression and anxiety in their medicine cabinet?
Paxil isn’t dangerous when used properly. But it is addictive and can cause serious withdrawal reactions if patients suddenly stop taking it, without informing their doctors. Prozac is easily the most available depression medication, popular since the Nineties. These medications act as sedatives which can cause depression in young people.
Drugs. Guns. Video games. We’re doing something wrong as a Society when so many people, especially young people, are either so depressed that they want to commit suicide or so angry that they want to commit murder.
We still haven’t learned much about Roof’s background. Someone – either on television or the radio – stated that their child went to school with Roof and that he was disturbed back then. Some childhood friends said he only recently began espousing racist views.
Why did he choose to stalk his prey in a church? An historic church, as it turns out. Was that why he selected that locale (being a local); because it was the first African-American church in the United States begun by former Black slaves? Was he making a statement and wanted to fire the first shot of his personal war in the aisles of this particular church? Who really wants to explore the mind of a mass murderer?
All those who truly follow Christ are God’s sons and daughters, regardless of their race, nationality, or sex. Roof disturbed the peace of one of God’s holy places and shed innocent blood on sacred ground. Blacks have historically sought sanctuary from oppression in the shelter of Jesus Christ. That is what the Christmas song, O Holy Night, states: “And in His Name, all oppression shall cease.”
“Jehovah will become a secure refuge for the oppressed, A secure refuge in times of distress.” Psalm 9:9
“From oppression and from violence he will rescue them, And their blood will be precious in his eyes.” Psalm 72:14
“I am the door [the sheep door]; whoever enters through me will be saved, and that one [shepherd] will go in and out and find pasturage. The thief does not come unless it is to steal and slay and destroy. I have come that they [his sheep] may have life and have it in abundance. I am the Good Shepherd; the good shepherd surrenders his life in behalf of the sheep. The hired man, who is not a shepherd and to whom the sheep do not belong, sees the wolf coming and abandons the sheep and flees – and the wolf snatches them and scatters them – because he is a hired man and does not care for the sheep. I am the Good Shepherd. I know my sheep and my sheep know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father, and I surrender my life in behalf of the sheep. And I have other sheep, which are not of this fold [of Israel]; those too I must bring in, and they will listen to my voice, and they will become one flock, [with] one shepherd.” John 10:9-16
Roof considers himself a race warrior. The families of his victims have forgiven him for a crime for which he has not yet (and probably never will) repented.
If Roof does not repent, a day will come when he’ll be sorry; for all the good that contrition will do him then, having once boasted of slaughtering God’s lambs.