â€” Andon’s Dadâ„¢ (@BrewStudNo1) June 18, 2015
On Wednesday night, South Carolinaâ€™s governor Nikki Haley trotted out a boilerplate statement, calling the shooting a â€œsenseless tragedy.â€ One could excuse this choice of words as a rushed assumption issued in real time, but as more and more details about Dylann Roof surfaced, conservatives refused to face the music. One by one, politicians and pundits acted like this terrorist act was one of lifeâ€™s great unsolvable mysteries.
â€œWe don’t know the motivation of the person who did it,” Rudy Guiliani said yesterday. “Maybe he hates Christian churches. Maybe he hates black churches or he’s gonna go find another one. Who knows.” Donald Trump, in a tweet yesterday, said the crime was â€œincomprehensible.â€
Last night, a Wall Street Journal columnist wrote: “What causes young men such as Dylann Roof to erupt in homicidal rage, whatever their motivation, is a problem that defies explanation beyond the reality that evil still stalks humanity. It is no small solace that in committing such an act today, he stands alone.”
At this point, Roofâ€™s bigotry has become clear in myriad ways. Yet as late as this afternoon, when cornered by a reporter and asked if the shooting was racially motivated, presidential candidateJeb Bush said â€œI donâ€™t know.â€ This means Bush is either incapable of basic logic, or he has willfully decided to blind and deafen himself to one of the nationâ€™s biggest problems.
The “why” is simple, really. If you’ve been campaigning on racist dogwhistles for umpteen years and are trying to appeal to a voter base of bigots, acknowledging racism is political suicide. Live by the dogwhistle, die by the dogwhistle.