On June 17, a white supremacist, Dylann Roof shot and killed 9 African-American people including a senior pastor and state senator in a Church in Charleston, South Carolina state, USA.
This mass shooting has once again raised debates over racism and gun-violence in USA. Though some conservatives who hold that racism in America is a thing of the past tried to paint the shooting as an assault on Christian religion(as it was a Church), it was fairly obvious that the attack was a hate crime fuelled by racism.
The Church has a historic significance as one of the oldest black churches in US and has long been a site for community organization around civil rights for black people. The black community in USA had long suffered racism in the country and have gained basic rights in 1960s after the civil rights movement led by Martin Luther King Jr. This particular Church had been target of attack many times in the past by racists from White community; this latest attack opens those healing wounds. Recently the race tension between communities has been rising with the killing of many unarmed black men by cops in America like the famous case of Ferguson, Missouri.
The murderer is said to have been suffering from mental illness. However, most states in America do not bar mentally ill people from getting their hands on guns. This is because of the view that the 2nd Amendment in US constitution gives all its citizens the right to bear arms. This extreme reading of the provision without any nuance or context has led to proliferation of guns in the country. There are over 300 million guns with civilians in America. This easy access to guns is leading to gun violence and mass shootings, the Charleston church shooting is one of those unfortunate but totally avoidable killing of innocents.
The motive for the attack is to ignite a ‘race’ war. However the large number of people who came to pray at the church said that the gunman has failed miserably in his quest to break their spirit of love and faith. They prayed together for those who departed.
Nikki Haley is the governor of South Carolina. She is the only Indian-American woman to ever become the governor of a state in USA.