Murder in a house of God - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

Murder in a house of God

“You are taking over our country.”  Y’all want something to pray about?  I’ll give you something to pray about.”  Those words reportedly spoken by white racist and psychotic sociopath, Dylann Roof.  Then he opened fire Wednesday night with a .45 caliber semiautomatic pistol and murdered nine members of a bible study group inside Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C.

Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C. (Wikipedia)

Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C. (Wikipedia)

There is something unnerving about being murdered in cold blood in a church.  A church is a sacred place where people go to pray to God and study the bible.  Clementa Pinckney, Sharonda Coleman, Cynthia Hurd, Susie Jackson, Ethel Lance, DePayne Middleton, Tywanza Sanders, Myra Thompson and Daniel Simmons, were unaware that in their midst was a sick twisted human being who harbored intense hatred of other human beings just because the color of their skin was darker than his.

What happened Wednesday night in Charleston, S.C. was nothing new in the history of black folks living in this country.  Being dragged from their churches and beaten and murdered throughout American history is something that they have endured since the founding of the country.  Their churches were burned to the ground by the likes of the Ku Klux Klan and other white racists.

Black folks have fought for this country in every war the United States has ever waged.  But when they returned home they were awarded by being treated like animals. That is history and history is the past.  But this is 2015 and the hate is still alive and well with some twisted sick Americans.

As time goes on we will learn more about Dylann Roof and what led him down a path of racist violence.  Does it really matter though?  From my point of view I see just another crazed crackpot.  What motivated Roof to take the life of nine good people inside a house of worship doesn’t really matter to me.  What matters is that hate in any form and against any individual for any reason is something humanity will have to cope with long after I am gone.

I heard Charleston County Chief Magistrate, James Goswell, recently speak about the “victims on the other side,” referring to Dylann Roof’s family.  Gosnell was out of line.  I don’t give a damn about his family, who is alive and well.  I care about the victims who were killed by their son and their families.

The media is reporting that Roof’s father allegedly gave him the gun as a birthday gift that he used on Wednesday night or gave him money which he used to purchase the weapon.  I wonder what the investigation will uncover.  Did his family know of his hatred for blacks?  And if so why would they allow him to have a weapon.

And as is the case with many of these cowardly shooters, after the incident happens then we here from their friends who state that the shooter was talking about killing people for some time.  And as usual none of these jackasses thought about notifying law enforcement.

The media and the politicians can’t let a tragedy go to waste.  Gun control has to be brought up.  I wonder if Dylann Roof knew that a church was a “gun-free zone.”  After all, if I were going to plan to kill some people I would like to know if the place I chose is a gun free zone.  Who is going to stop me once I start shooting?  Nobody?  Because only I will be breaking the law by carrying a concealed weapon into this gun-free zone.

It has been reported that Roof reloaded several times as he went on his killing spree.  In an active shooter incident you only have three options; flee, hide or fight.  What if a church wasn’t a gun-free zone?  Maybe then a citizen with a concealed weapons permit could have intervened, specifically as Roof was reloading his weapon.

We live in different times now.  Violence seems to be getting worse.  Violence is in the music our children listen to, in the video games they play and in the movies they watch.  And we wonder why so many young people resort to violence.

We have gun laws in this country in all fifty states.  How is it that criminals are armed better than the police?  We don’t need new gun laws; we need to enforce the ones we already have.  Talk of disarming law abiding citizens when criminals in this country run rampant using illegal weapons makes no sense to me.

You may not agree with the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution but it is a right that has been upheld by the Supreme Court.  I have a problem with anyone who wants to start screwing with our constitutional rights.  First take the guns away then what comes next; freedom of speech and freedom of the press?

When you look back in history and read about the thousands of black folks that were victims of the KKK and other racists, I wonder if it would have been different if the black folks were armed back then.  Maybe we would have had a lot less pointed head idiots and racists!

Anyone who breaks the law will be accountable for their actions.  It doesn’t make a difference whether it is a racist or anti-government fanatic.  And while I am on the subject of anti-government fanatics let me say something about two police officers who lost their life a little over one year ago.

On June 8, 2014 Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Officers Alyn Beck and Igor Soldo were assassinated while eating lunch in a local pizza shop.  They were ambushed by Jerad Miller and his wife, who after killing the two officers placed the Revolutionary War Gadsden flag over one of the dead officers and a Nazi Swastika over the other.

Just a few weeks prior to killing the police officers Jerad Miller was one of hundreds of “patriots” as Sean Hannity called them night after night, who were at the Bundy Ranch in Nevada supporting the Bundy’s fight with the Bureau of Land Management?   What they were really there for was to defend Cliven Bundy, a racist, against federal agents and the police.

Jerad Miller was a convicted felon and was interviewed while at the Bundy Ranch by Al Jazeera carrying an AK-47 style assault rifle over his shoulder. He also walked around his apartment complex in Las Vegas sporting a handgun on his hip.  A convicted felon, Miller knew he could not be in spitting distance of a firearm, but again why would a criminal follow the law?

Militia groups from across the country as well as other anti-government extremists and crackpots were filmed day after day by the national news media pointing weapons at federal agents and local police.  LVMPD officers who were at the scene stated they were in fear of their life.  To this day no charges have been brought against any individual.

I wonder if a black rancher had called in the Nation of Islam to defend him from the government and blacks were pointing assault rifles and sniper rifles at the police and federal agents, if the outcome would have been different.

How do you stop mass shootings or any shootings in public places?  There really is no one answer.  Armed security and metal detectors are a deterrent, but that is not a panacea.  If someone is intent on committing violence they will, no amount of security will deter them, although security is better than nothing.

How far do we want to go to protect our churches, buildings and public areas?  We may be left with no choice but to have armed security in all buildings open to the public.

Good people; the nine dead victims inside that church.  Good people; the families of those killed who stood in court yesterday and told Dylann Roof that they forgive him.  Can you believe that?  I can tell you something, and that is that they are far better people than I am, because I could never forgive anyone under those circumstances.

Yes racism is still alive and well in this country.  But things have changed somewhat and that is evident by the outpouring of support to the victims and their families by people of all races.

To the government of South Carolina, take that Confederate flag down.  Yes, that flag is part of American history and as I said earlier history is in the past.


About the author

Doug Poppa

Doug Poppa is a US Army Military Police Veteran, former law enforcement officer, criminal investigator and private sector security and investigations management professional with 40 years of experience. In 1986 Mr. Poppa was awarded “Criminal Investigator of the Year” by the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office in Virginia for his undercover work in narcotics enforcement. He was also re-assigned to the Northern Virginia Regional Narcotics Enforcement Task Force for 18 months. In 1991 and again in 1992 Mr. Poppa’s testimony under oath in court led to the discovery that exculpatory evidence was withheld from the defense by the prosecutor and sheriff’s office officials during the 1988 trial of a man accused of attempted murder of his wife that led to his conviction. As a result of his testimony the man was ordered released from prison, given a new trial in 1992 and found not guilty. Mr. Poppa became the subject of local and national news media attention as a result of his testimony which led to the demise of his 12-year police career. After losing his job, at the request of the FBI, Mr. Poppa infiltrated in an undercover capacity a group of men who were plotting the kidnapping of a Dupont Chemical fortune heir and his wife in 1992. His stories have been featured on Inside Edition, A Current Affair, and CBS News’ Street Stories with Ed Bradley. Contact the author.
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