The editorial board of the Wall Street Journal on Friday suggested that “institutionalized racism” was not a driving force in the massacre of nine people Wednesday night at a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina because it “no longer exists.”
“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,” the editorial stated. “It is no small solace that in committing such an act today, he stands alone.”
Politicians and pundits like former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) have also said that the suspected killer’s motive remains unknown, even though authorities at both the federal and local levels are investigating the shooting as a hate crime.
The Wall Street Journal editorial added that Roof “brings to mind the mentally troubled young men who committed horrific mass murders” in places like Newtown, Connecticut and Aurora, Colorado.
The editorial also made reference to President Barack Obama’s remarks in response to the shooting. The President recounted the involvement the church, Emanuel AME, had in slave revolts and civil rights marches and quoted Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1963 speech on a church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama.
The editorial board wrote that it was “appropriate” for Obama to invoke that history. But they argued that the U.S. South has “moved forward” since that era of organized segregation and racially motivated violence to a point where “institutionalized racism” has been obliterated.
“The universal condemnation of the murders at the Emanuel AME Church and Dylann Roof’s quick capture by the combined efforts of local, state and federal police is a world away from what President Obama recalled as ‘a dark part of our history,'” the editorial read. “Today the system and philosophy of institutionalized racism identified by Dr. King no longer exists.”