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Eight of the worst responses to the Charleston shooting

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On Thursday night US president Barack Obama said the deaths of nine black churchgoers in South Carolina were "senseless murders" and suggested that the American obsession with the right to bear arms is out of control.

The recent history of the US is littered by mass shootings of civilians targeted and killed by white men - Charleston, Sandy Hook, Isla Vista, Aurora.

The 21-year-old suspect Dylann Roof, who is expected in court on Friday, has been pictured wearing a jacket adorned with the flags of two racist African states and was reportedly given his weapon as a birthday present.

But obviously, racial hatred and access to guns had nothing to do with the massacre, at least if you listen to these opinions:

1. NRA board member Charles Cotton blamed one of the victims for voting in favour of stricter gun control

Senator Graham, who represents the murdered church goers, told CNN that the killings were an isolated act by a troubled lone wolf.

I just think he was one of these whacked out kids. I don't think it's anything broader than that. It's about a young man who is obviously twisted.

3. Fox and Friends used the shooting to call for more guns

"Had somebody in that church had a gun, they probably would have been able to stop him,” host Steve Doocy said.


4. Charleston's local newspaper carried a gun ad on the front page the day after the shooting (ladies' night at the gun range, only $30...)

5. South Carolina Representative Mark Sanford said the shooting was influenced by supernatural forces

Republican Sanford appeared on CNN to say that he didn't "have a clue" when it came to speculating on any potential links between Roof and hate groups. He did feel comfortable blaming the devil, though.

I don't know what was going through the kid's mind, but [it's] certainly the act of a deranged human being, and this level of malice I think is unfathomable in this community, in this nation. It is... clearly the work of the devil.

6. Conservative radio pundit Bryan Fischer also thought more guns would have solved the problem

7. Whoever decided to keep a flag with connotations of racism and white supremacy flying at full mast on Friday

8. South Carolina governor Nikki Haley said that we would never have the answers on the suspect's motives

In a statement on the night of the shooting, Republican governor Haley said "we'll never understand what motivates" people to commit such crimes. She followed up by avoiding all mention of motive at a prayer vigil on Thursday.


More: What do we mean when we say 'hate crime' and 'terrorism'?

More: Everyone should watch Jon Stewart's powerful monologue on the Charleston shooting

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