For some reason, Republican politicians, particularly those running for the White House, seem totally unwilling to blame the murder of nine black churchgoers in Charleston, South Carolina, on racism, despite police describing the massacre as a possible hate crime within hours of the shooting.
They have, instead, offered up a variety of other things to blame the shooting, described by some people as a terrorist act, on:
1. Gun control
Apparently it wasn't the fact that suspect Dylann Roof had a gun that was the problem here. According to presidential hopeful and former governor of Arkansas Mike Huckabee, the only thing that could have stopped his deadly rampage was more guns.
It sounds crass, but frankly the best way to stop a bad person with a gun is to have a good person with a weapon that is equal or superior to the one that he’s using.
2. Transgender people
Fox Newser Erick Erickson wrote on his blog that mental health issues are the root cause of evil attacks and American society has a "sickness":
A society that looks at a 65 year old male Olympian and, with a straight face, declares him a her and “a new normal” cannot have a conversation about mental health or evil because that society no longer distinguishes normal from crazy and evil from good.
3. Prescription drugs
Another 2016 presidential hopeful, Rick Perry, weighed in with his two cents that the reason young white men go on killing sprees is because they're on medication. That they get their hands on weapons is obviously coincidental.
It seems to me – again, without having all the details about this one – that these individuals have been medicated. And there may be a real issue in this country, from the standpoint of these drugs, and how they’re used.
4. It was an accident
Perry went on to say that Roof's drug use meant the attack was an "accident" (although a staffer later said he meant to say "incident"). It's worth pointing out that when Perry made this comment Roof himself had already declared that the shooting had been a pre-meditated plan.
Any time there is an accident like this… the president is clear, he doesn’t like Americans to have guns and so he uses every opportunity, this being another one, to basically go parrot that message.
5. It was actually an attack upon Christianity
Yet another Republican presidential candidate, Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, had a brainwave about Roof's motive: the attack was an assault on "religious liberty". During an interview with a New York radio station he said:
We don’t know the rationale, but what other rationale could there be... You talk about the importance of prayer in this time and we’re now seeing assaults on our religious liberty we’ve never seen before. It’s a time for deeper reflection beyond this horrible situation.
6. It was the devil
South Carolina Representative Mark Sanford appeared on CNN to say that the shooting was due to supernatural forces:
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.
7. People not understanding where salvation comes from
Rand Paul, who is also standing for the Republican nomination, said in a speech to evangelicals the day after the shooting:
There’s a sickness in our country, there’s something terribly wrong, but it isn’t going to be fixed by your government. It’s people straying away, it’s people not understanding where salvation comes from.