When a gunman opened fire on Charleston’s Emanuel A.M.E. Church Wednesday, spraying bullets into a group of worshippers gathered for a mid-week prayer meeting, it was as though history repeated itself.
This historic congregation, the oldest of its kind in the South, had already seen more than its fair share of tumult and hate. It was founded by worshippers fleeing racism and burned to the ground for its connection with a thwarted slave revolt. For years its meetings were conducted in secret to evade laws that banned all-black services. It was jolted by an earthquake in 1886. Civil rights luminaries spoke from its pulpit and led marches from its steps. For nearly two hundred years it had been the site of struggle, resistance and change.
On Wednesday, the church was a crime scene — the street outside aglow with the flashing red lights of police cars and echoing with the screech of sirens. Nine people had been killed there, reportedly including the church’s pastor, Rev. Clementa Pinckney, though police had not confirmed his death.
Rev. Pinckney has been confirmed as dead. What would possess a person to commit such a horrible act? he people were worshipping. What makes this a hate crime? Was it because it was in a church? Was it racially motivated? Was there past history with one of the victims?
This case seems very dreadful and very scary.