The blame game!

Now we know why Dylann Roof killed all those people: he’s a liberal evolutionist from the Middle East. No, really: those are explanations people are throwing around right now.

  • Here’s Lindsey Graham’s explanation:

    “I don’t know how you can sit with somebody for an hour in a church and pray with them and get up and shoot them,” he said. “That’s Mideast hate. That’s something I didn’t think we had here but apparently we do.”

    Graham is known for his hawkish foreign policy stance and blunt comments on the Middle East. He made headlines last month when he said at an American Israel Public Affairs Committee dinner that “everything that starts with ‘Al’ in the Middle East is bad news,” referencing the Arabic word for the article “the.” Graham also angered the National Iranian-American Council when he recalled his time working at a bar and said he’d learned there that “the Iranians are liars.”

    Very statesmanlike. He’ll make a great president, especially since, given his hawkish fondness for supporting wars in the Middle East, he can now declare the former Confederacy to be a rogue Muslim state and send the tanks rolling south.

  • Meanwhile, some conservative talk radio host named Kevin Jackson declares him a liberal.

    “He’s a Millennial, i.e. very non-racial according to all data,” Jackson said of the admitted killer. “He didn’t grow up in a white-supremacist family. So he’s a product of culture, a culture Liberals own. From the moment he hit school, in his generation, boys are bad. White boys are worse.”

    “While he played with all kids of all colors and got along, when the time for playing ended, and it was time to get his ‘higher education,’ he hit the wall of Affirmative Action,” the conservative radio host insisted. “Then, when it’s time to get a job, he gets more Affirmative Action.”

    According to Jackson, the shooter was forced to take medication “to deal with his Liberal-created psychosis.”

    He’s ‘non-racial’ according to all the data, except for the raging racist manifesto he wrote and his participation in online racist forums.

  • David Klinghoffer of the Discovery Institute blames everything on evolution, of course. He starts off by admitting that there isn’t any sign of evolutionary thinking in Dylann Roof’s writing, but get ready, here comes creationist logic. Roof was inspired by the Council of Conservative Citizens, and Klinghoffer links to evidence that a former leader of the CCC was a screamingly vicious white supremacist. Given. I think that’s obvious.

    Now let’s like Holt to another bad group.

    When I read these articles, I noted that the official spokesman for Holt’s group is a person called Jared Taylor, best known for leading another, slightly more polished white nationalist web publication, American Renaissance. These organizations have their different emphases and preoccupations. While the Council of Conservative Citizens is obsessed by “black-on-white” crime, American Renaissance has as one of its specialties science-flavored, notably evolutionary, justifications for racism. In the media coverage I’ve seen, the latter fact has gone unmentioned.

    Well, it might have gone unmentioned because Dylann Roof doesn’t seem to have had anything to do with American Renaissance.

    But yes, Jared Taylor is an awful person and American Renaissance is a disgraceful rag — they have a fondness for pretending that they have scientific backing for their odious ideas, just like a certain other organization I could name (<cough> begins with “Discovery”, ends with “Institute”) likes to do. This is rather common: the Creation “Museum” likes to dress up their displays with the pretense of practicing True Science™, too.

    So basically Klinghoffer has no evidence of a link from Roof to a racist pseudo-scientific organization, and no link between that organization and legitimate evolutionary biology, and therefore Roof was motivated by evolutionary biology.

I think Roof was a straight-up American racist who got his ideas from far-right conservative sources, which means Klinghoffer, Jackson, and Graham are idiots. But we all knew that already.


  1. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    That’s Mideast hate
    So Lindsey’s word for “ultimate” is now “MidEast”. Backwardly calling the conflicts in the MidEast the result of the worst people and worst emotions and worst ~~everything else~~
    So his motivation for advocating the war is cleaning up the worst stuff to make life better for everybody. Good to know.

  2. llyris says

    So Lindsay Graham blames everything on words that start with “Al”.
    Like “algebra” and “algorithm”…
    What the f@#! is his problem with maths? Didn’t he do very well on his tests and he’s carried the grudge for all these years?

  3. iknklast says

    @3 – why go to algorithm? Why not just stop at Al Gore?

    Seriously, these people read polls that say millennials are less racist than previous generations, and take from that the “fact” that no millennials are racist? No poll out there shows a zero percent on racism (or any other ism).

  4. comfychair says

    PZ: “straight-up American racist who got his ideas from far-right conservative sources[…]”

    If by far-right you mean totally mainstream, then sure.

    And maybe unrelated, but, did Noah have slaves on the ark?

  5. Saganite, a haunter of demons says

    #5 comfychair
    Well, we “know” that Noah’s wife and his sons’ wives were on board, so…

    “He’s a Millennial, i.e. very non-racial according to all data,” Jackson said of the admitted killer.

    That’s such a dumb statement. I mean, dumb to the point that even his target audience would probably look up and go: “Huh? That doesn’t sound right.”

  6. Jeremy Shaffer says

    comfychair at 5:

    And maybe unrelated, but, did Noah have slaves on the ark?

    Sadly slaves were in that gray area between clean and unclean animals. That’s why Noah had to trick one of his sons, Hamm, into seeing his drunk and naked ass after the Flood so he could designate that son’s descendents as a slave race.

    This is, of course, assuming I understand the whole “Curse of Hamm” thing correctly. Justifications for why one group of humans gets to enslave another tend to make less and less sense to me the further past, “’cause Reasons,” they go.

  7. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    Klinghoffer wrote:

    Yet the myth of European superiority over inferior dark peoples continues to percolate in some evolutionary thinking, [emphasis added]

    He got that part right. some people do claim the myth as a fact, based on their misunderstanding of evolution. So he’s not saying “evolution science” is to blame, but the misconception of evolution science is. To back himself up he cites Roof’s own screed about his victims inferiority and his superiority as natural result of evolution. Without ever pointing out Roof’s errors, Klinghoffer just likes throwing the word ‘evolution’ embedded in the blame game as a subtle implication. He points at CCC and Stormfront with “but…” included, to avoid being named as part of the “blame game”, while vocally being a part of it.

  8. Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened says

    Jackson’s argument seems to be:
    – Millenials are statistically less likely to be racist
    – Roof was a millennial
    – Therefore, Roof was not a racist.

    – Roof was a product of culture
    – Liberals own and run modern culture
    – Therefore, Liberals turned him racist.

    Like… both of those arguments are stupid on their own, but to give two, equally stupid and completely contradictory arguments in the space of two paragraphs just takes it to a whole new level.

  9. says

    Excuse me, Senator, but the last time I checked, both Judiaism and Christianity were also Abrahamic religions that originated in the Middle East. So, if one accepts your premise, the Crusades constituted “Mideast hatred”…

  10. Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened says


    Be fair; most people would flinch at racist rants and liberal use of the N word. Subconscious biases, on the other hand, and complete denial that you have subconscious biases… that’s totally mainstream.

  11. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    OP wrote:

    [Lindsey] can now declare the former Confederacy to be a rogue Muslim state and send the tanks rolling south.

    Nice fantasy there. I think rather:
    Lindsey holds “the South” (only Yankees call it “the South”, patriots call it “America”) as the superlative “good”, superlative “bad” is the Middle East. So he’ll send only the Confederacy Patriots to battle the MiddleEasters with paladin righteousness and God given superiority; to defeat those heathens who abandoned The Faith and warped it into Hate.

  12. woozy says

    @10 (and OP a bit)

    Graham didn’t say Roof’s actions originated from the mideast. He said they were a hatred of a sort that was similar to the mideast. It’s a little bit like referring to the selfless actions of an individual minority as “white of them”. It’s equally offensive at any rate.

  13. Freodin says

    There is no racism in the USA. Therefore, anything bad that happens to the Nigg… err, middle-eastern liberal evolutionists of a darker skin colour is to blame on their middle-eastern liberal evolutionism.

  14. Dunc says

    So Lindsay Graham blames everything on words that start with “Al”.
    Like “algebra” and “algorithm”…

    Anybody know how he feels about alcohol?

  15. says

    Here’s a roundup of the actual inspiration for Roof’s murderous act, according to Roof himself for the most part:

    […] 1. Law enforcement has confirmed that the online manifesto purported to be from Dylann Roof is authentic and that the text was posted just hours before the shooting.

    2. In the second paragraph of his racist manifesto, Roof specifically mentions that he was inspired by the website of the Council of Conservative Citizens. It’s one of the few resources he specifically mentions by name.

    3. The Southern Poverty Law Center has identified online comments that appear to be from Roof on other hate websites in which he continues to communicate his respect and admiration for the Council of Conservative Citizens. […]

    Earl P. Holt III, the head of the CCC (some say this is an homage to the KKK) is an overt racist. Not the “African Americans get on my nerves” type of racist, but the “I hate niggers” type of racist.

    “Being the shallow, n—– -loving dilettante that you are, you probably DO consider n—— to be your equal (who am I to question this?). Yet, unlike you and your allies, I have an I.Q. in excess of 130, which grants me the ability to objectively evaluate the Great American Nigro (Africanus Criminalis).” [from an email sent from Earl Holt’s email account.]

    “Old guys like me should dress in a disheveled manner, pretend to be intoxicated, hang-out in “the hood,” and bring along a large-caliber handgun (with backup!) and help mitigate violent black crime at its source. …”

    CofCCprez2015 [Earl Holt’s handle when posting on the CCC website] went on to recommend that the gun he would use would be a .45-caliber pistol. Roof is accused of using a .45-caliber pistol to kill the nine people on June 17 at Emanuel AME Church on Calhoun Street, one of the nation’s oldest black churches.

    The Council of Conservative Citizens is a tax-exempt organization that claims to be for the public good. […]

    Earl P. Holt made very specific comments on the CCC website that seem directly connected to the Charleston shooting. He made these comments just TWO DAYS before the actual shooting. [See block quoted text above, including the “old guys” rant which was posted on June 15.] […]

  16. rq says

    Jeremy Shaffer @7

    his drunk and naked ass
    the whole “Curse of Hamm”

    I’m sorry, but my mind just connected these two things.
    Is this why bacon is outlawed?

  17. anteprepro says

    I swear to fucking god, these people don’t care how absurd they sound, they just need to bleat out SOMETHING, and they just assume their nonsensical mouthsounds counts as a rebuttal, and that the problem just will disappear. And right-wing authoritarians will actually nod along in passive agreement, compelled by the gibbering mouthsounds of a Noble and Righteous Leader and similarly believing that the incantation has banished the topic of discussion into the Netherrealm to never be seen again. And it occurs like clockwork. And no one on the right bats an eye or shows even the slightest semblance of shame. It is so fucking bizarre.

  18. Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened says

    @ woozy #13

    It’s a little bit like referring to the selfless actions of an individual minority as “white of them”. It’s equally offensive at any rate.

    That’s a thing? Ugh. Because only white people can be selfless, right? Fuck sake.

  19. moarscienceplz says

    That’s Mideast hate. That’s something I didn’t think we had here but apparently we do.

    Really, Lindsey? Really? Your party is chock-full of people who recommend keeping guns strapped to your body at all times, but we don’t have that kind of hate here? What are the guns for, Lindsey? Opening beer cans?

  20. anteprepro says


    What are the guns for, Lindsey? Opening beer cans?

    And turning off lights, and getting stuff off of the roof. #TheSimpsons

  21. says

    What? Didn’t Lindsey Graham also accuse the killer of being gay? How did Sen. Graham overlook that?

  22. anbheal says

    @7 Jeremy Shaffer — he probably raped him, in the original Hebrew idiom. Some theologians believe he castrated him, because Noah had no further children. This could also explain why Noah laid the curse of slavery on Canaan rather than Ham. But “seeing his father’s nakedness ” is King James talk — Ham did something a lot worse than that.

    Not that there ever was a Ham or Noah, I’m just sayin’, he either ass-raped or castrated his Dad. And this is why so many Republicans admire the stories……they grant a whole lot of ethical leeway……

  23. woozy says


    Thumper, you haven’t heard the phrase “that was white of you”? It’s a bit old-fashioned and I haven’t heard anyone use it seriously in the last fifty years (the last I heard of it at all was on All in The Family when Archie Bunker said it to George Jefferson for a throw-away laugh line), but it was a very standard, wide-spread, and acceptable thing to say at one time.

    Another much more obscure phrase is the pecularly precise “free, white, and twenty-one”. Apparently this wasn’t all that uncommon in my mother’s day among my liberal grandparents and their ilk. My mother liked to paraphrase it semi-ironically as “free, white, twenty-one, and presumably male”. Make of it what you will.

  24. says

    Another right-winger named Jackson came up with other dubious explanations for Dylann Roof’s actions. An article on Right Wing Watch discusses statements made by Virginia GOP politician, E.W. Jackson.

    Anti-gay Religious Right activist and Virginia GOP politician E.W. Jackson stopped by Colorado Republican state legislator Gordon Klingenschmitt’s “Pray In Jesus Name” program recently to discuss his theory that the murder of nine black churchgoers by a white supremacist gunman in South Carolina was not primarily a racist hate crime but was rather an attack on Christianity

    While acknowledging that the shooter “was motivated by race,” Jackson was careful to point out that the fact that the attack took place in a church means that “this is clearly another attack on Christians and Christianity.” […]

    Klingenschmitt then added that the shooter, Dylann Roof, was “demon possessed,” which prompted Jackson to declare that the shooting “was a demonic spiritual act.”

    “We, as Christians, understand that there is more behind this than just a human being going in an attacking other human beings because of their race,” Jackson said. “The fact that he did it in a church, we know is a satanic or demonic act.” […]

    Well, at least the demonic possession explanation is new.

    Klingenschmitt and Jackson, apparently under the bizarre impression that the Nazis were liberals, then went on to assert that Roof, who had cited the work of the right-wing Council of Conservative Citizens in his racist manifesto, had “socialist leanings” and was a left-wing radical because he embraced Nazi imagery and slogans.

    My bolding. Well, that’s quite the eyebrow raiser! Roof as a socialist and a left-wing radical? Uh …. [headdesk]

    […] “Unfortunately,” he continued, “we have a very strong left-wing cabal in this country […]

  25. says

    anteprepro @ 18:

    I swear to fucking god, these people don’t care how absurd they sound

    in any discussion the arguments and the logic behind them (or lack thereof) are in fact wholly irrelevant — the only thing that ever matters is what team you’re on (or what team they think you’re on or want you on). it’s the very essence of tribalism.

  26. says

    This is not exactly a “blame game” contribution to the discussion, but is equally absurd. It seems the withdrawal by Apple of games featuring the Confederate flag has drawn the ire of GamerGaters.

    I guess they want to be on the wrong side of all issues.

    […] Apple’s decision to remove games featuring the Confederate flag from the App Store is drawing the ire of GamerGaters, who see this as yet another attempt by those on the left to muzzle expression they don’t approve of.

    An Apple spokesperson told Buzzfeed News otherwise, saying that the company “removed apps from the App Store that use the Confederate flag in offensive or mean-spirited ways, which is in violation of our guidelines,” but insisting that it is “not removing apps that display the Confederate flag for educational or historical uses.”

    Members of the #GamerGate collective took offense, but before they could express it fully, had to do what they do best — make the controversy about themselves:
    […] “Thanks apple, your excessive censorship of the app store has drug us into the flag controversy. #GamerGate […]”