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Charleston and the literature of rejection

  Dylann Storm Roof being escorted from the Shelby Police Department in Shelby, N.C., on Thursday. Photo credit to  The New York TImes .

Dylann Storm Roof being escorted from the Shelby Police Department in Shelby, N.C., on Thursday. Photo credit to The New York TImes.

Well, one thing’s certain: Dylann Storm Roof – really? That’s a name? – is no Rachel Dolezal.

One couldn’t do enough to embrace black culture. The other couldn’t do enough to destroy it, allegedly gunning down nine people at Bible study Wednesday night in Charleston’s historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, uttering the particularly lunatic thought, “I have to do it. You rape our women and you’re taking over our country. And you have to go.”

I guess the six women he gunned down were busy raping “our women,” but then, black women have always been doubly expendable as blacks and women.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Here’s one of Roof’s Facebook photo in front of a swamp, the apartheid South African and Rhodesian flags visible on his jacket, baleful eyes glaring out from a pasty face and sandy, bowl-shaped haircut – “chilling.” Here are two more – “haunted” and “lost.” He looks like something out of “Deliverance.”

In the coming days, we’ll hear all about the usual ingredients. Drugs? Check. Clueless parents? Check. Easy access to guns (he was given one for his 21st birthday)? Check.

And one thing more – the most important thing: A disproportionate rage at some imagined or real rejection that leads to disaffection and the demonizing of others. We’ve seen it in every mass-murder shooting in this country. We saw it in Timothy McVeigh, Lee Harvey Oswald and John Wilkes Booth.

We saw it, too, in Adolf Hitler and Osama bin Laden.

“While we do not yet know all of the details, we do know that we'll never understand what motivates anyone to enter one of our places of worship and take the life of another,” says Confederate flag-defending South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley.

See, I think we do know what motivates someone to enter a house of worship and take the life of another.

What’s truly terrifying is that we seem powerless to stop it.