Charleston shooting revives calls for South Carolina to drop the Confederate flag

Americans are collectively calling for South Carolina to take down the Confederate flag at the State House in the wake of the Charleston church shooting.

The flag, which remains a racially divisive symbol in South Carolina, has been displayed at a monument to the state’s Confederate soldiers on the north side of the State House for 15 years. It previously flew atop the building’s dome. The relocation was part of a compromise in 2000 that led to the passage of the Heritage Act, a law that protects recognized war memorials bearing the Confederate flag, among other types of monuments.

In February 2000, then-South Carolina congressman Lindsey Graham—now a U.S. Senator running for president—told the New York Times that he understands why African-Americans despise the flag, but he also sees why others want to keep it around.

”There is a guy out there named Bubba. He grew up when public schools got integrated. He goes to work every day. There are women and African-Americans in the workplace and he’s fine with that, but he thinks the whole world is against him and has rights he doesn’t have. He thinks the flag is the last thing he has going for him and he’s not going to take it down. I don’t want to step on Bubba’s feelings. There are no groups sticking up for the Bubbas of the world.”

Nine people, including three pastors, a librarian, and a legislator, were gunned down Wednesday evening at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME). Reverend Clementa Pickney, 41, a South Carolina statesman and civil rights leader, was among the deceased. Officials said the ages of the victims ranged from age 26 to 87.

Police arrested 21-year-old Dylann Storm Roof for the shooting on Thursday afternoon. He had been captured on a surveillance camera entering the church roughly an hour before the shooting began. He was later arrested about 250 miles away in Shelby, North Carolina. Both federal and local authorities have labelled the shooting a hate crime.

A bomb threat was called in to the West End Community Center in Greenville, S.C., on Thursday afternoon while they were hosting a vigil for the Emanuel AME shooting victims. Morris Brown AME Church in Charleston was later evacuated as well. Another bomb threat was called into the Charleston County Building, which was also evacuated.

Photo by eyeliam/Flickr (CC BY 2.0) 

Dell Cameron

Dell Cameron

Dell Cameron was a reporter at the Daily Dot who covered security and politics. In 2015, he revealed the existence of an American hacker on the U.S. government's terrorist watchlist. He is a co-author of the Sabu Files, an award-nominated investigation into the FBI's use of cyber-informants. He became a staff writer at Gizmodo in 2017.