While charging shooter Dylann Roof—a white supremacist terrorist who massacred nine civilians in a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina on the evening of 17 June in hopes of precipitating a race war—with nine counts of murder, the Chief Magistrate of Charleston County spent just a few seconds addressing the black victims who were slaughtered. The official then proceeded to spend exponentially more time claiming the white family of the killer are themselves victims, saying
We have victims, nine of them. But we also have victims on the other side. There are victims on this young man’s side of the family. Nobody would have ever thrown them into the whirlwind of events that they have been thrown into. We must find it in our hearts, at some point in time, not only to help those that are victims, but also to help his family as well.
Journalist Amy Wood captured video of the remarks.
Nothing substantive is said about the families of the black victims, yet alone about the victims themselves.
White supremacy is so thoroughly embedded into the core of the US Justice System, magistrates feel more sympathy for the families of white terrorists than they do for the victims and their families.
As writer Richard Seymour so eloquently puts it,
Would you expect anything else? This is the state that makes an idol of the Confederacy – in museum and in monument – and which worships the flag of slavery. Not because slavery is the struggle today, they gave up on that, but because white-supremacy is, and the state’s white power bloc needs to remind the black population exactly what their place is, and to stay in it.
Of course this judge, this unspeakable lachrymose brute, sermonises that white people are the victims, the ones he must look out for. Of course his heart and voice break for the white victims. Of course he ministers to the victims “on the other side”, “on this young man’s side of the family”. Of course he leavens it with maudlin babble about “reaching out” and “touching” victims, for this is the sickening, self-righteous sentimentality of white supremacy, of which Dylann Roof is an armed agent. Would you expect anything else?
Perhaps unsurprisingly, it turns out this magistrate also has a history of racism. In a bond reduction hearing in 2003, James B. Gosnell—commonly referred to as a judge, but actually Charleston County Magistrate—told a black defendant “There are four kinds of people in this world—black people, white people, red necks, and n—rs.”