(The Washington Post) – After Dylann Storm Roof allegedly shot up an AME church in Charleston, S.C., killing nine people, two flags were lowered more than 100 miles away in Columbia, the state’s capital. Atop the South Carolina State House, the U.S. flag and South Carolina’s palmetto flag flew at half-staff as the manhunt for Roof ended with his capture in North Carolina and prayer vigils were planned. The show of respect would have been appropriate even if one of the state legislature’s own — state senator Clementa C. Pinckney — had not died in the attack.
But a third flag within view of the State House — the Confederate stars and bars — flew as high and as proud as ever, flapping in the breeze on a sunny day.
This looked bad.
Roof was photographed wearing flags himself — of defunct white supremacist regimes in South Africa and Rhodesia — and drove a car featuring a Confederate flag license plate. The Emanuel AME Church shooting and its description by authorities as a “hate crime” were tragic enough to be compared to the 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala., a murderous act that claimed the lives of four young African American girls and helped bring about passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1964.