Election 2016

The 2016 Candidates on the Charleston AME Church Shooting

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The media wants answers about the mass shooting at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C., from the 2016 presidential candidates, especially the Republican ones.

Jeb Bush commented on the shooting at the Faith and Freedom Coalition summit. Via Talking Points Memo:

"I don't know what was on the mind or the heart of the man who committed these atrocious crimes," Bush said in remarks at a Faith and Freedom Coalition summit in Washington. "But I do know what was in the heart of the victims."

Bush went on to meditate on the fact that the massacre—which resulted in the deaths of nine African-Americans including South Carolina state Sen. Clementa Pinckney (D), pastor at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church—took place in a house of worship.

"They were praying. They were learning and studying the word of the Lord," Bush said. "In times like these, in times of great of national mourning, people of faith, all of us must come together and at least reflect on this and fortify our strength and love of Christ, love of God to be able to continue to go forth."

Huffington Post political reporter Laura Bassett breathlessly reports Bush said he didn't know if the shooting, perpetrated by a white man who reportedly confessed he wanted to start a race war, was racially motivated. He said it "looked like it was" when she pressed him.

At the same Faith and Freedom summit, Paul drew the connection between the shooting and the loss of Christian faith more explicitly, saying that mass shootings were indicative of a "sickness" in the culture that could only be cured by salvation.

The legacy candidate on the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton, didn't do much better, also seeming to ignore the racial motivations to instead pin her sectarian policy goals to the tragedy. Unsurprisingly, she seems to be getting away with it better. Her comments, via Time:

"How many people do we need to see cut down before we act?" she asked, during a summit of elected and appointed Latino politicians meeting in Las Vegas.

She began by saying that her thoughts and prayers were with the victims and their families in the shooting, before turning to a broader discussion of police. "So as we mourn and as our hearts break a little more, and as we send this message of solidarity that we will not forsake those who have been victimized by gun violence, this time we have to find answers together," Clinton said.

It gets worse. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), running for the Democratic nomination pretty much exclusively on a platform of economic illiteracy, said the incident was a reminder of the country's "ugly stain of racism," but held a loud rally on the Capitol lawn, within shouting distance of a vigil being held for the shooting yesterday. The rally was about pensions.

Lincoln Chafee, a former Republican Senator running for the Democratic nomination, took credit for hate crime legislation he supported that is now supposed to send federal money to Charleston, S.C. His comment, via the New York Daily News:

My heart goes out to the Charleston community and to the victims of these horrifying murders. It is comforting to know that Charleston is fortunate to have an expert and able mayor in Joe Riley. Hate crime legislation I supported while I was in the Senate will give the community federal funding to assist in this difficult time.

Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson warned about "hate," and not just the racial kind. He wrote on Facebook:

I pray for the community scared and hurting. I also pray you and I can conquer hatred.

In my lifetime I have seen such great progress. Though racial based hate is still very much alive as last night so violently reminded us.

But I worry about a new hate that is growing in our great nation. I fear our intolerance of one another is the new battle ground of evil. Today many feel it is ok to hate someone who thinks differently than you do.

The left hates the right. The right hates the left. This attitude is poison. Poison that will sicken all of us.

In an interview on AM radio, Rick Santorum, another Republican presidential candidate, called the shooting an obvious "crime of hate," and stressed the importance of prayer when there are "assaults on our religious liberty we've never seen before," working his campaign theme into the discussion about the shooting. Ted Cruz said he had faith in law enforcement doing their job and catching the shooter. Dylann Roof was apprehended in North Carolina and confessed to the shooting, saying he wanted to start a race war.

Lindsey Graham suggested the possibility of tracking potentially troubled people:

"I bet there were some indicators early on that this guy was not quite there. Just being able to track people—put them into systems where they can be deterred or stopped. But it's very complicated in a nation of 300 million people where you have freedom of movement and freedom of thought. 300 million of us and unfortunately every now and then, something like this happens. And we'll see."

Most of the other candidates stuck to boiler-plate condolences, perhaps trying for once to stay off the media radar.

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  1. It’s all so sickening. The bodies aren’t even cold, and the vultures fly in to tear them into pieces, looking for a political angle. I understand extending your condolences–any public figure is likely to want to do that–but to make political hay out of a tragedy like this? Pathetic.

  2. “It’s all about me!”

    No. No, it’s not.

  3. Lindsey is really working hard to distinguish himself as the most vile candidate in a pretty crowded pack.

  4. “How many people do we need to see cut down before we act?”

    Act on what, you brainless emotive authoritarian twerp?

  5. The left hates the right. The right hates the left. This attitude is poison. Poison that will sicken all of us.

    This sort of strong language is unbecoming of a presidential candidate. How dare he inspire so much reckless hatred.

  6. Am I the only one noticing fatigue on this story already?

    After the funderal(s), I bet we don’t hear much more in the national news about this story.

    P.S. I hope Hillary comes out big against the Second Amendment. But I doubt she’s that stupid.

    1. P.S. I hope Hillary comes out big against the Second Amendment. But I doubt she’s that stupid.

      I don’t.

    2. She has done so already.


      Hillary Clinton Equates Gun Control Opponents With Terrorists

      Quote:
      During a CNN “town hall” yesterday, Hillary Clinton said she was disappointed that Congress did not pass new gun control legislation following the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in December 2012. “I believe that we need a more thoughtful conversation,” said the former secretary of state and presumptive presidential candidate. “We cannot let a minority of people?and that’s what it is, it is a minority of people?hold a viewpoint that terrorizes the majority of people.” Evidently Clinton’s idea of a more thoughtful conversation about gun control involves equating disagreement with terrorism while claiming some opinions are so dangerous that “we cannot let” people hold them.

  7. But I worry about a new hate that is growing in our great nation. I fear our intolerance of one another is the new battle ground of evil. Today many feel it is ok to hate someone who thinks differently than you do.

    The left hates the right. The right hates the left. This attitude is poison. Poison that will sicken all of us.

    That’s actually halfway decently stated.

    1. Yep.

    2. I agree, and frankly I expected worse from Carson.

  8. Hate crime legislation I supported while I was in the Senate will give the community federal funding to assist in this difficult time.

    Funding? For what?

    1. Chafee:”Look, I know people are dead and their families are in mourning, but how can I make this about me? That’s the question we should be asking ourselves.”

  9. “Most of the other candidates stuck to boiler-plate condolences, perhaps trying for once to stay off the media radar.”

    Most of the other candidates were sensible and were aware they didn’t know a whole lot about th incident, much less the public-policy implications thereof?

  10. “She began by saying that her thoughts and prayers were with the victims and their families in the shooting”

    Yeah, I know it’s a figure of speech, but just for the record, unless it was in public, I don’t believe Hillary Clinton has said a prayer in 30 years.

    Hillary Clinton prays to herself in the mirror.

    1. Hail Hillary, mother of…no one special.

      Blessed art thou among women.

      1. *

    2. You should know better. She does not cast a reflection in the mirror.

    3. “Mirror, mirror, on the wall. Who’s the fair? Never mind. Don’t answer that.”

      “You’re almost seventy. What difference, at this point, does it make?”

  11. Jesus, a FB friend posted one of those stupid Democracy Now or whatever posters with Obama and his solemn quote about these things never happening anywhere else in the world. I linked him to a list of world-wide mass shootings. Ever the good Obama Fluffer, he huffily (no pun intended) responded that the problem was that Obama is too honest and straightforward, and not slimy-political, in the way he talks. Because of this, his enemies can pick on his words out of context. Ohhhhhh-kay.

    Never try using facts and logic. Never.

  12. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), running for the Democratic nomination pretty much exclusively on a platform of economic illiteracy[.]

    *golf clap*

  13. I know you can’t sue prosecutors personally for malicious prosecution, but you can sue the government for that, can’t you?

    If so, the Reason Six might hope they get indicted. I’d expect the charges to be dismissed at arraignment on the basis of well established First Amendment case law, and that point, maybe it’s jackpot time.

    You’d think this would be a really fine line to walk for the prosecutors. If they don’t make something out of this, them they walk away with egg all over their faces, and if they take it to court, they’re likely to be laughed right out of the building.

    I should also point out that as trial balloons go, I was pretty impressed with the fair treatment our fellow commenters got. Even at places like NPR, where I expected the commenters to be nasty as hell to us, they were, I’d say, wholly sympathetic to the cause of the commenters rather than the government.

    This case appears to be a loser for the prosecutors in the court of public opinion, as well as in the Constitution and the case law.

    1. Aw shit, wrong thread?

  14. Didn’t we make drugs illegal? Or undocumented immigrants, illegal? Shit happens and we must be on the look out everyday to stop those who do not deserve to life among us.

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