Eight years ago today, nine people died as a result of a twisted attempt to ignite a race war in Charleston and the rest of the country. The perpetrator, and I won’t dignify him by naming him, failed in that attempt.
Charleston stood strong. Charleston stood together. And the ENTIRE country rallied behind us. Remember, hate and violence don’t have to be our only choices. We can CHOOSE to love. And it took a horrible tragedy and our resiliency in the face of that tragedy to prove it and to prove it works.
Don’t forget those who died. But DO forget the dirt-bag who killed them. He’s exactly where he belongs.
I began editing this post at 9:05 PM, when the incident started on June 17, 2015. By 9:11 PM, it was all over, and the perpetrator had left the church. Six minutes. That’s all it took.
I was already on the job then. I remember those tense days until he was caught. And I remember that his original intended target, as later indicated directly by him, WAS in fact the College of Charleston. I was a PSO then, usually on foot patrol; I’m a shift Sergeant now. He wanted to commit an active shooter mass killing at the school, in order to get the largest body count and most shock value possible. What changed his mind and his target of choice was our department’s very diligent and very visible and continuous police presence, a presence that our department has ALWAYS made a point of maintaining. Simply put, we spooked him and he simply chose an easier target. A target that could not shoot back. He was a coward and chose defenseless victims and settled for a smaller body count. Again, these are his and his acquaintances’ words, not mine.
Like I said, he’s a cowardly dirt-bag and is where he belongs, languishing.
Be strong, be diligent, be kind. And this kind of hate won’t ever win. Remember those nine souls. And when you see me and other members of the Department of Public Safety on and around campus, remember, days like that one are why we do our jobs here.
-Sgt. James Cloud