The portrait of Dylann Roof that emerged Friday from a taped confession was that of a confused, wannabe warrior who soaked up hate on the internet and waged a mission of no clear purpose against people who had done him no wrong, reports the Charleston Post and Courier. A rapt courtroom watched a two-hour video in which Roof explained in a calm, almost nonchalant tone why he decided to gun down nine black parishioners at the South’s oldest AME church in June 2015. It was a tale of contradictions from a man who hoped to sow racial unrest, yet feared the scorn of his victims’ families and his parents.
Roof regurgitated venomous online hate for blacks by way of explaining his bloody shooting rampage through Emanuel AME Church. Roof, then a 21-year-old high school dropout, seemed unclear about what he’d hoped to accomplish with the massacre or even how many people he shot. Sitting in a North Carolina police station less than 24 hours after the shooting, Roof appeared relaxed, snickering and jovial at times, as he detailed his crimes and the ideology that inspired them for a pair of FBI agents. He targeted Charleston and Mother Emanuel because they were historic and would resonate with people as he tried to avenge perceived black injustices against whites. Roof carried out the horrific massacre because “somebody had to do something because, you know, black people are killing white people every day on the street, and they’re raping white women.” He called his rampage “minuscule” compared to the damage done by blacks. “I had to do it because no one else is brave enough to do anything about it,” he told the agents.