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Mourners lay flowers in front of the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.

What to Read: The Charleston Massacre

Selected news and comment from this morning’s Opening Statement.

Opening Statement is our pick of the day's criminal justice news.

Update 7:54 a.m. 06.22.2015

When is a crime a hate crime? TMP’s Beth Schwartzapfel looks at the challenges in proving racial bias, even in a seemingly obvious case like the one presented now in South Carolina. Marshall Project More Right on cue, here comes Dylann Roof’s so-called “manifesto,” which no one evidently read in time. Reason Still more: Here’s purported video of Roof’s flag-burning. Slate Related: Guns surpass bombs as weapon of choice for white supremacists. Trace This: The “gateway into the radical right.” Southern Poverty Law Center And this: Residents “concerned” about KKK fliers found (with candy) in Alabama neighborhoods. WBRC

“All of a sudden, Charleston is going to be synonymous with deaths in a church for years to come.” Our Simone Weichselbaum spoke with a man who prosecuted two of the 1963 Birmingham church bombing suspects. He says he’s worried about more attacks. Marshall Project More: In an hour, a church changed forever. Post and Courier This: Prayers and a plot against humanity. Washington Post This: Roof’s judge has a history of racist talk. Daily Beast Which is why South Carolina Supreme Court replaced him Saturday. NBC News Finally: NRA board member blames slain pastor for slaughter. Washington Post


Charleston. Roof was alone but not lonely in his white supremacist beliefs. The New Yorker More: White terrorism is as old as America (actually older). The New York Times Still more: The FBI has no idea how many “hate crimes” occur in America each year. Washington Post This: Media agonistes over calling an alleged mass murderer a ‘terrorist.” New York Magazine The value of forgiveness in a capital case. The Atlantic

8:42 a.m. 06.19.2015

Race, Hate, Death, and Charleston. The victims. The New York Times Lives Interrupted. How a florist shop worker helped track down a mass murder suspect. The State More: What we know about Dylann Storm Roof. New York Magazine How many attacks on black churches in the past 20 years? Mother Jones Still more: The deadliest hate crime in a state with long history of racial violence. Post and Courier This: The long, rich, violent, tragic history of Emanuel AME Church. ETV Radio This: Federal probe won’t necessarily lead to hate crime charges. Wall Street Journal This: Is the local prosecutor up to the task? Buzzfeed And finally: The loophole that allowed him to get a gun. Washington Post


Charleston in Black and White. Of course it was racism. Post and Courier If Clementa Pinckney had lived. The New York Times Speaking the unspeakable, thinking the unthinkable. Esquire More: The growing right-wing terror threat (posted days before the shooting). The New York Times Still more: When there is no place to hide from “racial terrorism.” The New Republic This: A stream of consciousness about race, policing, and white supremacy. PSMag This: Charleston and the Age of Obama. The New Yorker This: Jon Stewart is all out of jokes. Comedy Central And finally this: The photo that captures the madness of the gun culture in America. Washington Post

End note: In which now-murdered South Carolina state senator Clementa Pinckney spoke out in May on the shooting of Walter Scott, the black man shot in the back by a police officer earlier this year. Mother Jones Related: Slain pastor was advocate for police reform, gun control. Think Progress