The shooting in a historically black church in Charleston last night by a white gunman has ignited a social media debate over the Confederate flag flying at the state capitol. The gunman, according to information that’s come out today, had a Confederate flag on his ornamental license plate and wore a jacket with the flags of Rhodesia and South Africa in the days of apartheid.
All throughout the day, since last night, there have been lots of invocations of the flag at the state capitol to suggest the motives of the gunman aren’t exactly that unclear:
— Jeff Gauvin (@JeffersonObama) June 18, 2015
— Chase Madar (@ChMadar) June 18, 2015
White man shoots 9 black people to death in the founding Confederate state and it's "too early to speculate this is about race"? #Charleston
— CJ Werleman (@cjwerleman) June 18, 2015
How many Confederate flags did the "one hateful person" walk past to get to the church? #Charleston
— Brinda Estrella (@BrindaStar) June 18, 2015
— Karen Hunter (@karenhunter) June 18, 2015
Cant make this up: S. Carolina governor who defends flying confederate flag at statehouse can't understand what motivates someone to do this
— Yousef Munayyer (@YousefMunayyer) June 18, 2015
Please don't tell me to be peaceful when you are still flying the Confederate flag over state buildings. #CharlestonChurchShooting
— Yolanda Pierce (@YNPierce) June 18, 2015
And there have been lots of calls today for the flag to be taken down:
If Haley doesn't remove the Confederate flag, it will presumably be at half-staff. What an insult to victim families. #CharlestonShooting
— Laura Seay (@texasinafrica) June 18, 2015
— Vicki Walden (@TheVikChick) June 18, 2015
The one with the confederate one on it? How about just take it DOWN. https://t.co/UgnSQeoQ2G
— NIGris Elba (@hosienation) June 18, 2015
There's something absurd about seeing the Confederate Flag flying at half mast the day after a mass shooting at historic black church.
— Will McAvoy (@WillMcAvoyACN) June 18, 2015
Will the statehouse of SC lower the confederate flag to half staff today or will they finally just take it down?
— Pete Dominick (@PeteDominick) June 18, 2015
The only decent thing to do in SC today, would be to cover that state flag up.
— Christopher Hayes (@chrislhayes) June 18, 2015
— Jeffrey Goldberg (@JeffreyGoldberg) June 18, 2015
— Neera Tanden (@neeratanden) June 18, 2015
I agree. Long past time for the Confederate flag to go. pic.twitter.com/hZcFOI122s
— Philip Klein (@philipaklein) June 18, 2015
When you fly the confederate flag in your state capital you are sanctioning this terrorism. Just FYI.
— roxane gay (@rgay) June 18, 2015
— Reza Aslan (@rezaaslan) June 18, 2015
Vox’s Zack Beauchamp also wrote that continuing to fly the flag is “an insult to Charleston’s victims.” For what it’s worth, this is what a spokesperson for Governor Nikki Haley said when asked about the flag at the state capitol:
Spox for SC Gov Haley says she doesn't have authority to remove Confederate flag from state capitol. "Only General Assembly can do that."
— Zachary Roth (@zackroth) June 18, 2015
Now, in a remarkable coincidence, today the Supreme Court issued a ruling on a case involving Confederate flag license plates. The Sons of Confederate Veterans submitted a plate design with that flag, but Texas rejected it. They fought all the way to the Supreme Court, arguing their free speech rights were being muzzled.
Well, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 today (with Clarence Thomas siding with the liberal justices) to say license plates are “government speech,” not individual free speech, and therefore the government gets to regulate it.
[image via @BRios82]
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