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tv   America Tonight  Al Jazeera  June 18, 2015 10:00pm-10:31pm EDT

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good evening. i'm antonio mora. we will start with an update on the church shooting in charleston south carolina. the alleged gunman dylann roof is in custody, arrested earlier in north carolina, and transported to south carolina. it ended a man hunt.
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hours earlier he walked into the it prayer meeting at the emanuel a.m.e. church sat with black parishioners for nearly an hour before shooting and killing nine before fleeing. federal and state officials are investigating the shooting as a hate crime. al jazeera's rob mcrae joins us from charleston. >> evening. the suspect is in custody. fbi flew him here to charleston earlier today from north carolina. he has a bond hearing at 2:00 pm tomorrow. in the meantime you can see a lot of people gathering throughout the night in front of the church where the nine people were murdered a little over 24 hours ago. a stream of individuals, some talking about exactly what the issues are, racism, gun control. many discussions on the streets. earlier we had a woman with bagpipes showing her report.
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the streets went silent after she ended her talent. we are taking it in here. it's a sad moment in charleston and another moment of reflection where america has to dig in and figure out what need to change so this doesn't happen again. we are told that the suspect's room-mate said that dillon was perhaps planning this for the past six months. a question raised is why the room-mate never brought this to the attention of authorities, who knows. sensitive subject. we need answers. and we'll find that in the day's coming as funerals begin next week, and autopsies obvious the next few days. >> an emotional scene there tonight? >> absolutely. very emotional. i mean you look around here. sometimes you have people that burst out in conversation people that are upset. others are weeping and trying to figure out how something like that could happen again in the
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u.s. >> robert ray in charleston south carolina. a tragic day. people in a church - no one should face what the people faced last night. a terrible tragedy. i'm antonio mora another update at the half hour. "america tonight" starts now. [ bagpipes play "amazing grace" ] [ ♪♪ ] on "america tonight" - this far by faith. a sanctuary attacked but a congregation with a long history of standing up against evil. >> many of us don't see ourselves as just a place where we come and worship.
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but has a beacon and a bearer of the culture and a bearer of what makes us a people also ahead what makes people hate. >> what the sites do is give an echo chamber where they sculpt their own idiosyncratic ideology from a buffet of hate that is available. >> lori jane gliha in depth on the motivation behind hate crimes. thanks for joining us i'm joie chen. as new details emerge about the killer and grim motivation experts began to draw connections between shootings in charleston and other hate crimes. what could trigger violence that could claim the lives of nine worshippers, what pushes someone with hate in mind to strike out and kill? "america tonight"s "america tonight"s lori jane
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gliha indepth on what we know now about crime and hate. >> reporter: in photographs from facebook the accused shooter in the south carolina church massacre wears flags from apartheid south africa and drives a vehicle, ordering to police showing a confederate flag. details of the shooter's motives are under investigation, officials say what happened at the church was rooted in hate. >> reporter: the department of justice opened a hate crime investigation into the shooting incident. >> a woman identifying herself as a survivors relative told n.b.c. the shooter made that clear as he pulled the trigger. >> he said "i have to do it." he said "you rape our women, you're taking over our country. and you have to go." >> this is not the first time that black churches have been attacked and we know that hatred across races and cakes pose a
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threat to ideals the southern poverty mosque center, an organization tracking crimes and groups across the united states documented more than 700 hate groups in 2014 with 19 in south carolina alone. according to their database they recorded incidents of racial slurs, church arson, a burning flag and racist pamphlets. brian heads the center for the study of hate and extremism. >> domestic terrorism, white supremist and anti-government extremism is high on our threat level here in the united states. >> although the number of hate groups in the united states has gone down in recent years, they are still at historically high levels according to the southern poverty law center and the threat of home-grown domestic terrorism is real. >> you don't have to organise a
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hate group to spread hate. you can do that over social media. now, there's a multitude of different hate sites in different forms. what the sites do is they give an echo chamber where they can sculpt their own ideosin accuratic ideology from a buffet of hate. >> online forums perpetuate beliefs like these comments on a white supremacy website called storm front. one of the first and the most substantial white supremist website is a site named storm front. formed and founded by don black, involved in the ku klux klan for a long period of time. >> reporter: this sociologist studied a shooter targetting sheikhs in 2012 and killed six. sites are important in the sense that they are another space where people can connect with each other, in allowing people to feel part of a larger
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movement. >> message boards on the storm front site are lighting up with comments after the church shooting. a user wrote these blacks paid for the crimes of other blacks. another user dined comrade, a church, a street corner a home. it is the same. why do we feel pity for a race that kills our people every day. shows you, god, shirley is not black." . >> what is unique today is that individuals can carve out, scope out their own personnel type of extremism without having to accept the extremism of a long-standing group like the clan. >> detectives are looking for answers about the killer's mind-set when he took the lives of nine people and whether he's associated with hate groups in person or online. for now, the community is focused on grieving and remembering the lives of so many innocent victims.
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"america tonight"s lori jane gliha here. have investigators been able to find links to any groups? >> there's a lot more to learn about the guy now that they have him in custody, the southern poverty law center indicated that the digging has not connected him to any specific group. that said he certainly had clear symbols of white supremacy sown on to the jacket. it's not things you randomly have on your clothing. >> how would he know to be involved if he wasn't specifically assigned by a group. >> it's easy if you type online, social media, type in area nation or something like that, or a racist term thousands of websites come on. you can buy things you can link up with people on a forum. as experts said, you can sculpt out your own method of being racist online with the support of thousands of anonymous
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individuals. >> what about the investigation and charges, the feds are involved as well as local authorities, how does this change the picture? >> south carolina doesn't have a hate crime law. the federal government is investigating, he could be prosecuted either way. under the federal prosecution, however, they would have to prove that he specifically picked out victims based on race. if he was prosecuted by the state because there is no hate crime law, they would not have that type of burden it would be interesting to see how they pursue this since the sit and federal government is involved. >> lori jane gliha in a moment we continue the special coverage of the shootings in charleston, with a deeper look at hate crimes in america. what is the motivation? how can they be stopped? later, a holy sanctuary, and the violence. this attack and others echo a
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long history of standing up to injustice. don't try this at home! >> tech know where technology meets humanity... only on al jazeera america
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before the break we spoke to "america tonight"s lori jane gliha about some of possible motivations behind what police made clear what they believed were hate crimes. the shootings in charleston. joining us is scott robinson of the advancement project. you focus on racial justice issues and organise to try to stop hate crimes. in this case wouldn't investigators have said that the shooter reportedly said i had to
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do it. you have to go referring to the african-americans in the sanctuary. does this mirror what you heard so far about white soup rem sifts and how they bring people into the fold? >> what is key is what he said before that about you rape our women, something to that extent. this narrative of black criminality is key to white supremist recruitment. in the segment earlier we showed storm front posts, one alluded to blacks killing whites every day. a myth of black on white violence being rampantful. >> this is a motivator, something that supremist groups use to bring people online. >> absolutely, there's an effort to play on people's fears that are already there. this is a very long-term narrative in america around black criminality, fear of people of colour and whether -
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and social rape as well. >> something has to drive people to the moment where they may say, think, talk among themselves, evil thought they might have. something must drive them past that to trigger action of this kind. >> yes absolutely. i would say that that is a widely held and almost mainstream view buying into the notion of black criminality, i don't know if we know enough as to why he would take the action he took yesterday, one of the things we learnt is he was facing criminal charges, maybe he was feeling something in the wake of that. something triggered him. he was targetting a.m.e. directly and asked for the pastor by name. i think we saw that that pastor reverend clementa pinckney had
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the week before been in the news around police accountability and may have been responding to the activism that was coming out of that church in recent days. these spaces i think, become easy targets. there's not a lot of security culture, it's welcoming as we see from the story, him welcomed in allowed to participate in the bible study or be present for 45 minutes to an hour. i think in some ways they are targeted. but going back to the fact that the black church is - has been a symbol of black fight for social justice for racial economy. >> and the a.m.e. church particularly. >> definitely. that's why essentially it became a target. >> scott roberts from the advancement project with us. thank you next - the death toll. another attack under scores america's fight against gun violence, and the mission of a woman determined to record it
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echos in the sanctuary. the scene of charleston's tragedy, and how this church long stood strong in the face of injustice.
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. >> communities like this have had to endure tragedies like
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this too many times. we don't have all the fact but we do know that once again innocent people were killed in part because someone who wanted to in flilent harm had no trouble getting their hands on a gun. at some point we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advance countries. >> the president of the united states. as we look at the shootings in charleston, we are reminded in this country every year 100,000 are injured in gun violence 30,000 die from it. for all the arguments for and against greater controls of firearms, it's the human cost that is lost in the debate. sheila macvicar met the unlikely chronicler tracking the toll. >> the gun report was like climbing a mountain every day. it took four hours each day, on the weekends there was so many shootings, it took 10 hours.
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for 16 months in an online blog of the "new york times", jennifer massey documented every shooting in america - or at least every shooting publicly reported. the inspiration, the horrific shootings at sandy hook elementary school. >> this whole column started when the columnist said google shooting, who even gets shot every day in the country. this was a month after newtown the sandy hook massacre of 21 victims and six teachers and staff renewed calls for stricter gun control and sparked an interest in other victims of gun violence. we know about the mass shooting. what about the every day shootings. the quest to answer that question would consume the next 15 months of massachusetts's life. >> i would search for a man shot woman shot child shot
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accidentally shot. the incidents would come up. it was pages and pages and pages of google searches. >> over the course that you reported all of the shootings, how many were there, and who were the people that were dying. there's 150,000 injured by gun violence. 33,000 are killed. over 15 month, i estimated 50,000 deaths. >> it was estimated to start this year. gun deaths overtake car accidents. it's a major milestone. with the lives of so many americans cut short, massey wanted to personalize the carnage, to give faces to the numbers. writing about them. they became not stats, they became people. these were fathers, daughters, brothers friends. they couldn't just be numbers any more. they had to be people.
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and i wanted to get that across. >> reporter: it happened most often on saturday nights early sunday mornings over an argument argument. what surprised you most, that people shoot each other over the cummest things. a lot of gun deaths is because of arguments fuelled by alcohol. people are solving problems with guns now. where as before maybe they'd get into a fist fight. once the bullet leaves the chamber, their life is ruined. just a waste, a waste of life. >> reporter: of all the stories you about, what will stay with you? >> there's a story about a 79-year-old man that had cancer. he locked himself in the bedroom and had a gun. his wife was listening on the other side of the door and his wife went into the room and said "please, phil i love you, don't do this", and he killed her.
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that was one that made me sit back and think, man, you know. anyone could snap. and a gun makes it more likely. >> reporter: what was the impact of doing that work on you? >> it was about a year in that it started to get to me and get to you. >> i became numb it was one more saturday night. it happens with america, i think that i can take gun violence. we accept it as a fact of life. it's because we are numb. >> a secret for massey's own past helped to keep her going, a family history about gun violence. years before she was born. >> it was here that my father took his first life. his name was joe, they called him joe the fish. he's a heroin addict. my father lured him into the
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park with a promise of heroin. and he and an accomplice turned around and shot him to death. >> reporter: massey would deliver that her father had been a mob enforcer. he killed vitaly because he was a suspected police informant. >> he shot him eight times and stomped on his head. it was pretty brutal. >> reporter: her father was convicted and served 12 years in prison before being paroled. he met massey's mother before his release. >> my mum was part of a quaker group that was visiting prisons. the prison reform movement was very big. >> reporter: she didn't find out her father was a murderer until she was 22 and he was dying of cancer. after he passed away she learnt a darker secret from her mother.
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it wasn't until after your dad was dead and your mother herself was dying that you knew that his crimes had gone beyond that murder. >> she said "you know how you always asked me if he shot more han one person he did." >> reporter: her mother confessed he killed up to six other people over drug deals, after he got out of prison. crimes for which he was never arrested convicted or paid the price. the weight of her father's since drived massey's work. >> i feel the gun report is my way of atoping for his crimes or giving back in some way. i know i can't undo the carnage. if writing about gun violence even just saves one life. then it was worth it. >> the gun report was cancelled on june 10th last year after
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all massey's reporting, her editor told her there was a numbing sameness to the shootings. >> a few days after we pulled it two officers were killed in oregon, there was a shooting at seattle university and i thought i can't believe that i can't write about this. it was very frustrating. what are you afraid happens if you don't continue the work. >> people need to know this happens every day, i want the drum beat to continue. if it is missing, we are numb again. >> we don't hear the shots. >> they evaporate. >> massey may get the chance to continue. >> i think it should be mums. they tell their story. >> she was hired by the gun control organization. >> we'll focus on people's stories, because putting a face to they say crimes helps drive
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it home for readers. the idea is to keep victims of gun violence in the news and in people's thoughts even on those days when thankfully there are no mass shootings. this will hopefully, keep the conversation going. it will be a deady drum beat. we are not going to let this fall out of the media. >> reporter: instead, she'll keep a light shining on the day in/day out ordinary gun violence that is killing so many americans. faces that shouldn't be forgotten. the heartbreak of the charleston shootings is stunning. a vicious and calculated attack. death in the presumed safety of a holy sanctuary, and whether the killer knew it or not. a place with an extraordinary history of embracing justice in the face of racism.
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>> god, we welcome and invite you into this place. your house. >> reporter: he was the pastor who in every way symbolized mother emanuel for a new generation. clementa pinckney gunned down some early reports say, even as he urged the killer to give up its firearm. the leader of a congregation with deep roots in social justice, civil rights and a long history of standing up to oppression. >> we don't see ourselves or many of us don't see ourselves as a place where we come and worship, but as a beacon and as a bearer of the culture, and a bearer of what makes us people. >> in the video from three years ago, mixed sermons with history lessons, in a church born of a bitter and bloody history that began in the 1800s.
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in the post revolution port city small congregations of african-american faithful sprouted up in time coming to be known as the african-american episcopal denomination. it had 4,000 members in 1815 enormous and influential. a founder was a freed man, denmark, who bought his way out of slavery, and was said to have tried to organise the largest slave revolt of the day. thousands were to take part coming from the plantations outside of charleston. someone leaked the plan. b.c. was given a summary trial, and executed with dozens of others. >> denmark is a story told and retold at mother emanuel like generations of leaders.
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and who, like clementa pinckney knew that it carried a critical inspiration for the future. >> it really is what america is all about. could we not argue that america is about freedom, quality and the pursuit of happiness, and sometimes you have to make noise to do that. sometimes you maybe have to die like denmark to do that. sometimes you have to march and struggle and be unpopular to do that. >> as to whether mother emanuel can recover from the attack. consider its history, in the wake of denmark's revolt. mother emanuel sanctuary was burnt to the ground. for years it met in secret until, like the phoenix rising from the ashes, it did rise again. that's "america tonight". tell us what you think at
10:30 pm talk to us on twitter and facebook, and come back. we'll have more of "america tonight" tomorrow. good evening, i'm antonio mora. the anger and anguish continues in south carolina a day after nine people were shot dead inside a church in charleston. mourners have been gathering outside emanuel a.m.e. church since last night. the mayor of charles ston called the massacre an unfathomable and unspeakable act. a suspect is in custody.