As the entire nation reeled from the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, South Carolinians were met with news that a local teen had made violent, racist videos and threatened to shoot up his high school.

Red flags don’t come much brighter.

In conversations across the state the past weeks — on social media and around kitchen tables — the name Dylann Roof has been inescapable. Although vicious videos are not in the same vein as a mass murder, this state will forever be haunted by Roof’s slaughter of nine parishioners at Charleston’s Mother Emanuel AME Church four years ago. Along with that horrible memory is the fear that, just as no one saw Roof coming, we might miss the next one. Roof had recorded videos and taken pictures of himself before taking his dreams of a race war to the so-called City of Steeples.

In the case of the local teen, townspeople familiar with his well-respected family were shocked that such apparent racial hatred could have developed to such an extent and hadn’t been identified sooner.

The student’s videos — and subsequent actions by Columbia’s Cardinal Newman High School and the Richland County Sheriff’s Department — speak to the heightened focus on identifying red flags and taking prompt action. The teen, whose name is being withheld by law enforcement and school officials because he’s a minor, has been banned from the campus, according to local news outlets. In one video, the teen threatened to “shoot up the school,” which led to his arrest on charges of making threats against students. Deputies confiscated firearms from his home.

The boy’s films are painful to watch. In one, he appears to use two rifles to repeatedly shoot a box of Air Jordans, which he says is “the favorite pair of shoes for a black man.” He uses the most-vulgar racial slur and says that he hates African Americans.

Apparently, the videos were made in May before the academic year ended and were circulated among classmates, according to news reports. While school administrators learned of the videos in mid-July, much of the community of more than 500 students and their families found out about them only late last week. Understandably, they’re upset they weren’t told sooner.

Principal Robert Loia, who met with parents Monday, apologized for not speaking up sooner. The sheriff’s office issued a statement saying that the situation was dealt with in a timely manner and there was no threat to the school community.

Even so, school parents are concerned about the other students on the initial online threads, and some have asked the school to take further disciplinary action, reported The State newspaper in Columbia, South Carolina. The school plans to host a town-hall meeting Thursday night.

Some reports suggest that the student and a group of friends may have just been goofing around, trying to make the most sensational, offensive videos possible. If that was their goal, they can retire. But even if true, the videos reflect a disturbing, even terrifying, lack of empathy or a moral compass. What could possibly motivate a 16-year-old to pursue something so vile in the guise of entertainment?

For now, a potential crisis has been averted or at least neutralized. The lesson for this and every community is that no hint of hatred toward any group of people can be tolerated or ignored. Red flags seem to be all around us these days — and every single one needs to be taken down.

2019, Washington Post Writers Group

(2) comments

Donald

Most of this editorial is not worth responding to as it is the typical stuff that is generated by those who have long marinated in the unchallenged group-think of The Bubble, but the last paragraph does hold something of interest – or perhaps a warning. The corporate media, when first confronted by the Internet and its potential for opening up and indeed having opened up the narrative to the non-priesthood, panicked and belatedly tried to co-opt and then compete with it. Now, having lost control over what is reported and how it is reported and now unable to control the narrative, and now realizing they are an antiquated legacy system, they are in a rage. It is obvious they and those they ultimately serve are seeking to define what is allowed on the Internet and what will constitute a “hint” that will justify “Red Flag” actions. I will not be surprised when they begin actively supporting the introduction of China’s social scorecard technology – for the safety of the oppressed, of course.

DANT

Hollywood makes billions off disgusting, vile, movies of mass murder, rape, drug use, etc. They glorify some of the most disgusting people on the planet and then sell it to sheep as entertainment! Kids of all ages watch this garbage and can for sure be influenced by it! Hollywood screams their 1st amendment rights if anyone complains. Red flag laws will not hold up in court no matter what someone says or what videos they make, that is simply unconstitutional! We cannot infringe on someones rights just because they said something....it would not stop would be killers for long anyway, they would soon learn not to say anything before they commit their act just like the Las Vegas shooter!

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