On the evening of June 17, 2015, Dylann Storm Roof sat in a Bible study group at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, in Charleston, South Carolina, for 45 minutes. Then he pulled out a Glock .45 handgun and shot 10 people, killing nine of them.
All of the victims were African-American. One was the pastor of the church and a state senator, Rev. Clementa Pinckney. Two others were also pastors. Six of the victims were women; three were men.
Fourteen hours later, Roof, 21, of Eastover, South Carolina, was arrested and charged with the murders.
Many people, from politicians to celebrities to men and women on the street, are decrying the mass killing as an indication of virulent racism in America.
Dylann Storm Roof certainly is a racist. Authorities say he left a racist manifesto targeting blacks, Jews and Hispanics on his website. But I think there’s a good chance that Dylann’s primary issue is sociopathy.
In an article called Charleston suspect’s life a troubled road to radicalization, the Associated Press wrote:
Talk to his friends and family, and a portrait emerges of a troubled and confused 21-year-old, often drunk and occasionally threatening violence as he alternated between partying with black friends and spouting white power slogans to white friends. Court documents and nearly two dozen interviews show Roof’s early childhood was troubled and confused as well, as he grew up in an unstable, broken home amid allegations of marital abuse and infidelity.
In another article, Details emerge about Charleston church shooting suspect Dylan Storm Roof, Q13fox.com reported that he was arrested for possessing the drug Suboxone, which is used for opiate addiction, was barred from the Columbiana Centre Mall because he asked suspicious questions, and then later arrested for trespassing at the mall.
Now, those details could describe the behavior of a temporarily wayward young man and don’t necessarily make Dylann Roof a sociopath.
What does make me wonder if Dylann Roof is disordered is the information about his parents.
Dylann Roof’s mother, Amelia “Amy” Cowles, and his father, Franklin Bennett “Benn” Roof, married, divorced, reconciled and split again before Dylann was born.
Benn Roof married another woman, Paige Hastings, when Dylann was four. From that point on, Paige Hastings did most of the caretaking. Dylann’s mother was supposed to see him every other weekend, but that didn’t always happen.
Dylann’s father, Benn Roof, was abusive to his new wife.
After a 10-year marriage, Paige Hastings divorced him in 2009. According to court documents filed in the divorce, reported by The Daily Mail, Paige claimed that Benn Roof:
- Physically assaulted her
- Moved her away from family and friends
- Refused to let her work
- Called her multiple times a day, demanding to know what she was doing
- Controlled her financially and questioned expenses
- Took away the credit card she used to buy groceries
- Hired a private detective to follow her after they split up
EXCLUSIVE: Charleston killer Dylann Roof grew up in a fractured home where his ‘violent’ father beat his stepmother and hired a private detective to follow her when they split, she claims in court papers, on DailyMail.co.uk.
Just about everyone on Lovefraud will recognize this behavior. Dylann Roof’s father sounds like a classic sociopath.
So Dylann Roof was likely subjected to the double whammy — he inherited a genetic predisposition to a personality disorder, and then experienced the terrible parenting of a sociopathic father.
It’s the tragic double whammy of many people who are born to a sociopathic parent. They never have a chance.
Dylann’s biological mother doesn’t seem to have been around much — which could mean that she was also disordered, or that Dylann’s father alienated her from their son.
Dylann’s stepmother, Paige, tried her best. But she finally left her controlling, abusive husband when Dylann was 15 — right about the time when sociopathy usually kicks in.
From that point on it was all downhill for Dylann.
How psychopathic parents affect children, on Lovefraud.com.
Not totally racism
In the end, I’m not sure the Charleston massacre can be blamed on “racism in America.”
An alternative explanation is that Dylann Storm Roof’s genetic predisposition to sociopathy was fanned by his disordered father and the abusive environment in which he grew up. As the disorder took hold of his personality, Roof looked for a way to express it, and latched on to racial hatred.
He then walked into that historic Charleston church, sat with the Bible study group, and murdered nine people in cold blood.
Don’t get me wrong — Dylann Roof is totally responsible for his horrific behavior. He chose to do what he did.
But where did Roof get the gun?
His father, the violent Franklin Bennett Roof, gave it to him as a present for his 21st birthday.