I was mortified by the response of state Rep. William Chumley on June 23 to a CNN reporter when he was asked about his position on the removal of the Confederate battle flag from the state Capitol grounds.
Chumley turned his opposition to the removal of the flag to blaming the victims for not defending themselves. Nine people, he said, just sat there and “waited their turn to be shot.”
How cold. How heartless. How reprehensible.
Then he continued to blame the victims by saying that the killer was a “skinny person” who paused at a certain point to reload his weapon, intimating once again that those massacred should have put up some defense to save themselves against a weakling with a gun.
We don’t know exactly what transpired in that room that fateful night, but I have heard many times over that Tywanza Sanders, one of the victims, pleaded with the gunman to spare the lives of others, even offering himself to be the sacrificial scapegoat.
The gunman, hell-bent on mass destruction, told him that his sacrifice would not matter because he was going to kill them all.
When I heard Rep. Chumley’s remarks, I thought how sad that this man represents South Carolina, particularly the people of Spartanburg County.
I hope and pray that neither he nor any member of his family finds himself in a predicament that the Emanuel AME Church nine found themselves in on Wednesday, June 17.