Under the dictionary definition of terrorism, Dylann Roof is a terrorist, no question about it. He became a terrorist because he saw that in the material world of politics, it is violence and the threat of violence — not mere moral suasion and rational argument — that most often bring about radical change.
To understand this fact is in not to excuse nor endorse what Roof did in any way. His sickening act was so heinous as to be incomprehensible. Nonetheless, a realistic apprehension of such a terrorist’s motives and method of operation is necessary, especially for those who seek to stop such attacks.
People who choose terrorist tactics do so out of recognition that, for better or worse, violence works:
It was not non-violent protest and written legislation which ended segregation; it was the overwhelming threat of heavily armed federal troops deployed against a population.
It was not abolitionist essays and official proclamations which ended slavery; it was all-out scorched earth war with hundreds of thousands killed.
It is not rational discourse nor cultural sensitivity that silences critics of Islam, it is jihad murder and the terrorist threat of it, along with an Orwellian police state.
Even mere voting — the entire democratic process, really — is only effective because the results are backed by organized government force and its threat of violence against those who do not comply. This is not just my opinion, this is fact.
If the manifesto put forth as his writing is authentic, Dylann Roof turned to the internet and discovered much more honest and thorough reporting about interracial violence than what is officially presented to the public. He saw the staggeringly disproportionate and widespread rape, murder, and other crime done by blacks against whites, and he saw that the established media, authorities, and body politic are mostly indifferent to it, afraid/loathe to even acknowledge it, and often lie about it.
Roof saw modern whites mainly choosing to be rather oblivious to racial reality, cultivating color-blindness as an imagined virtue, while blacks ruthlessly nurse a hyper-awareness of race in all things to further an aggressive, often vicious ascendancy.
Roof’s murderous rampage against soft civilian targets at the A.M.E. church (headquarters of black political activism and grievance agitation in places like Ferguson and Baltimore) is not any less despicable than the black violence against white innocents to which he was reacting, however he saw no other way to bring about political change. Call him evil and wrong-headed in his tactics, as I do, but you cannot deny that it is physical violence and/or the threat of it that ultimately determines who and which political order dominates a society. Anyone who believes otherwise, save for exceptional circumstances, is fooling themselves.
Christian love may be morally supreme and transcendent over and above physical political force (and it is) but it is not of this Earthly kingdom. Jesus Christ said so Himself (John 18:36). In the same way, Dylann Roof is obviously not of the Kingdom of Heaven, nor is any other human, by varying degree.
Roof’s agenda was not to transcend earthly racial politics. He merely wanted to initiate physical war against a political order in which white society is becoming dominated by black violence and the threat of it, backed up by a federal government wielding overwhelming force on behalf of de facto black supremacy in schools, workplaces, and in government/political office. Notice that when blacks (or members of any other “protected” group) fail to meet the standards of civility or performance to which white males are held, the government frequently steps in to enforce the political order which demands that minorities’ failure be sanctified, promoted, and made supreme anyway.
For decades, our society has been led by those who pretend and profess that a multi-racial society can and should exist without any particular race being dominant. Such a fantasy is so detached from earthly political reality that only an Orwellian regime and milieu entertains it, and deigns to enforce it.
The theory of a multi-racial society in which no one race dominates would depend on all members of all racial groups miraculously renouncing natural tendencies toward ethnic cohesion, and declining to seek advantages for their identified group. In addition to being a Utopian political fantasy, we can easily observe that in the United States today, that is about the furthest thing from what we actually have. Whites — despite still being the majority in America — are the only group which largely renounce cohesion and advantages for themselves based on racial identity. Meanwhile, such unity and power are eagerly and openly sought and celebrated for other racial groups. Whites moreover even work ardently on behalf of other racial groups for the ascendancy/supremacy of minorities over whites’ own declining power and privilege.
Does right make might, or does might make right? In terms of the mundane and territorial, I honestly do not know. In the transcendental realm, the inseparability of right and might — Justice — is coming regardless of what we depraved humans say or do. I’m sure it’ll be by Grace, not race, if we meet there.