White Supremacist symbols used by South Carolina church shooter only appeared in the days before the racist mass murder.
By Nate Thayer
June 30, 2015
South Carolina church shooter Dylann Roof clearly took some inspiration from White power racist ideology, but it remains unclear from whom and to what degree that motivated his murderous rampage.
And one tattoo on Roof, which is clearly depicted in photographs 5 weeks prior to the church mass murders appears to have disappeared from his right hand by the time he was arrested on June 19.
Roof’s use of white supremacist imagery only appeared in the immediate weeks prior to the mass murders in the Charleston, South Carolina church, his first photograph with a confederate flag taken on April 27.
The first indication of Roof using white supremacist symbolism in the 57 photographs posted on his website was April 29.
April 29th photos show him on a beach with neo Nazi symbols scrawled in the sand. They include the numerals “14 88”. The 14 stands for a slogan consisting of 14 words: “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for White Children.” The 88 stands for a passage from Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf, Volume 1, Chapter 8 which is 88 words in length, or by some accounts “Heil Hitler”–the ‘H’ representing the 8th letter of the alphabet.
Also in that photograph are two other White supremacist and neo Nazi symbols.
One is a 45 degree angle square on top of two tilted legs below the “14 88″ known as a Odal Rune, a pagan symbol of Odinism and also a Nazi symbol adopted by the far right neo Nazi skinhead movement in both Europe and the U.S in the late 20th century. Among Nazi sympathizers and white racialists, it stands for Aryan heritage.
Above the “14 88″, is a symbol associated with Nazi and Aryan ideology, the “Sun Wheel”, used by many neo-Nazis and white supremacists.
But, during an analysis of the photographs from Dylann Roof’s website, another White Supremacist symbol–the Celtic Cross, was found tattooed on the middle finger above the knuckle of Dylann Roof’s right hand. This Celtic Cross symbol first appears in a photograph Roof took on May 11 while he was burning an American flag.
But pictures of Roof when arrested on June 19 in North Carolina also clearly show no tattoo on that finger, 5 weeks later.
He set up his FB page in early 2015 and of his 83 friends, 2/3 were black. There is no evidence he actually ever met with a member of an organized white supremacist organization or attended any meetings in real life. He appears to have gained guidance from perusing the internet.
Of the 57 photographs on his website, lastrhodesian.com–which was created on February 8, 2015–nine include depictions of overt racist symbolism. None of these photos were taken prior to his purchase of the .45 Glock 45 weapon in early April, data from the photographs show.
Roof was arrested February 28 for possession of drugs. He was then interrogated by police on March 13, where they found 6 40 round clips for an AR-15 (semi) automatic weapon, but had not (and never did) purchase that actual weapon.
The first pictures of Roof with the Glock were taken on April 7–4 days after his birthday.
On April 27, photos show Roof, for the first time, with a confederate flag holding the Glock pistol he purchased in early April.
On April 29, photos show him on a beach with neo nazi symbols scrawled in the sand. These symbols are common to the European and U.S. White Supremacist movement. They included the numerals “14 88”. The 14 stands for a slogan attributed to David Lane, a U.S. terrorist of the white separatist paramilitary organization “The Order”: “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for White Children.” The 88 stands for a passage from Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf, Volume 1, Chapter 8 which is 88 words in length.
In that same April 29 photograph, there are two symbols scrawled in the sand above and below the “14 88”.
One is a symbol of a square at a 45 degree angle on top of two tilted legs below the “14 88”. This symbol is known as a Odal Rune, originally a Viking symbol of the pagan religion of Odinism and also a symbol of Nazi rule used by an SS Division before being adopted by the far right neo Nazi skinhead movement in both Europe and the U.S in the late 20th century. Among White Nationalists, Nazi sympathizers, and white racialist it stands for Aryan heritage and cultural pride.
Above the “14 88″, is drawn another white supremacist symbol associated with Nazi and Aryan ideology, the “Sun Wheel.” The Sun Wheel has been used as a symbol of the Aryan race by many neo-Nazis and white supremacists.
What is odd, is discovered during analysis of the photographs, another White Supremacist symbol–the Celtic Cross, which is tattooed on the middle finger above the knuckle of his right hand. This Celtic Cross symbol first appears in a photograph Roof took on May 11 while he was burning an American flag.
The timestamp on the data from the photograph indicates it was taken at 6:33 PM, May 11, 2015. A close look at the photograph shows that the watch Roof is wearing in that photograph shows that the time, also, read 6:33 PM.
Another photograph taken 30 minutes later the same day, also clearly shows Roof with that tattoo while he is stepping on an American flag, apparently in his bedroom.
But pictures of Roof when arrested on June 19 in North Carolina also clearly show no tatoo on that finger, 5 weeks later.
The close-ups of the tattoo do not indicate it is a temporary inked tattoo. Why is it missing five weeks after it first appeared?
The origins and sources of Dyllan Roof’s anger and hatred remain an enigma.
Roof was attracted to an amalgam of virulent strains of neo Nazi, White Separatist beliefs and cherry picked hot button topics from the swirling rhetoric of the hundreds of online hate groups who exist mostly only in cyber space, according to an analysis of his writings, photographs, and sources within the White Power movement.
What stands out in an analysis of Roof’s political influences is that he had no loyalty to any specific group. Roof likely never met with a white nationalist group leader or participated in any real life events or activities.
An analysis of his text and photos suggest Roof took extensive guidance from a fringe Nazi white nationalist, Harold Covington, who heads the Northwest Front and has been linked to numerous acts of violence, including racial, religious, and political assassinations and attacks on black churches for more than 3 decades.
Dylann Roof likely surfed numerous white nationalist websites and forums which have skyrocketed in tandem with the rise of the digital media age.
But Roof has a notably similar and unique compendium of views and relatively obscure ideology, according to his writing and photographs, which he shared with Harold Covington, the far right-wing leader of the armed White Nationalist group, the Northwest Front.
At least 9 of the 57 photographs on Dylann Roof’s website show him wearing a jacket with patches of the flags of white ruled Rhodesia and Apartheid era South Africa. In addition, the name of his website is registered as “The Last Rhodesian.”
Those among the white nationalist movement who support Ian Smith’s Rhodesia and apartheid era South Africa, support them because of their white supremacist politics. The focus on the two countries, particularly Rhodesia, is rare within the fractured and disorganized White Nationalist extremist movement, but it fits well within the ideological narrative.
Rhodesia inhabits a unique–and less prominent– place in far right American extremist politics than South Africa. The narrative of the defeated white ruled Rhodesian government evokes images of the black masses terrorizing and oppressing white culture.
Dylann Roof is shown posing on a beach where he had drawn the words “14 88″ in the sand in two separate photographs taken on March 18, according the meta data from the original photographs uploaded by Roof onto his website.
The ’14’ stands for the 14 words of jailed white power icon David Lane, a leader of the white separatist paramilitary organization “The Order”: “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for White Children.”
“The Northwest Front is a White separatist movement dedicated to the Fourteen Words of David Lane: ‘We must secure the existence of our people and a future for White children,’” writes Covington on his Northwest Front website.