Dear Shooter, You Thought Wrong



A testimony to South Carolina's resilience in the face of the heinous Charleston Church massacre, and a reminder that hate will never win

Dear Shooter, I will not write your name. I do not care to learn the spelling. I refuse to repeat it. I refuse to let it be on the same page as the names of the lives you took.


Dear Shooter, you thought you could shake this state. You thought hate would remain in the place of your arrest. You thought you could create a shift, a paradigm, a crack between us South Carolinians. You thought that you could tear this nation apart. You thought that your bullets would ring louder than liberty bell, the victory of the civil war, and the treasured words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.


Dear Shooter, you thought that you could strip us of our freedom and our safe havens. You thought you could steal our faith, in one another, our God, this state, and this nation. You thought using your gun might eliminate our ability to use ours.


Dear Shooter, in a place where the Lord calls home and we call protected, you thought you could murder. You thought you could take fathers from families days before Father's day. You thought that you could take life in a place that gives eternal life.


Dear Shooter, you thought you could execute love. You thought you could replace it with hate. You thought, in the wake or your gunshots, that we would turn on our neighbors, friends and family. You thought the color of one's skin was enough to take lives. You thought the 1950's hadn't brought the end of segregated school systems. You thought the 1960's did not bring about the end of discrimination based of race, color, religion and sex. You did not understand that this is one nation, one state, one city, under God.


Dear Shooter, you thought wrong.


Dear Shooter, I will not write your name. I refuse to give you fame. However, I will uplift the names of these mothers, fathers, husbands, wives, siblings, reverends and friends that you stole of dreams, hope, futures and lives. To these, I will bring fame. To these I will glorify, praise, and repeat. These people deserve this page, they deserve proper spelling and they deserved the life that you took from them.


Sharonda Coleman-Singleton


Sharonda was a speech therapist and mother or three.


Reverend Clementa Pinckney


He was a South Carolina State Senator, a married father of two and the pastor at Emanuel AME Church.


Rev. Daniel L. Simmons


He was a ministerial staff member of the church.


Myra Thompson


She was 59 and leaves behind her husband Reverend Anthony Thompson. She was a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.


Ethel Lance


She was 70, and had been a member of the church for more than 30 years. She was the current janitor of the church and left behind a grieving family. As her grandson Jon Quil her grandson Jon Quil Lance told described toThe Post and Courier "Granny was the heart of the family.She’s a Christian, hardworking; I could call my granny for anything. I don’t have anyone else like that."


Cynthia Hurd


She was a librarian for the past 31 years.


Susie Jackson


She was Ethel Lance's cousin, and at 80 years old, she was in the choir, on the church's usher board, and a longtime church member.


DePayne Doctor


She was 49, a mother of four, a member of the choir, and a reverend in the church.


Tywanza Sanders


He was working at a barber shop and was a recent grad from Allen University.



Dear Shooter, you might have the ability to bring us to our knees in grief. You may have the ability to make news outlets around the nation echo your name. However, you will never tear us apart. You will never turn us on one another. You will never deafen the sounds of liberty bell, and of victory ringing.


Dear Shooter, you cannot scare us. You cannot strip us of our belief. We will continue to believe in one another, in our God, this state, and the United States of America. You will not take away our rights. You will not take away our arms.


Dear Shooter, you took the lives of these 9 victims. Yet, their memories will live on. Their voice will be heard around the world. Their legacies will be glorified. You can take a physical life, but we will see these victims again. You can take away earthly fathers, but there is a father for the fatherless.


Dear Shooter, you can murder. You can commit evil doings. You can hate. However, you cannot execute love. You will not make us hate. On the door steps of Charleston's Emmanuel AME Church we have gathered. Flowers cover the steps and love greets each of the growing crowd. You can take a life, but you cannot take our love for one another and this place. The roar of your gun is now silenced and replaced with the songs of our sorrow, our prayer, and our faith in better days.


Our prayers are with your tortured soul.


But dear Shooter, you have failed.

But dear Shooter, you have failed.

Gracin JohnsonComment