AP Throws A Dose Of Reality Into Church Arson Controversy

There have been 8 predominantly Black churches which have burned over the last 10 days. Only 3 can positively be identified as being arson. The rest? Lightning strikes are some of the most probable causes, especially for the Mount Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church in Greeleyville, SC.

Three of those fires have been ruled arson, one was determined to be caused by a falling branch and faulty wiring, and the others remain under investigation. Several have been blamed preliminarily on lightning; weather in the South this week has been turbulent.

This doesn’t stop the Social Justice Warriors from bleating about raaaaacism and stuff. And, in some cases, they could be right. Let’s never forget that there are hateful people out there of all stripes. Of course, these same SJWs aren’t particularly concerned when Jewish religious centers are hit with swastikas and other hate, including arson. Nor are they concerned when Blacks attack white people in hate crimes. It’s almost like they are just trying to patronize Black people for their votes, whipping them up into a frenzy

Church fires common, but usually not the result of arson

As investigators probe the cause of a fire that destroyed a rural South Carolina black church rebuilt after the Ku Klux Klan torched it 20 years ago, statistics show church fires are not unusual, and that the vast majority in recent years were not intentionally set.

Of the blazes that occurred at houses of worship dozens of times a week across the nation, about 84 percent were not intentionally set and many arsons are probably not hate crimes, the data shows.

No one keeps an up-to-date tally of every church fire in the United States, making exact comparisons impossible.

Yet if the six church fires around the Southeast were all that occurred in recent days, it would prove a relatively safe period for houses of worship.

An average of roughly 31 congregations burned every week from 2007 through 2011, according to a 2013 estimate by the National Fire Protection Association. The association based its estimate on data collected by the U.S. Fire Administration and supplemented with survey results.

Of all those church burnings, only 16% were arson.

Kitchen equipment and faulty heating or electrical systems were more likely to burn a church than an arsonist.

And lightning.

“Perception matters,” said Marty Ahrens, an analyst for the fire protection association. “We don’t know all the causes of all the fires that have gone on this week. But if the church arsons had not happened so soon after the tragedy in Charleston, that horrible incident, would it have gotten the same level of attention?”

Good question. Any that were arson are a shame. Unfortunately, there are bad people out in the world. There are also those who would use this for their hyper-political purposes, rather than offering help.

Some attacks on black congregations defy simple racial motives. For example, a taskforce formed by then-President Bill Clinton found that 63 percent of the people arrested for bombing or burning black churches in the late 1990s were white. But 37 percent were black.

The motives of the attackers varied widely, according to a taskforce report from 2000. Some suspects were vandals or pyromaniacs. Others were trying to cover up crimes such as burglary or financial theft. Others just held grudges.


Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach.

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