Today: Massacre in a Sanctuary

I'm Davan Maharaj, editor of the Los Angeles Times. Early evidence in the massacre of nine black men and women in a South Carolina church points to a hate crime. Here are some story lines I don't want you to miss today.


Massacre in a Sanctuary

Even in a year when race troubles have surged violently to the forefront, the bloodshed in Charleston, S.C., was especially horrendous -- and eerie: A young white man joined a prayer meeting in a black church -- perhaps even was welcomed -- sat quietly for an hour and then coldly opened fire, killing nine. All signs point to racial motivation. More pain. More anger. More questions. And, this time, even a little hope.

Heart of a Community

A state senator and beloved pastor. A head librarian. A speech pathologist and high school track coach. A children's advocate. Nine men and women in all -- mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers -- bound together by the church sanctuary where they were gunned down. Their loss tears a big hole in Charleston.

"It Was Just Jokes"

It happens so often. Seemingly obvious red flags don't become obvious until too late. "It was just jokes he would make, racist jokes," said a former classmate of Dylann Roof, the suspect in the Charleston rampage. In a Facebook picture, his jacket has emblems popular with white supremacists. Yet people who know him are shocked that he's a suspect. Here's what we know .

MSNBC as Rehab

What must the staff at MSNBC think? "There's nothing like becoming a rehab facility for tainted journalists," writes TV critic Mary McNamara. That's where disgraced NBC ex-anchor Brian Williams is headed. Lester Holt stays on as the first solo black anchor of the nightly news -- a milestone, McNamara says, that won't get the attention it deserves as the Williams fiasco plays out.

"Laudato Si"

"Be praised," it means in the Umbrian dialect. It's a remarkable encyclical in which a pope allies the Vatican with an old rival, science. Climate change, Francis says, is real, people are causing it, and there's a moral imperative to act. Environmentalists are ecstatic. Conservatives, including some Catholic politicians, say they wish the pope would stay out of politics. Here's the document.


-- State budget deals sidestep environmental rules to ease the way for some major projects.

-- The industrial city of Vernon's first privately owned housing will double its population.

-- "There's more nutrients in this little seed than in a whole peach." Columnist Robin Abcarian looks at a daunting drought PR problem for almond growers.

-- Southern California temperatures are expected to hit 100 degrees this weekend.


-- The Supreme Court says Texas was justified in rejecting the Confederate flag on license plates.

-- Republicans trying to catch up on voter data mining run into their own ideology.

-- The Eurozone warns Greece that "time is running out" to avoid a catastrophe.

-- A suspicious fire damages the landmark Church of the Multiplication of Loaves and Fish in Israel.


-- New owners plan a $30-million face lift for the Promenade at Howard Hughes Center.

-- Federal regulators give people a little more power to stop robocalls.

-- Fitbit flexes its muscle in a robust stock debut.


-- Bill Dwyre: Dustin Johnson gets off to a strong start in the U.S. Open at the weird and wonderful Chambers Bay course.

-- Steve Ballmer touts -- and defends -- the new Clippers logo.

-- American Pharoah: Welcome home, big fella.

-- The latest scores and stats.


-- For the parents of Jordan Davis, "3 1/2 Minutes, 10 Bullets" is much more than a tale of violence against young black men.

 -- Film review: Emotions take center stage in a magical, insightful "Inside Out."

Passings: Jack Rollins, 100, legendary manager to Woody Allen, David Letterman and Robin Williams, among others. Nelson Doubleday Jr., 81, publisher who once owned the New York Mets.


-- Why police worry more about right-wing extremists than homegrown "jihadists." Two scholars explain in a New York Times Op-Ed.

-- The Atlantic suggests ways the new librarian at the Library of Congress should adapt to the digital age


Councilman Bernard Parks thought he had a fine idea to help South L.A., once known as South Central, upgrade its identity. SOLA, he wanted to call it, a hip acronym that might do what DTLA did for downtown. Latinos see a problem. "Sola," in Spanish, means a woman who is alone. Or lonely. Or worse. Did Parks overlook a changing demographic in his district?

Please send comments and ideas to Davan Maharaj.