A Southerner's message: This is not who we are

Story highlights

  • Philip Holloway: As a Southerner, I think South Carolina is capable of prosecuting the horrific church killings
  • He says Confederate flag should be taken down, and gun rules may need some changes

Philip Holloway, a CNN legal analyst, is a criminal defense lawyer who heads his own firm in Cobb County, Georgia. A former prosecutor and adjunct professor of criminal justice, he is former president of the Cobb County Bar Association's criminal law section. Follow him on Twitter: @PhilHollowayEsq The opinions expressed in this commentary are his.

(CNN)Along with every other human being capable of empathy I was profoundly saddened to learn of the massacre in Charleston of nine African-American churchgoers at the hands of one white male driven, apparently, by racial hatred.

In the days following this evil act many questions arose. Among them are:
Philip Holloway
1. Should the federal government prosecute this case as a hate crime or as terrorism since South Carolina does not have any hate crime legislation?
    2. Should the Confederate flag be removed from the grounds of the South Carolina Capitol?
    3. Do we need more laws concerning gun control?
    As a Southerner who is proud of my heritage, as a criminal lawyer, as a fan of the Second Amendment and as a continuing student of criminology, my answers to these questions are 1: No, 2: Yes 3: No, but. ...

    Hate crime, terrorism or mass murder?

    There is simply no need for the federal government to prosecute this case as a hate crime, an act of terrorism or anything else.
    It is most certainly true that this crime could be prosecuted by the federal authorities, and the descriptions of it as a "hate crime" and as "terrorism" are accurate both in the legal sense and in the vernacular, but the criminal justice system in the state of South Carolina is well capable of dealing with this case.
    The accused has reportedly confessed, the evidence is strong, and even the governor is calling for the death penalty. It doesn't get much worse than that for anyone accused of a crime.
    With that said, there is a practical reason why South Carolina -- and only South Carolina -- needs to handle this case. An aggressive, forceful and relentless state pros