Saturday, July 4, 2015

More thoughts on Amber Roof's decision to crowdfund her ruined wedding and honeymoon...

Last night, a local military spouse and veteran got into it with me on Facebook over negative comments expressed about Amber Roof.  She reminded us that Amber Roof was not guilty of murdering the nine people in South Carolina.  It was her brother, Dylann, who killed those people on June 17th.  Amber Roof cancelled her wedding, which was set for June 21st, because she was concerned about security and felt that, in light of the tragedy, it would have been a bad idea to get married that day.  This person on my friends list explained that she has a sister who gets in trouble and she wouldn't want to be judged by her sister's actions.  She made a comment about how it's not okay to "hate" Amber for what Dylann did.  And she apparently felt very strongly about her opinions.

First off, I don't *hate* Amber Roof.  I'd have to know Amber or be directly negatively affected by her actions to hate her.  I will admit, my first reactions to the news that she tried to crowdfund her wedding and honeymoon was of shock and distaste.  I initially called her a "shithead", because my initial reaction to what she did was very negative.  I did think about it and considered the position she was in... and my initial vehemently bad impressions softened a bit.  I eventually got to the point at which I just thought she made a stupid decision that wasn't well considered.

It's now July 4th.  Dylann Roof committed his crime on June 17th.  So a mere 17 days have passed and Roof is now about two weeks past when she was supposed to marry.  The wounds left by Dylann Roof are still very raw.  We still have everyone from politicians to corporate executives scrambling to change policies regarding a certain battle flag because Dylan Roof glorified it before he went on his murderous spree.  Hang out on Twitter, Facebook, CNN, or any other site where people are talking and you'll see people aren't done talking about Dylann Roof, the Confederate flag, South Carolina, or racism.

Yet here's Amber, sister of the killer, complaining about her ruined wedding.  Most of the country seems to think we have bigger fish to fry over this incident than a ruined wedding.  Her fundraising campaign, which may have only been intended for family members and close friends, makes her family look even worse than it did after Dylann Roof's racially charged massacre.

Amber Roof magnanimously offers 10% of the proceeds of her fundraiser to the Emmanuel AME church in Charleston.  To many people, that seemed like very little money under the circumstances.  Roof's goal was $5000 and 10 percent of that is $500.  While $500 is certainly not nothing, it seems a bit like an afterthought, as if she's offering it only so she doesn't look like a jerk.

Personally, I think if Amber had held a fundraiser for the victims with 100% of the proceeds going to the church, she would have been much more successful.  We know she wanted donations, so she could have had a friend mention to the press that Roof's wedding was ruined.  Word would have gotten out and then my guess is that Roof would have gotten some goodwill donations to defray some of her expenses.

My Facebook friend who called me out over this... obviously not someone who has ever taken courses in how to fundraise... claims that this idea is "deceitful and manipulative".  I say it's no more deceitful and manipulative than offering a 10 percent donation to the church.  My plan may not have worked, but I guarantee that if Roof had raised money for the victims and someone else had started a crowdfund for Amber Roof, she would have looked much less like a self-centered asshole and a lot fewer people would be hating on her right now.  It's my guess that the church would have gotten more than $500 in donations and Roof probably would have ended up with more than the $1600 she managed to raise before she cancelled her campaign.  I call that a win/win, not a deceitful and manipulative ploy.

My Facebook friend also mentioned that $5000 is not that much money for a wedding and a honeymoon.  I agree.  But many people don't have $5000 for things they really need.  I wonder how many of the victims had $5000 lying around for their funeral expenses?  What about the people who depended on the victims... children, elderly parents, even friends, who no longer have them around to help them?  No, $5000 isn't a lot for a wedding or a honeymoon or both, but it is still a lot of money for most people.  Weddings get cancelled all the time for any number of reasons.  It's always sad to lose money, especially when it was spent on what was intended to be a celebration.  Still, a person can get married for the price of the marriage license.  The wedding and honeymoon are not the point of a marriage anyway.

Say Amber didn't like my idea and didn't want to donate more than 10% to the church or try to raise funds for them.  Had Amber waited a year or so for her campaign, there would have likely still been harsh judgment, but I think it would have been much less of a big deal than it is right now.  Most people will have moved on to the next topic du jour and the Roof family may have even become an afterthought.  Think about it.  Who's arguing about Adam Lanza right now?  I haven't seen a post about him in many months.  It will probably be the same for Dylan Roof in a year or so.  Right now, asking for money to pay for your nuptials in the wake of your brother's shooting spree just looks callous and selfish.  And setting up your own crowdfund for your missed wedding looks much tackier than getting someone else to do it.

I am willing to concede, though, that Amber Roof does not appear to be the brightest, savviest, or most insightful person in the planet.  And I can also recognize that the past weeks have likely been very stressful and expensive for her.  First, she was planning her wedding, which is a very stressful endeavor.  Then, her brother goes on a shooting spree and kills nine innocent people in a church.  Who would be thinking straight in that situation?  Given the state of mind she could have been in, I might be persuaded to cut her a break for making an unwise decision to try to crowdfund her wedding and honeymoon.  Had she given people more time to recover from the shock and the news coverage, I think more people would have reacted with empathy rather than outrage.

Ultimately, I think Amber Roof reacted in a way typical of a young, inexperienced person who was not looking at the grand scheme of things.  I can certainly forgive that.  On the other hand, this experience may serve as a good warning to others or just a life lesson to Amber Roof.  The public is fickle and tends to be judgmental.  It makes sense to proceed with caution and lots of forethought before you ask the public for money.  It may also make sense to purchase wedding insurance when you plan your big day.  It may seem like a waste of money if things go off without a hitch, but if something disastrous happens, at least you won't be out as much money and tempted to try a stunt like this.


  1. everything you wrote makes sense.

    i still think she shoud have gonee ahead with whatever wedding she had planned in the first place.

    where were her parents in all this? they may not have been the greatest parents, though i don't want to judge them based on their son's actions alone. Sometimes parents do their very best and sommething still goes wrong eith their child. Adam lanza's father certainly seems like an intelligent person and competent parent. Bu where Amber Roof's parents were going through their own gried and hell, but someone should have thought to say to amber, "Honey, our family looks bad enough in the public eye right now as it is. if you ask for money, it will only make things worse." Perhaps one of them did tell her that and she chose not to listen.

    1. I have no idea where her parents were. Her grandfather was supposed to officiate at the ceremony for her.


Comments on older posts will be moderated until further notice.