… which in a way isn’t news, since it was a foregone conclusion. But it’s a tribute to the fact that we still live under a system of laws and not of men — innocent until proven guilty, etc. — which is reassuring in this post-election world in which so much that our Founders bequeathed us seems threatened.
Of the seven news outlets I just glanced at, five led with it, including both British outlets I looked at:
- The State — Dylann Roof found guilty
- NPR — Jury Finds Dylann Roof Guilty In S.C. Church Shooting
- BBC — Supremacist guilty of US church killings
- The Washington Post — Dylann Roof found guilty of all charges in Charleston church massacre
- The Guardian — Dylann Roof found guilty in Charleston church shooting
Only The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times led with other things. The Journal, true to its calling went with an item about the dollar hitting new heights, while the Times touted the latest in its series about the Russians tampering with our election.
In other South Carolina news, Steve Benjamin — of all people — had a meeting with Donald Trump. He says he thinks it went well. Sure — that’s what people say just before Trump gives them the Mitt Romney treatment…
I thought it was pretty interesting that a poll done by USC found that 66% of white South Carolinians favored the death penalty for Roof, while 66% of African-American respondents stated that they didn’t favor capitol punishment in this case. I’m not even sure how to interpret that one.
Are whites “white washing” this one? The sooner they get Roof off of this Earth the sooner they can feel OK with themselves? Is it political divisions talking, where Republicans tend to strongly favor the death penalty? Is it a matter of racial dynamics at play (no use in turning Roof into a Horst Wessel for American white nationalists)? Or are African-Americans simply better Christians who are enlightened enough to know the failings of an eye for an eye?
Granted I’m stacking the deck in favor of progressivism’s pessimism. Maybe whites simply want to send a message to other whites in saying this can’t be tolerated.
I think that’s fairly typical. For some pretty powerful historical reasons, black Americans have never supported capital punishment the way whites do.
Culturally, blacks have had to learn to forgive since they were first brought to our shores as slaves. They had no choice and fighting back was not an option if they wanted to survive or avoid the lash of the plantation overseer. Forgiveness is especially true in a church and in their religious beliefs and since they know death based on their slave history, life for most is too precious to take away even for someone like Roof.
Conversely, whites seem to hold onto grudges and grievances longer than other races and hold to the “eye for an eye” belief when an act of murder or a crime meeting the level of punishment by death has been committed. In this instance, Roof certainly meets the criteria for the death penalty and even though I can forgive, at the same time, I still hold him responsible for his actions and strongly believe he should have the full extent of justice meted out to him for his crime. He knew what he was doing and I also realize that among the miniscule number who see him as a hero will consider him a martyr if he receives the death penalty.
The other consideration is that prison is an island unto itself and on the prison island, there are tribes and each tribe recruits as many to join there tribe as possible. The question is if Roof is imprisoned for life, will he continue his life of hatred and belief a race war is needed and will he be a hero to the white supremacist cult in prison and recruit others who upon release will foment their brand of hatred further into the world outside prison walls upon their release?
How do you stop hate that will drive someone like Roof to slaughter 9 innocent lives under the delusion they can start a race war? Do you end the life of the hater or do you incarcerate him for life but allow him access to others who will listen to his lies and spread more hatred because of skin color?
If his life is to be spared, I would hope he is confined to solitary confinement away from other prisoners and only allowed to go to an exercise area alone maybe once a day. That to me would be the ultimate punishment, denial of the ability to interact and influence others. Otherwise, if it is the death penalty, I have no problem with that either.
” That to me would be the ultimate punishment, denial of the ability to interact and influence others. Otherwise, if it is the death penalty, I have no problem with that either.”
There is a real cost to caring for Dylan Roof for potentially the next 60 years. Does he deserve to take resources away from decent people? Nope. He did it. He knew what he was doing at the time. That this trial even had to be held was a waste of time and resources.
Need to re-read before posting. “..to join ‘there’ tribe as possible.” Should be ‘their”.