Well, that didn’t take long: Roof sentenced to death

Well, that didn’t take long, in the end:

So after all the buildup to the trial, and the lengthy trial itself, the jury made short work of the matter. It took less than three hours for them to decide.

We’ve known he did it since the day after the massacre itself. Now we’re done with the formalities, except for one.

What to say? Well, I don’t believe in the death penalty, but if you’re going to have one, this is what it’s for.

If I have any further objection, it is this: I wish he was receiving this sentence purely for the nine horrific murders he committed rather than for “hate crimes.” It worries me to see the United States of America put someone to death for his attitudes, however abominable they are. It almost belittles the enormity of what he did, by shifting part of our emphasis from the killing of innocents to punishing political views. (This is one of my few areas of agreement with libertarians.)

But when his execution comes, I guess it’s sort of moot what we call the crime. Once he’s dead, that’s it. He won’t do that any more.

This was a weird day in the courtroom, with Roof’s bizarre address to the jury that dramatically demonstrated why it’s a terrible idea to represent yourself. After supposedly taking over his defense because he didn’t want evidence introduced that point to insanity, he said, “Um, I think it’s safe to say that no one in their right mind wants to go into a church and kill people.”

His soliloquy included other weirdness, such as:

“Wouldn’t it be fair to say that the prosecution hates me?” Roof said, noting that prosecutors were seeking the death penalty.

Roof told the jury they might think, ” ‘Of course they hate you; everyone hates you. They have good reason to hate you.’ I don’t deny it.”…

We’ll never really known what made this guy tick. And perhaps that’s a blessing…

18 thoughts on “Well, that didn’t take long: Roof sentenced to death

  1. JesseS

    Eh, if life has taught me anything it’s that everything is horrible. I expect to see the following responses from progressive commentators:

    -This was only possible in the last days of the Obama administration. Had it happened just 10 days later he’d have been released and given a medal. This is only one bright moment before the sorry end. Honestly, they’ll probably release him later anyway and give him a holiday and another trip to Burger King.

    -White America only wanted Roof dead to deny who they really are. Polls show that Black America was willing to show mercy, but White America felt obligated to steal that away from them. Just like always.

    -It took the guts of the US Federal Govt to do this, the state of SC never would have done this and if they also sentence him to death in a state trial, it will be only be a shallow “me too!” act of a white supremacist terror state attempting to cover up its true nature!

    -Not pushing further and prosecuting the dark forces online who inspired his acts will only embolden them and lead to more violence. Prosecutors knew it was an easy case to knock out of the park, but they didn’t go further because they kowtowed to big business and white racism. This entire shame was all a dodge to guarantee that substantive change will never happen. This is why I’ll never trust the justice system again!

    -And you want a pat on the back, Buttercup? So you finally did something that your usual horrible nature, America? Meanwhile Michael Slager, murderer of Walter Scott, is eating steak and grinning. Nothing changed. Nothing! Police still murder with impunity and you know you secretly love it, white America. Get over yourself!

    -This only happened in order to make Roof a white supremacist martyr.

    1. bud

      The first 5 points are pretty bizarre serving only to insult and not to enlighten. This liberal is opposed to the death penalty and yes, in some craven, twisted way Roof is a bit of a white supremacist martyr. The death penalty acts as a sort of negative deterrent and serves no purpose except to satisfy some sort of community blood lust. A life sentence without parole would be a far better way to handle craven individuals like Dylan Roof.

  2. Scout

    I’m not for the death penalty either.

    What troubles me about this outcome is more how it happened. Circumstantially, at least, the actions of his attorneys and of Roof himself would lead one to suspect there is some mental issue at play here – maybe schizophrenia or mental disability?? I am troubled that in a case like this apparently nothing in our legal system triggers some sort of mandatory mental evaluation and that as a result, a potentially mentally ill person would be allowed to make choices against their own best interest. I get that people have the right to do things against their own best interest. But still, it seems wrong if the reason might be a mental illness.

    It could be that there is something in the system to prevent this, and I just don’t know the whole process. I don’t. This is just my impression from the way it’s been presented.

    It’s not that I want him to get off. Even though I’m against the death penalty, I find him personally disgusting and horrifying. My feelings about the death penalty and my feelings for Dylann Roof are warring with each other. But I’m still not for the death penalty.

    I think it is troubling because it thwarts understanding what really happened.

    1. Claus

      You know what separates us from other species? We don’t outcast our sick, weak, and dangerous. We defy nature, which only weakens the species as a whole. Some will feel all weak at the thought of the whole idea of survival of the fittest, but it works and works well. Nature can be cruel, it’s not all fluffy bunnies and unicorns.

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        Now see, when you started out, I thought you were saying a GOOD thing about our species, one of the reasons I’m a speciesist. I very much believe in human exceptionalism.

        Imagine my whiplash when I saw you were actually saying…

        1. Claus

          Just saying what’s true. Exceptionalism is holding us back more than it’s helping. Sure everyone wants 98 year old grandpa to live another two years so we’ll put in a pacemaker, insulin pump, pump him full of alzheimer’s medications at a cost of thousands of dollars per month, and house him in a nursing home at a cost of $10,000/month. He may not know who we are most days but the thought of him being alive is worth it.

          Same goes for the “dangerous”. If you’re sentenced to life without parole or your age plus sentence total over 75, well we’ve got a surprise for you out behind the courthouse.

          Criminally insane you ask? If it takes three full time staff members to support you to get through the day without hurting yourself or someone else, sit in this chair, put this metal cap on, and hang on because you’re going to ride a lightning bolt.

          Declared brain dead? If you unplug this machine we won’t have to worry about it in a few minutes.

  3. Doug Ross

    If no one else will pull the switch, I’ll do it. The death penalty is a reasonable punishment for a heinous crime. It’s not a deterrent, It’s a punishment. To expend what will end up being millions of tax dollars on this person over the next 50 years is ridiculous – just as it has been to keep Charles Manson alive for five decades. It doesn’t make our society better in any way to keep him alive.

    1. Scout

      Is it a punishment for him in particular if he wants it? He seems to want to be a martyr. He at the very least did not put up a fight to not get the death penalty.

      1. Doug Ross

        Let’s see how he responds when he’s sitting in the electric chair.

        I suppose the only other acceptable alternative would be to put him in a cell with a large black man who is also serving life. See how things shake out in that environment.

    1. Bart

      I may be ticked off but to respond to your comment, you are full of it, Burl. Dylan Roof is not a Christian and to lower your standards by making a comment like you did is reprehensible. All it does is to associate you with the Neanderthals who engage in offensive comments on open forums. There is nothing Christian about the evil surrounding the KKK, white supremacists, Aryan nation jerks, and any of their sympathizers, nothing at all.

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        Bart, I edited your comment to Burl, to keep it within blog civility standards, more or less.

        Holler at me in a sidebar if you object. I’m at brad@bradwarthen.com.

        Frankly, I found Burl’s comment puzzling. I wondered if what he meant was that Roof was a terrorist who specialized in killing Christians. That would have made sense, because it’s what he’s known for.

        Maybe I’ve missed something, but I’ve seen no indications of Roof himself having any religious convictions…

        1. Bart

          No, I won’t “holler” at you Brad. And no objections to editing my comment however, I stand by every word I said. I knew going in you might edit them so no surprise. And yes, I was totally ticked off because there is no reasonable excuse for the comment by Burl.

          I think your interpretation is not accurate because by Roof’s own words, he wanted to start a race war and chose the most vulnerable venue to carry out his evil plan. He studied locations and chose his target carefully and knew it would probably have the greatest impact in his quest to foment hatred and civil unrest. He also knew that a church would offer the least amount of resistance, not like a nightclub or other location frequented by African Americans.

          If Burl wants to clarify, fine. If not, that is okay by me.

          Thankfully the good people of the church and the families of the victims turned the table on Roof’s plan and forgave him and as a result, the exact opposite of what he wanted happened. The flag came down, the city and state come together, and in a way, his act of mass murder actually brought out the good in South Carolina. So, his master plan, hatched in a broken mind backfired. No, he is not a Christian and it is unlikely he will ever be one.

          Some may disagree but he is not a terrorist either, he is a racist to the core harboring a deep hatred for anyone with black skin. He is a very deeply troubled young man who never had the opportunity of actually living a Christian life.

  4. Harry Harris

    To me, Dylan Roof is both sad and pathetic, but a product of our polarized atmosphere, lack of broad community, and our worship of violence. I think his stated lack of remorse reflects the prevalence in our culture that horrendous acts committed in furtherance or defense of some cause are acceptable. Sounds much like a terrorist from any other religion or political cause. Shame on him; shame on us.

    1. Doug Ross

      ” I think his stated lack of remorse reflects the prevalence in our culture that horrendous acts committed in furtherance or defense of some cause are acceptable.”

      Is it really “prevalence in our culture” when 99% of people aren’t committing violent crimes and the rest of us are horrified by any of these violent acts? Where are you seeing this attitude? I suppose you could apply it to the radical Islamists who have been committing mass murders around the country. That’s certainly a culture that promotes violence in the name of a cause.

  5. Claus

    Now for the decades of appeals. He was sentenced to death, why isn’t he swinging from a tree behind the courthouse this morning?

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