Justice for the Emanuel Nine

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Filed Under Latest News on Jan 11 

On the 10th day of the first month of 2017, 12 jurors returned a death sentence for Dylann Roof. Not one of them decided to spare the unrepentant killer who ended the lives of the Emanuel Nine. A librarian, a speech therapist, a state senator, heads of families, mothers of teenage children.

If these people of faith; if these nine pillars of their community could have miraculously been raised from their graves to witness Tuesday’s sentencing by the jury, what would they have said? They may very well have said: spare his life. They may even have said: Lord forgive him, for he knows not what he has done.

But those 12 jurors sat in a courtroom, not in a church. And they were instructed to follow – to the best of their ability and according to the evidence presented – the law of the state of South Carolina and the federal law of the United States of America. And Dylann Roof was tried for a capital crime under both state and federal law. He will now be the first person to be put to death for a federal hate crime.

Was there ever any doubt that Roof knew exactly what he had done? Allowing him to plead temporary insanity, for example, would have moved the judicial system ever closer to declaring that anyone who murders is temporarily insane. And therefore not fully responsible for their acts. To excuse evil – true evil – by allowing such a defense would have set a horrifying precedent. Dylann Roof would have been fed, clothed, counseled and provided with shelter by the state for the rest of his life. Or – God forbid – for a number of years, and then released back into the community.

Think about it. Dylan Roof in 15 years giving his first interview as a freed prisoner. Because if you truly believe that he is in need of therapy rather than execution, you have to accept that image of his release, and what it would mean for justice for the Emanuel Nine. Because those nine victims were by all accounts pillars of their community. That means people who respect the law, who follow the law, who counsel and guide those who risk running afoul of the law: from a misdemeanor to more serious crimes.

So if the Emanuel Nine – somehow miraculously raised from their graves – might well have asked for forgiveness for Dylann Roof, they would surely have accepted the court’s ruling, as pillars of their community. And thus rendered unto the American Republic what is the Republic’s business. And unto the Lord their lives and prayers for forgiveness for an act most of us could never even imagine forgiving.

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