As a person who very often shares news on her Facebook page with snarky commentary, I shared the news about Dylan Roof being found guilty of massacring nine church goers in North Carolina without any caption. It’s not that I disagree with the verdict on this self-proclaimed white supremacist, who probably will never see the error of his ways, I just hate that this will now turn into a death penalty debate, and then when it’s all said in done, for the most part, it’s over.
Sure, there will be memorials on the anniversary of their deaths, but mass shootings don’t really get remembered save for Sandy Hook for obvious reasons.
It doesn’t solve the heightened racial tension we find ourselves in at this point in time in a post-Obama era (I mean, just today: Motorist told schoolchildren ‘f–k black lives, they don’t matter’). It certainly doesn’t put an end to mass shootings (and neither will him getting executed by lethal injection for that matter). Roof’s eventual execution (I mean, it’s the South) won’t even convince folks on the fence about racism that it’s one of the main reason he chose his targets. They’ll just pony it up to mental illness and then not discuss any further. And that’s wrong!
We obviously need to drill down as to why we find ourselves in a super polarized state that obviously played a pretty big factor in the last election.
The Charleston massacre was a clear case of nine people who were killed because of the color of their skin. It’s almost as if this many years after slavery, we need to define what racism is again.
One of the leadings scholars of theological ethics, Father Bryan Massingale of Fordham University, describes racism as a “profound warping of the human spirit.” He’s also referred to it as a “soul sickness.”
Maybe if looked at white supremacy as a mental illness and had deeper discussions about it, we can do more honor to the Charleston victims than the death penalty and forgetting about the case ever would.