Thursday, June 18, 2015

Dylann Roof

Predictably, Pres. Obama chose to politicize the Chas church shooting:

I’ve had to make statements like this too many times.
No one is forcing him to comment. I, for one, didn't ask for his opinion.  
Now is the time for mourning and for healing.
That's a throwaway line since the whole point is to use this incident as a pretext to  repeal the Second Amendment. 
But let’s be clear:  At some point, we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries.  It doesn’t happen in other places with this kind of frequency.  And it is in our power to do something about it.  I say that recognizing the politics in this town foreclose a lot of those avenues right now.  But it would be wrong for us not to acknowledge it.  And at some point it’s going to be important for the American people to come to grips with it, and for us to be able to shift how we think about the issue of gun violence collectively.
Several issues:
i) What about the Rwandan genocide? What about this recent incident?

ii) What we know about Dylann Roof thus far is very sketchy. According to preliminary reports, the attack was racially motivated. Let's assume that's the case. 
If he just wanted to murder blacks, why shoot up a black church? Why not venture into the black part of town? Why not go into tavern that's frequented by blacks? 
I don't know for a fact what the answer is, but here's a guess: he's a coward.
He shot up a church because it's safer. It's less likely that churchgoers will return fire. Less likely that churchgoers will be armed.
Indeed, that's why he was able to walk away from the scene of the crime. He was apprehended in another state.
By contrast, supposed he tried to shoot up a tavern full of black customers. I think the story would have a very different ending, don't you? 
It's unlikely that he'd walk way from that. The bartender probably has a shotgun or revolver behind the counter. A number of customers are probably packing heat. 
He might get off a few rounds, but that would be it. He'd wind up dead…or worse than dead. Besides, firearms, think what else outraged customers might use on him: forks, steak knives, broken bottles.
By the time the police arrived, there wouldn't be much left of the shooter. 
iii) In a sense, it's a pity that we can only hang him once. However, he has a grim future ahead of him. He doomed himself by his own hand. He's facing many years of incarceration. Even if he's sentenced to die, the appellate process is glacial.
He's going to be locked up with a number of black inmates. It doesn't take much imagination to predict the reception that awaits him. Poetic justice.

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