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While Roof is the current poster child for white supremacy, I was gratified to see a multi-racial gathering of Charleston residents – blacks, whites and Hispanics — coming together inside Emanuel AME Church on Sunday to mourn the deaths of those who were killed and comfort those who were directly impacted.

And even in the midst of unspeakable tragedy, African-Americans are a forgiving people. In court on Friday, during Roof’s arraignment, the families of Roof’s victims continued to embrace their faith.

“I will never be able to hold her again, but I forgive you,” a daughter of victim Ethel Lance said during the arraignment hearing “And have mercy on your soul. You hurt me. You hurt a lot of people but God forgives you, and I forgive you.”

Meanwhile, last week’s church shooting in Charleston has also renewed calls for officials to remove the Confederate battle flag in front of the state Capitol. Today, the flag also symbolizes racial violence. Roof was driving a car with the Confederate flag symbol on the license plate.

“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,” President Obama said last week. “It doesn’t happen in other places with this kind of frequency.  And it is in our power to do something about it.”

Here’s one possible deterrent:  South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley – who finally showed some backbone – said she will seek the death penalty against Roof.

What do you think?

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How Many Other Dylann Roofs Are Out There?  was originally published on

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