Being against the death penalty isn’t always easy, as it means that you can find yourself defending the lives of some truly horrible people who committed some truly horrible crimes. From this perspective, it’s hard to find a more difficult person in the United States to defend right now than Dylann Roof, the racist mass murderer who gunned down nine black parishioners at a church in Charleston, South Carolina.
That said, I think if you’re against the death penalty, you shouldn’t make exceptions for really, really despicable people whose crimes go far beyond what the typical death row inmate gets executed for. With this in mind, I was happy to see Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders reiterate that his opposition to the death penalty extends even to cases like Dylann Roof’s.
“Sen. Sanders opposes the death penalty,” Sanders spokesman Michael Briggs told The Huffington Post. “He believes those who are convicted of the most horrible crimes should be imprisoned for the rest of their lives without the possibility of parole.”
Regardless, the government announced this week that it would seek the death penalty for Roof and if he’s convicted it’s hard to imagine that he gets anything less.
If you’re someone who is opposed to capital punishment, are you making an exception for Dylann Roof? Or do you believe opposing the death penalty means opposing it for everyone?