Not a huge surprise. I suspect that Roof will join the pantheon of murderers (along with Ted Bundy, Timothy McVeigh, etc.) who are trotted out in a particular kind of argument favoring the retention of the death penalty. According to this argument, we should retain execution as a tool for punishing the very worst of the worst, who Matthew Kramer calls “defilingly evil offenders.” Advocates of this view can remain quite skeptical about the imposition of capital punishment in the vast majority of cases. They can also insist that it is permissible to execute defilingly evil offenders only when there is overwhelming evidence of their guilt. As such, this vindication of capital punishment poses a strong challenge to the abolitionist. A challenge that I eagerly take up in my book 🙂
Update: it’s already happening.