USC students react to Charleston’s shooter sentence

‘I hope he fucking dies.’

Dylann Roof, notorious for his racist and hatred filled massacre, and his subsequent manifesto, was found guilty today for twelve counts of hate crime, nine counts of obstruction of religious freedom, and nine counts of using a firearm for murder.

On January 3rd the same jury will meet to decide between the death sentence or life in prison without parole for Roof.

His massacre was during the same summer of 2015 that the confederate flag was removed from the State House in Columbia, South Carolina. Roof’s horrific crime occurred in June of the same year. A chilling video of his confession was run by CNN this past week.

Here’s how USC students have reacted to the news:

Reed Arao, a recent graduate from the prestigious Darla Moore School of Business, elaborates: “Justice is served- guilty is undoubtedly the correct verdict. He committed the crime, there is no question about that. And when it comes to the question of whether or not he was operating under a mentally insane capacity at the time of the crime, I do not see any point in the argument.

“The evidence gathered pointing to his white supremacist and blatantly racist ideals leaves no question in my mind that he was a very capable human being who unfortunately was influenced by hate and bigotry, both of which are not constitutionally protected reasons for murdering nine people. It is troubling to see such a fearful young man.

“All I can hope for is that he eventually sees the hate that he has spread through his actions.”


Jaana Rasmussen, a D1 athlete, art major and junior, said: “It’s unfortunate that as a society we will still have people like Mr. Roof until we learn to respect one another for who each person wishes to be. This case shows that humans still have a long way to go before seeing each other as equals.

I still can’t believe it happened, honestly. I was living in Washington state at the time and I was utterly heartbroken.”

Another student, Julia Servin, sophomore and International Business Major, told The Tab: “I think the manifesto is really shocking because he starts out the entire thing by stating he was not raised in a racist home or environment, but as you read through the article he was clearly not educated in a proper manner”.


On the death penalty versus life without parole?

“I think the jury should let him serve life. That way he can live everyday thinking about the lives he took away”, said Federika Sydow, a sophomore and Global Studies major.

“There is nothing that will bring back the people that were killed. Their families may never find peace. I don’t feel I could make a decision on exactly what his punishment should be. What the Charleston shooter did was evil and I believe that the punishment should fit the crime.

“In the end I hope, as a nation, we can stop seeing in color and just start seeing right and wrong,” Emmanuel Lewis, a senior and International Business major told The Tab.

Another junior simply said: “Can I say I hope he fucking dies?”

The man

A friend of the family that was in Charleston on the night of the shooting said: “I don’t agree with the death penalty, I do believe he needs to have life in prison.”

Caitlin Mahoney, a senior and former president of Delta Sigma Pi, articulately stated: “I’ve heard some people say that giving Dylann Roof the death sentence could turn him into a martyr for white supremacy, whereas assigning him the fate of life without parole manages to justly punish him without glorifying his cause; I have to agree.

“Regardless of what the jury decides, I hope his name fades into obscurity rather than living on in infamy.  If there can be any takeaway from this verdict, it should be that in America justice can and will prevail–even in times of darkness, violence, and uncertainty.”


Dylann Roof undoubtedly deserves his guilty verdict, but the bigger question of his sentence has just begun.


University of South Carolina