I can't imagine being this forgiving:
"May God have mercy on your soul," said the mother of the youngest victim, 26-year-old Tywanza Sanders, while Roof looked on, expressionless.
But in our system of justice, it is up to our society and government to punish the killer. The families of the victims should not be burdened with insisting on justice.
Healing may be helped by forgiveness. Healing to go on for the living is all the families of the victims can get now for themselves.
But justice is not served by forgiveness. The killer, when convicted, should die for this crime motivated by racial hatred. The killer murdered good people with good families, and should pay the ultimate penalty.
UPDATE: Interesting question:
For many black Americans and others, however, the attack was by definition an act of “terrorism,” a word that connotes acts against the American way of life itself – an attack against the country.
Was the killing a case of terrorism? Or "just" mass murder?
The attack was for a political purpose--to spark a civil war. That's what Iran and Syria were doing in Iraq when we were fighting there--hoping to spark a civil war between Shias and Sunnis. So that's in favor of calling it terrorism.
But where is the group that wants to exploit this and fight the civil war the killer hoped to spark? In Iraq you had al Qaeda, Baathists, and pro-Iran Sadrists eager to take their part.
It's nowhere, it seems, in America. And nobody seems even remotely sympathetic to the murderer. And if some are, they're keeping quiet in recognition that sympathy will generate revulsion. So that argues for the killings being a really horrible crime.
UPDATE: Oh, and while it is an interesting question, I don't think it is terrorism based on what we (think we) know now. I think the organization aspect might explain why more liberal groups are asking the question and assuming the answer is "yes." They assume there is a vast movement of conservative whites (probably the evil Tea Party!!!) eager for the race war. Which is nonsense.
Besides, if that man was really a terrorist, the left would be busy asking "why does he hate" and concluding it is the victims' fault for his understandable rage.
So the murderer is a very evil criminal. Make him pay.
UPDATE: While there are surely racists in America (as there are everywhere), the accused killer apparently despaired of anybody like-minded organizing to carry out his sick vision of racial civil war:
We have no skinheads, no real KKK, no one doing anything but talking on the internet. Well someone has to have the bravery to take it to the real world, and I guess that has to be me.
That's the good news, at least.
I will say that I'm more open to considering this an act of terrorism given his (apparently) stated political goal. If Oklahoma City was domestic terrorism when it lacked an organization to support their political goals, this could be, too.
I guess what holds me back is the transparent effort by the Left to paint this as terrorism of the Right when it is no such thing.