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A Most American Terrorist: The Making of Dylann Roof

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“What are you?” a member of the Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston asked at the trial of the white man who killed eight of her fellow black parishioners and their pastor. “What kind of subhuman miscreant could commit such evil?... What happened to you, Dylann?”
Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah spent months in South Carolina searching for an answer to those questions—speaking with Roof’s mother, father, friends, former teachers, and victims’ family members, all in an effort to unlock what went into creating one of the coldest killers of our time.
Sitting beside the church, drinking from a bottle of Smirnoff Ice, he thought he had to go in and shoot them.
They were a small prayer group—a rising-star preacher, an elderly minister, eight women, one young man, and a little girl. But to him, they were a problem. He believed that, as black Americans, they were raping “our women and are taking over our country.” So he took out his Glock handgun and calmly, while their eyes were closed in prayer, ope…

Ruth Bader Ginsburg predicts possible end to capital punishment

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
The death penalty could be dying, according to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

The outspoken liberal icon tackled capital punishment and a host of other hot topics during a sold-out summer George Washington University forum held last week by the Washington Council of Lawyers.

Toward the end of an hour-long talk, Ginsburg fielded a question about the future of capital punishment.

"The only comment I would make is that the incidence of capital punishment has gone down, down, down so that now, I think, there are only three states that actually administer the death penalty," she said.

"And not even whole states, but particular areas of states. It may depend on who's the district attorney."

Though she didn't actually mention Harris County by name, it easily may have been one of the areas that first sprung to mind for the 84-year-old justice.

Houston and its surroundings have long been seen as the capital of capital punishment, a standout even in a state with a longstanding enthusiasm for execution. For 21 years, one zealous and legendary district attorney - John Holmes Jr. - pursued the death penalty with a vigor unmatched almost anywhere else.

But the end of Holmes' tenure came in 2000, the same year capital punishment peaked in Texas. 

Although the Lone Star State kept Huntsville's death chamber busy with 40 executions that year, last year saw a 20-year low.

In Texas and across the nation, state-sanctioned deaths have declined in light of legal uncertainties, moratoriums, and lethal injection drug shortages. For Ginsburg, the writing's on the wall.

"We may see an end to capital punishment by attrition as there are fewer and fewer executions," Ginsburg declared.

Source: Houston Chronicle, Keri Blakinger, August 2, 2017

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