“I watched my son come into this world and watched my son leave this world.” – Felicia Sanders describing the death of her 26-year-old son, Tywanza Sanders one of nine people killed on June 17, 2015 at the Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston
June 17, 2015 was a very sad day for my home state, and a very sad day for me. Nine lives were senselessly murdered by a young man who had some delusional belief that his actions would start a race war. This man’s trial has begun I am anxious about what to expect.
I don’t want this man to become a martyr for hate groups across our nation like the man responsible for the Oklahoma City bombing that killed 168 people has. But I am not sure how we prevent that from happening. Would sentencing him to spend the rest of his life in prison cool the flames or does sentencing him to death provide more fuel to the hate fire?
But then I think about Felicia Sanders, a survivor of this horrible tragedy. A woman who lived through the carnage only to lose her son and friends. What sentence, what action would give her some semblance of closure if that is even possible?
For me, I could think of no worse fate than to spend the rest of my life in a ten by ten cell alone with my thoughts. Given that this man is only 22 years old it is conceivable that he could spend fifty plus years in prison until he dies of natural causes. There is a monetary cost to that though, estimated to be about $90,000 a year in today’s dollars. If he lived for fifty years we would spend in excess of $5,000,000 to house this prisoner for the rest of his life. Is he worth that?
I don’t get the sense that this man has any remorse for his actions. But honestly I didn’t expect any. He has already started playing games to try to create a spectacle of this trail, a circus and sadly I anticipate there will be more to come. He fancies himself a hero and unfortunately there is an ugly world out there, individuals and groups that agree.
I can’t and won’t ever understand what kind of monster lurks inside of this man, this child. Where did this hate come from? How did it grow? How does he close his eyes at night and not see the horror of his actions? I will wait, watch, pray and hope that there will be some sort of divine guidance for all the participants involved. The answers, if there are any, are simply beyond my capacity of reasoning.
“The hateful killing of nine people praying inside a church is a horrific reminder that, while we have made significant progress in advancing civil rights in this country, we are far from eradicating racism” – Sen. Bernie Sanders