In the Aftermath of Violence: What Constitutes a Responsive Response?

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As I began to finalize this introduction, reports were emerging of how a 21-year-old white man, called Dylann Storm Roof, had massacred nine African Americans in a church in Charleston, South Carolina. Members of the congregation had attempted to dissuade him, but Roof had insisted that he had no choice, that he had ‘to do it. You rape our women and you’re taking over our country. And you have to go’. In the immediate aftermath of what was widely reported as a ‘brutal’ and ‘senselsss’ ‘hate crime’, the governor of South Carolina, Nikki R. Haley, called for the death penalty, explaining that this was the ‘worst hate … the country has seen—in a long time’. Such reactions will no doubt recurr when Storm faces trial, but they must now also compete with the responses of the families of the deceased who, within days of the carnage, offered to forgive the accused despite the acute pain and distress they were evidently suffering (Stewart and Pérez-Peñajune 2015).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1031-1039
Number of pages9
JournalThe British Journal of Criminology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2015


  • Aftermath of Violence
  • Forgiveness
  • Responsibility
  • Responsiveness


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