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When family members of the victims testified, they listened to him, without looking over, as he lifted himself weakly from his chair and dismissed them from the stand with his deep, always bored, blunt voice, which sounded like his mouth was full of Karo syrup.He didn't object often, but when he did it was because he was bothered by the length and the amount of testimony that the families offered.At the trial last December, two survivors and the many relatives of the victims sat in a courtroom and looked at the back of Dylann Roof's head, the thinness of his neck.The ever growing bald patch at the center of his bowl cut almost made him look like a young, demented monk with a tonsure.She trembled and shook until her knees buckled and she slid slowly onto the bench, mouth agape, barely moving. I'm so sorry.” She seemed to be speaking to her boyfriend, but maybe it was meant for Felicia Sanders, who was soon to take the stand. But from gavel to gavel, as I listened to the testimony of the survivors and family members, often the only thing I could focus on, and what would keep me up most nights while I was there, was the magnitude of Dylann Roof's silence, his refusal to even look up, to ever explain why he did what he had done.
After Roof was found guilty, they went up to the podium, one by one, when it was time for the victim-impact testimony, and standing near the jury box, they screamed, wept, prayed, cursed. Roof was safeguarded by his knowledge that white American terrorism is never waterboarded for answers, it is never twisted out for meaning, we never identify its “handlers,” and we could not force him to do a thing. He remained in control, just the way he wanted to be.
Could they keep their stories about the dead quick?
Whenever he stood to be walked back to his holding cell, his mouth moved with what I first thought was a sigh or a deep exhale—really, it was an ever present twitch, a gumming of his cheeks that sometimes ended with his tongue lolling out and licking his thin lips.
A recent New Scientist article "The most ancient piece of you" (4 November 2017) discussed the common ancestors of living beings today.
But are plants included in this universal common ancestor?