Sticking to his principles in the face of an emotional decision, Senator Bernie Sanders said that he continues to oppose the death penalty even as the federal government announced they would be seeking the penalty against Charleston shooter Dylann Roof.

Roof, who opened fire on a church in Charleston, South Carolina in 2015, murdered 9 and injured several others in a racially motivated hate crime. Investigators found clear evidence that Roof was violently racist and took a bizarre tour of racial landmarks before he committed the mass murder.

Roof will face two death penalty trials, one at the state level and the other in federal courts.

Following the announcement about Roof’s trial by the Justice Department, the Bernie Sanders campaign reiterated the Senator’s position by sending out a campaign email with the following statement:

“Sen. Sanders opposes the death penalty. He believes those who are convicted of the most horrible crimes should be imprisoned for the rest of their lives without the possibility of parole.”

Though making moral decisions about horrendous cases like the one involving Roof is not easy, it is important that we all test our convictions in such a way. For Senator Sanders to stand up and say that he opposes death for Dylann Roof shows a strength in belief that is necessary in a leader.

Sydney Robinson is a political writer for the Ring of Fire Network. She has also appeared in political news videos for Ring of Fire. Sydney has a degree in English Literature from the University of West Florida, and has an active interest in politics, social justice, and environmental issues. She would love to hear from you on Twitter @SydneyMkay or via email at