Back in June 2015, Lion of the Blogosphere labelled the Dylann Roof massacre an example of low IQ white-trash beta-male rage and also stated that the primary difference between Roof and fellow spree killer Elliot Rodger is that “Rodger was pretty smart and wrote an excellent autobiography”.  Earlier Lion had pegged Rodger’s IQ at an above average 115-120, so he likely thought Roof was substantially below this.

Thus, when  a recent article claimed Dylann Roof has a 141 IQ.  Lion was predictably skeptical, writing:

I find it highly unlikely. The article, irresponsibly, gives no source for Roof’s alleged high IQ, just some hearsay. What test did he take? When did he take it? No info is given. So it’s probably not true.

Although I too am extremely skeptical of high IQ claims, the fact that Roof’s competency to represent himself in trial was questioned makes it likely that he was in fact evaluated by a psychologist and probably took the latest Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS-IV), just as Ted Kaczynski had taken an earlier version of the Wechsler (WAIS-R) around the time he was on trial.

I started searching the web for evidence that Roof was evaluated for competency, and found  more specifics:

His overall intellectual function was a score of 125, which placed him in the 96th percentile. His verbal compression score was 141, which placed him in the top 99.7th percentile. However, his processing speed was 100, which placed him in the 50th percentile

So 141 was just his score on the verbal comprehension subtests of the WAIS-IV, but because other brain functions like processing speed were much lower (no mention of his scores on working memory and perceptual organization) his overall IQ was 125 (U.S. norms);123 (white norms) [UPDATE May 6, 2017: These scores might be 3 points too high because the WAIS-IV norms were about a decade too old when Roof was tested & thus may give slightly inflated results]

So Lion was right about the 141 IQ being bogus (it was just a sub-score) however Roof’s overall IQ is still higher then Lion’s estimate for Rodgers, who Lion considered smarter.

But why was Roof’s score reported to be 141 in the first place?

Sometimes when one has too big a discrepancy on the subsections of IQ tests, the overall score is considered unreliable so perhaps the psychologist took Roof’s verbal comprehension score of 141 as reflective of his true intelligence, and dismissed the overall score as compromised by his cognitive weaknesses.  However the great David Wechsler would have had none of this.  He felt that all of the subtests on his scales were needed for the fuller appraisal of intelligence, and would not tolerate such cherry-picking.

Elaborating further on Roof’s intelligence, Lion writes:

…his crime shows a sort of stupidity that belies the idea that he’s especially smart. He supposedly wanted to make some sort of dramatic response to black crime, but then why kill a bunch of old church people? He could have at least gone into the ghetto and killed some gangbangers. He has to be pretty stupid not to realize what a dumb idea it was.

While Roof’s overall IQ is much lower than 141, it’s still higher than 96% of America’s.  So why didn’t he realize how dumb his crime was?  The psychologist’s evaluation showed that not only does Roof have a high IQ, but was also possibly autistic.  Autistics tend to lack social cognition, even when their overall IQs are high, so Roof may simply have been too politically obtuse to realize that killing people as sympathetic as churchgoers would not advance his cause.