Brief Thoughts On the Tsarnaev Verdict

As you all know, Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokar Tsarnaev was sentenced to death yesterday by the jury that tried him in Boston Federal Court. For many, that was deemed just punishment, fitting retribution for the carnage he and brother Tamerlan brought upon a city and upon families mourning those whose lives the Tsarnaev brothers took from them. Setting aside the fact that, as Rachel Maddow has tirelessly reported, the drug cocktail needed to conduct an execution in this country is becoming ever more difficult to obtain…:

…I personally do not support the death penalty in any circumstance. Regardless of the heinousness of the crime — and this crime was certainly heinous, and Tsarnaev’s guilt has been affirmed by the court and was not even contested by his own defense — the state does not have the right to murder. It might feel good to some and give the veneer of justice, but it’s only that — a veneer. It amounts to revenge, and revenge is not the business of the state; justice is. Especially, however, I oppose the death penalty in this case. Imposing it grants Tsarnaev what he purportedly wants: martyrdom. Beyond that, even, it keeps him in the news for years to come as the appeal process drags on; life in prison would have been a far harsher penalty. Tsarnaev is young; life in prison without the possibility of parole would amount to a very long time for him to regret his actions and lament them and the throwing away of a life that was just beginning, and the taking of other lives in their flower. Moreover, life without the possibility of parole would bring to a close his permeation of the public psyche of my former home; he would be resigned to the so-called dustbin of history, confined and forgotten. With this, he will remain a news item for perhaps even a decade.

I know I will take flak for this, and that’s okay. I’m not trying to be popular, and you all are entitled to your own opinions; this is a divisive issue — the death penalty in toto —and one about which individuals can get passionate. I welcome your comments and criticism, but my opposition to the death penalty is, for me, rooted in both reason and faith. I cannot in good conscience support retributive justice.

~ by Benji on May 16, 2015.

One Response to “Brief Thoughts On the Tsarnaev Verdict”

  1. I absolutely disagree with the death penalty too, under any and all circumstances. End of story. Two wrongs never make a right and I don’t believe in the state taking revenge. Still talking with my husband about this. Although he generally supports it, he has severe doubts about the death penalty for Tsarnaev, who is so young. But then his crime caused terrible grief and suffering. I always say “lock him up and throw away the key” – and maybe meantime there will be rehabilitation going on and his life may actually end up saving or improving others’ lives. Good point though – with around 10 years of appeals ahead of him, he will continue to enjoy celebrity status, instead of being locked up and left to ponder his horrible crimes, and maybe try to make restitution, one day…

    Liked by 1 person

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