North Texas Daily

For whom the bell tolls

For whom the bell tolls

April 22
21:10 2013

There is no shortage of reasons why Dzhokhar Tsarnaev deserves to die.

Above all, he deserves death simply for the alleged murder of Martin Richard, the 8-year-old boy killed by one of the bomb blasts near the marathon’s finish line.

Richard’s short obituary in the Washington Post mentions that he enjoyed playing with friends and siblings. There’s just not much else to say when your life is taken from you before your age hits double digits.

Situations as horrific as these are a heartbreaking illustration of why we have a justice system in the first place. On a personal level, each and every one of us would spare no tears for his demise. Some of us, given the opportunity, might want to personally guarantee it.

“Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, was charged with using a weapon of mass destruction and malicious destruction of property, counts that could bring him the death penalty. He made his first court appearance in an unusual, non-public proceeding in which a federal judge and several lawyers went to his hospital bed.”

– The Washington Post

But should we grant Tsarnaev the death he deserves so fully? We aren’t so sure. In fact, we sincerely believe he should not receive the death penalty.

By first treating him with decency and then locking him up for the rest of his hopefully long life, we believe a more effective punishment can be carried out.

We hope Tsarnaev is treated with the best of human dignity this nation has to offer. We hope his terrible actions are considered fairly, and a just—but severe—punishment is chosen. We also hope that he is not abused or poorly treated in any way during this process.

Because if we cannot show the most sickening filth of humanity the same rights the rest of us enjoy, we relinquish our superiority. If we succumb to our basic instincts and cry for Tsarnaev’s blood, we will show an unacceptable submission to fear.

By keeping this animal alive in captivity, we force him to dwell on the simultaneous horror and failure of his terrorist aspirations. Killing him, in this case, would provide an easy way out.

By granting him the dignity of justice while denying him the escape of death, we demonstrate to Tsarnaev and the world that we are better, more humane and unperturbed by his great evil.

By treating him fairly, we provide him with no one to blame for the hardship of his future punishment but himself.

Forget his face, forget his name and remember nothing but his failure. Lock him away from the good of humanity forever—and hang a photo of Martin Richard’s smiling face on the wall of his cell. Remind him every day of the lives he took. That’s a punishment far worse than death, and it’s exactly what he deserves.

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