Use the Death Penalty on the Boston Marathon Bomber?
|February 2, 2014||Posted by Staff under Editorials|
This 2014 excerpt of the Los Angeles Times, Feb 2, is by their Editors.
This page has long opposed the death penalty, yet we also found ourselves caught up in the emotions surrounding Timothy McVeigh’s 1995 bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City, and supported his death sentence — a stance we have since regretted.
That tumbling to the emotion of the moment, though, points up one of the primary roles of the judicial system: to act as a buffer between victims’ justifiable thirst for vengeance and the greater good of society. In our view, it is not the rightful responsibility of the state to act as executioner of its own citizens, no matter how heinous the crime, no matter how infamous the criminal, and no matter how loudly people may call for it.
Cases like this test our strength as a mature democracy, and as a people who believe in justice. Life without parole is the correct response in these extreme cases. It punishes the criminal while protecting society from future acts of violence.
Ed. Notes: While killers do deserve to die according to “an eye for an eye”, should innocents descend to the killer’s level? Do you really want to hire people to kill others? Do you want your hired killers to mix with the rest of society? And if you make a mistake and sentence an innocent to death, then do you hire someone else to kill your original hired killer? Must the judge and jury who erred be killed, too?
Imprisoning a killer for life need not mean that society care for the killer. Killers could be put on an otherwise deserted island where they’d have to fend for themselves. Maybe another killer would kill them. Maybe they’d commit suicide, an act some killers do attempt, an act that society should not deny a killer. Or maybe they’d rehabilitate. But whatever the outcome, it would not affect the rest of society beyond the task of patrolling the island to prevent anyone from escaping.
Bigger picture, still, society should not ignore what its killers often are saying. Usually, people reach the point where they are willing to kill when they’re unbearably frustrated and have absolutely no one listening to them. In this Boston case, if we Americans were to listen to the killer, we’d stop killing innocents in Muslim countries — something we should not have started doing in the first place.