04 May 2006

On the Moussaoui Sentence

There's apparently a lot of controversy over the federal jury's inability to unanimously recommend the death penalty for Zacarias Moussaoui. New York's Sen. Chuck Schumer said, "The only good that will come of this verdict is that Moussaoui won't become a martyr and that he will have to spend the rest of his life behind bars."

The New York Daily News Editorial Board seems especially disgruntled at the decision. They write:
Zacarias Moussaoui will live. This is not justice. This is an abomination. This is a reprieve from hell for a soul who deserves an eternity in flames no less intense than the infernos that brought down the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.

That Moussaoui will suffer the tortures of damnation after a life in prison is of no comfort. No matter how entombed in concrete and steel he is, Moussaoui will breathe the air that Al Qaeda denied to almost 3,000 murder victims. Until, to his everlasting surprise, he is greeted not by willing virgins but by a vengeful maker.

Venomous, no?

As you'll recall, this space once was devoted to suggesting that life in prison is the appropriate punishment for Moussaoui. My reasons for writing that were threefold, and they continue to be valid now, after the sentence is all but handed down.

1.) Moussaoui wanted to be a martyr. Despite his gleeful "America, you lost - I won!", I can almost guarantee hee is crushed by the decision. And if he isn't now, he will be at some point in the future... he'll have a lot of time to think at the Alcatraz of the Rockies, the Federal PMITA prison where he's headed.

2.) The death penalty is more expensive than life in prison. It's strange, and I don't have time to post the reasons here, but you can read more about it here.

3.) The longer we make this guy suffer by having to live with himself, the more he will punish himself.

What do you think?

1 comment:

LQ said...

I agree with you completely, and I did even before I read your well-articulated reasons. :)

I was struck by that NYDNEB statement you cited. "Zacarias Moussaoui will live. This is not justice."--okay, but killing him would be justice? Does that bring the thousands of people killed on 9/11 back? No--it simply makes Moussauoi a martyr to the cause, just like you said. (OT--is "martyr to the cause" redundant? Hmm...)