We’ve all heard the news: Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been sentenced to death. Honestly, I was surprised to hear this. I read less than 20% of Bostonians supported the death penalty for the young terrorist. Further, Massachusetts does not have the death penalty and the last time someone was executed in the Commonwealth was in 1940s.
But the Commonwealth of Massachusetts isn’t putting Dzhokhar to death. Rather, the United States is. Because Dzhokhar was tried in Federal Court, and the Federal Government has not outlawed the death penalty, the death penalty will be applied to this 21 year old young man.
But will putting a boy like Dzhokhar to death really bring closure for victims and their families? Will it deter anyone from using terror tactics to further their message?
I’m going with no.
The death penalty is on the decline in the US. Partly due to cost (also here) and partly because some have come to the conclusion that killing killers doesn’t stop killers from killing. And, also, because family members of victims speak out about how ending the life of a criminal doesn’t offer any consolation. Religious leaders have also joined the chorus of voices who oppose state-sponsored murder.
To my knowledge no Pagan leader has spoken out against the death penalty.
I have no doubt opinions on the death penalty are as diverse as Pagani themselves. Yet, I’m compelled to ask: Why weren’t Pagans part of the chorus calling for life in prison for Dzhokhar and against the death penalty in general? Is it because no one asked us? If that’s the reason, or a component to a myriad of reasons, let me rectify that right now by asking you: what do you think the appropriate punishment for Dzhokhar and others like him is?