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Monday, May 18, 2015

To Kill or Not to Kill, That is the Question

AN EDITED VERSION OF THIS POST IS SCHEDULED TO APPEAR IN THE BERGEN RECORD

He was undeniably guilty of one of the most devastating crimes ever committed on our soil and was almost certainly unrepentant, the testimony of one famous nun notwithstanding. He was thus a perfect test case for whether our society has the courage to stop the horrific practice of killing its own with the sanction and approval of our legal system.


It is the jury selection process that is in large part to blame for the perpetuation of this practice. Before the trial begins, those who believe the death sentence to be inherently wrong are excluded from deciding the fate of the accused. What remains is not a representation of community sentiment, for in this instance a vast majority of Bostonians would not deem voting to kill another human an action our society should condone. What all these death penalty cases share in common is that those deciding the fate of the accused believe it is morally sustainable to vote to end another person's life.


It should be the burden of the prosecutor, State or Federal, to convince a jury composed of those both pro and con sanctioned killing that particular circumstances demanded the most brutal of all retorts. I do believe that if this standard were imposed then the barbarism would stop and our country, like virtually the rest of civilized society, would be weaned off its thirst for an eye for an eye justice. And even the Boston Marathon bomber, arguably the worst of the worst, would stand as testament to our commitment not to lower ourselves to his level.

1 comment:

Bruce Egert said...

The federal death penalty was tailor made for this defendant and his punishment is fitting. The victims and their families may have to endure additional tremors of memory, but the public's need to eliminate this type of scum from civilization trumps. Although living in a 5' x 7' cell for 40 or more years with no human contact may be a worse punishment than a firing squad, the convicted do not see things in such a way--where there is life, there is hope.