Death penalty not solution
Here is what the death sentence for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev will achieve:
It will remind the world that America is not entirely the home of exceptionalism as many politicians suggest. Retaining the death penalty while virtually the entire civilized world has rejected it is, indeed, exceptional — but in the wrong sense of the word.
It will prolong, through the valid Constitutional appeal process that could take a decade, the agony suffered by Bostonians and all those affected by the 2013 bombing that killed three and injured more than 250 people.
It will serve as a powerful recruiting tool for global terrorist organizations as they seek more like Tsarnaev and his brother to wreak havoc on American soil.
It will be a deeply emotional affront to the citizens of Massachusetts, who are overwhelmingly opposed to the death penalty and have not presided over a state-sponsored execution since 1947. Even though Tsarnaev’s death would occur out of state and under federal jurisdiction, the action of the Boston jury is not what most Bay State residents wanted or support.
It will trigger more superfluous national debate about methods of execution. Death penalty opponents understandably challenge the process in every way possible — from the nature of chemicals used to the cost of the operation — while knowing that such considerations are completely beside the larger point: that courts should not kill people.
It will underscore the double standards of American justice. Setting off a bomb in a crowded public place is a heinous crime. However, the fact that the Justice Department deemed it an “act of terrorism” should have no bearing on what the appropriate punishment should be.
It will confirm, yet again, that America’s lawmakers stubbornly fail to acknowledge the science showing that the human brain is not fully developed until a person reaches his mid-twenties. This is by no means an excuse; rather, it is a basis for determining punishment. Tsarnaev was 19 at the time of the bombing.
It will fuel even more sensationalism by those media outlets bent on exploiting the story for commercial gain.
It will force some of us to advocate for a person we would rather despise and then forget.
Here is what the death sentence for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev will not achieve:
It will not make America stronger.
It will not make America safer.
It will not make The American Way a point of pride.
And, sadly, it will not bring back the lives or limbs taken by Tsarnaev’s horrendous act.
Peter Funt is a writer and speaker. His book, “Cautiously Optimistic,” is available at Amazon.com and CandidCamera.com. © 2015 Peter Funt. Columns distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons, Inc., newspaper syndicate.