More than nine months after the horrifying twin bombings at the Boston Marathon, 20-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the surviving suspect, could face the death penalty if he is convicted, Attorney General Eric Holder announced today. The decision has been anticipated ever since the country was left reeling by the first deadly terrorist assault in the U.S. since the September 11 attacks.
With three victims left dead and more than 260 left wounded near the finish line of the race, it's not exactly surprising that Holder should feel it appropriate that Tsarnaev face possible capital punishment.
After consideration of the relevant facts, the applicable regulations and the submissions made by the defendant's counsel, I have determined that the United States will seek the death penalty in this matter. The nature of the conduct at issue and the resultant harm compel this decision.
Yes, it's understandable. But at the same time, I can't help but feel that perhaps an even greater punishment for this young man would be to live with guilt and shame stemming from his horrifying alleged actions. That maybe it's not best to fight back against what the government calls "an especially heinous, cruel, and depraved" offense with more death? Yes, I realize that we're talking about ending the life of someone who the government states "betrayed his allegiance to the United States by killing and maiming people in the United States," who allegedly "demonstrated a lack of remorse" related to the bombings and his alleged involvement in the murder of police officer Sean Collier while Tsarnaev and his brother were being sought. But still ... in a way, isn't giving someone like that the death penalty almost like giving them the easy way out?
Just look at someone like Ariel Castro, who took his own life. Death is what he wanted. Do we really want to give people found guilty of heinous crimes what they want?
Only time will tell what happens to Tsarnaev. But odds are, as he's being tried in Massachusetts, a state long opposed to the death penalty, he will spend the rest of his life in prison ... which is exactly the sentence 57 percent of Boston residents and yours truly would be most in favor of.
How do you feel about Tsarnaev possibly facing the death penalty?
Image via Boston Police Department