So in the wake of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s, or the Boston bomber as most people probably know him, sentence being handed down I thought I throw together a few of my thoughts about the subject. If you’re somehow not aware, Tsarnaev and his brother, Tamerlan (who was killed by police before he could be arrested), were the perpetrators of the Boston bombing back in 2013. They killed 3 and injured 260 people. This week Dzhokhar was handed a death sentence by a Massachusetts jury.
Before I get into anything else I’d just like to say this: If the death sentence surprises you, you’re astoundingly naive. Honestly, this dude had a better chance of getting an innocent verdict than getting a guilty verdict that didn’t result in a death sentence. After all the only thing ‘Muricans love more than killing shit is killing terrorists.
That being said, let’s get into the actual post.
Tsarnaev got a death sentence, and while I understand the reasoning behind the death sentence I don’t agree with it. As a punishment, death can not, in my opinion, be viewed as justice. It is merely vengeance, and while I’m fine with vengeance, it is not what I look to a justice system for.
Maybe my views on the existence or non existence of an afterlife play a part here but as far as I’m concerned, the death penalty gives a person like Tsarnaev a relatively easy way out. Sure he’ll be dead, but that’s it. That’s literally the end of his punishment as far as anyone knows. Once his punishment is carried out he’s gone and that’s the end, he doesn’t face any kind of judgement from a supreme being. And I think the fact that people believe in a supreme being is the reason so many support the death penalty, they believe that when the state kills someone they then have to face a god who is going to punish them again.
In addition to the “god’ll get after we fry ’em” style justification for the death penalty it also seems people believe that death is some form of deterrent. And I honestly don’t think it is. Personally if I were to be convicted of a crime and told I can either spend life in prison or be put to death, I’m going with death everytime. The prospect of spending 50+ years in a prison is far more deterring to me than the idea of being killed in, a relatively, humane manner.
Now, all that said, my opinion on vengeance stands. I’m pretty much fine, on a personal level, with vengeance. I’m ok with the idea of someone beating the ever loving shit out of someone who has harmed them or a person they care for. Hell, there exist people in this world who have harmed those I love in ways that make me want them dead, and frankly I would not feel bad for killing those people if I were to do so. I don’t condemn someone for beating up, or even killing, a loved ones rapist. As far as I’m concerned they have it coming.
And while I feel this way about Tsarnaev, this vengeance stance is based entirely on emotion. The justice system of a civilised society must strive to be above emotion as much as possible.
I’m fully aware my opinion on this will likely piss people off. And I totally accept that my stance on vengeance probably makes me a bad person in the eyes of a lot of people but frankly…I don’t care. If you know anything about me, or you’ve read just about any poem I’ve posted to this blog, you are already aware that I don’t consider myself to be a particularly good person.