In this Friday, April 19, 2013 photo provided by the Massachusetts State Police, Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev lifts his shirt while standing in a boat at the time of his capture by law enforcement authorities in Watertown, Mass. Photos of the Boston Marathon bombing suspect's surrender have been posted on the Boston Magazine website. The additional images, made public Tuesday, were among those released to the magazine last month by a state police photographer. (AP Photo/Massachusetts State Police, Sean Murphy)

I’m with Bronze Star recipient and TTAG contributor Jon Wayne Taylor: the government should not be in the business of killing U.S. citizens. Capital punishment sets a bad precedent. Puts a death-dealing bureaucracy in place. Makes me, the son of a Holocaust survivor who’s grandparents were murdered by the Nazis, nervous. That said, I appreciate the benefits of executing terrorists and other uber-bad folks after a proper trial. Questionable deterrent effect aside, executions save money and take a bad guy bargaining chip off the table. Permanently. In the interest of compromise, here’s what I propose for shuffling Dzhokhar Tsarnaev off this mortal coil . . .

Have the jury that unanimously recommended the death sentence for Tsarnaev form a firing squad and shoot him to death. Let them implement their decision.

It’s one thing to say “give that guy a lethal cocktail” and quite another to aim your sights at another human being and pull the trigger. I’m not saying it shouldn’t be done. Or even that I wouldn’t do it personally. But if a jury’s going to take a life, I reckon it should be hands-on.

Talking about Tsarnaev’s death sentence, JWT and I agreed: there are people in this world who need killing. I won’t speak to Jon’s combat experiences, but I will speak for myself on this matter. If someone threatened my life or the life of the people I care about, and imminence was imminent, I’d shoot to stop the threat. If that resulted in their death, so be it. I don’t think I’d be happy about it, but a man’s gotta do what a man’s got to do.

Torture is another matter. I will not torture another human being. Sure, you could invent situations where I might violate that moral position. The TV series 24 was all about that kind of dilemma – at least in the beginning. But absent some bizarre and unlikely course of events, I refuse to inflict suffering on another human being. JWT is the same way. If someone needs killing, kill them and be done with it.

JWT claimed that most people didn’t share this view. In fact, they’d (gladly?) torture someone who’d committed a heinous crime. Because, John said, most people aren’t interested in justice. They want vengeance. I said bullshit. Vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord. That’s how most people roll. Especially folks down here in the Bible belt.

I didn’t get where I am today by believing that my opinions are facts. So I asked the lady in the cigar store if she – personally – would torture Tsarnaev. Wouldn’t you know it? She said yes. Anecdotal evidence, obviously. But jarring nonetheless. I mean, really jarring. Because it made me wonder about the prevalence and extent of human cruelty.

Her matter-of-fact answer reminded me of a comment underneath my recent post Guns for Beginners: Buy An Alarm System. A reader said “Alarm? Really? That’s why I own a gun. Any alarm would only serve to protect an intruder. I am not wasting the money.” In other words, he wouldn’t buy an alarm because he wants to shoot someone who invades his home – even though the aftermath would be expensive on all sorts of levels.

Call me naive, but I found that comment just as shocking as the cigar lady’s pro-torture stance. Again, I have no desire to take another life or inflict suffering on another human being – provided it can be avoided. While I acknowledge that there are people who don’t share my moral code, who believe that people who play stupid games should win stupid prizes, I hope some, most of you value human life more than that.

I know it’s not directly gun-related, but I’d really like to hear your opinion on this. Don’t be afraid that the antis will exploit your comments. As other readers have pointed out, there are plenty of anti-death penalty types who have no problem with abortion. In fact, if there’s one thing that separates the pro-gun side from the anti-gun position it’s this: we are not afraid of the truth. No matter how difficult and uncomfortable it may seem. Or be.

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163 Responses to Random Thoughts on Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s Death Sentence

  1. It’s truly saddening that firing squad is so seldom used (if not outlawed in certain states). So much more humane and efficient. Not to mention more cost effective.

    • Indeed.

      As far as a firing squad for this guy or James Eagan Holmes is concerned, I only offer these words: I’m your huckleberry.

      And it wouldn’t just be government executing criminals, if it’s a jury, they are comprised of consenting adults. Maybe not the best and brightest, but tax paying civilians nonetheless. They are part of the judicial process as well.

    • As much as I would like to agree completely, I do wonder about the potential for desensitization that would cause. Would it create (over long periods of time) a more sober, serious society that understands the weight of death? Or would it cause us to devalue human life? I don’t have answers to those questions of course, but they’re interesting to think about. I’m definitely not thrilled with the jury being completely hands off after the sentencing. At the very least they should be encouraged to witness the execution. Otherwise how do we know that these people actually understood what they were voting for?

    • “Capital punishment sets a bad precedent” – if so, it’s a precedent that’s always been with us, and was baked right into the U.S. Constitution.

    • he should one year of Hell! Grool n water. Solitary confinment in a deep dark hole. 24/7 of the lords Prayer, and once a month he get paraded around a courtyard where people can come and through rotten good at him.

      in the end he get a public execution with a guillotine.

      this should be the punishment for all mass murderers and pedophiles.

    • I’d prefer hangings. When done right, they kill instantly. When done wrong, they take a while to finish the job, but do the job none the less. And the rope is reusable.

    • It more humane for the executed, but inhumane to the executioners. That’s why its no longer widely used.

  2. I don’t believe in the death penalty because it gives too much power to the state, which can be abused. I don’t have to remind anyone here about the political abuse attempted on a daily basis to many of our constitutional rights.

  3. Thank you Robert.

    Very few pro-gun people will question the dangerous precedent of the state getting involved in the murder business. Because that’s what execution is: first degree murder- malice aforethought. That doesn’t mean there’s people that don’t deserve death. But a government with their finger on the button is absolutely terrifying precedent of government overreach. Saying the state has a right to execute people is a very very dangerous precedent. Combined with the national security state we have where the state is allowed to keep secrets, you have the potential for an unaccountable state that can execute it’s own citizens at will without due process.

    Due some people deserve to die? Yes. Should the state be involved in the murder business? No. War is different. Murder is another thing altogether. Tsarnaev is guilty as guilty can be, but the precedent means that execution is a part of the arsenal. And who here really believes the government competent? So readers think that an incompetent government should have the power to execute- the form of punishment which there is NO recourse from? Look at the innocence project, and how many innocent people there actually are. At the very least, TTAG readers who are skeptical of government should extend their bias against government competence to ALL acts of government, not just ones that are convenient or save money. If you think the governnment regularly makes mistakes and overreaches, how in the world can you support execution?

    And yes, sadly, RF, people get very flip about torture. It’s truly sad that they don’t realize that their stance violates that of the founding fathers they profess to love so much. The prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment was part of the bill of rights for a reason. It makes a monster of whoever engages in it. We lose far more face across the world by toppling dictators and taking over their torture chambers doing the exact same thing than we do from any intel we could gain from it.

    • I support the principle of capital punishment. There is evil in this world and I believe it must be destroyed. The problem is that humans are fallible and therefore do make errors in its application. I firmly believe that it better to have guilty men/women walking the streets than to have any innocent man/woman in prison. The only way that I support the death penalty in practice is if we can guarantee that no innocent human would ever be executed. Since God is the only one that can make those decisions I don’t want my government making that decision.

      As to the idea of torture, I find it morally reprehensible and repugnant. Over the last fifteen years I have had many arguments with friends about torture. For a long time I used the argument that it was not effective in gaining accurate and reliable intelligence (as many professional FBI interrogators would agree). Some of my friends though argued from first hand observation during the Vietnam war that it was effective. I finally realized that I was making the wrong argument: because torture IS immoral I don’t EVER want my country doing it in my name for any reason no matter the potential benefit. It didn’t matter if it is effective, it is evil and evil is not destroyed by more evil.

    • And yet you carry a gun and will yourself dispense death in the blink of an eye, without a trace of due process. Nice.

      Seems some people’s view of this issue has less to do with standing on a principle, and more to do with getting to pull the trigger. Sanctimonious ghouls, every one of you.

      • That is a very unfair characterization. If someone is dreaming of being “judge and jury”, they don’t have any business carrying a firearm in the first place, but most people aren’t like that. Yes, I would shoot someone, possibly killing them, if they were presenting an imminent violent threat to me. It’s not because I don’t think due process is important, it’s because in such a situation I wouldn’t have time for it. But when we’re talking about someone already in a prison cell, there’s no excuse not to be as rigorous as possible before making any harsh decisions.

        • Pssstt…..that’s why I wrote “some people”, not “most people”, and that’s why I responded to a single specific person’s post, and didn’t post that as a stand alone general comment.

          In fact, you’re the only one who referred to “most people.” Yikes!

          With those limited perception skills, maybe YOU (not everyone, some people, or most people, but YOU), shouldn’t have guns. I have no confidence in your judgement.

      • Uh, were you addressing me?

        If so, you’re an idiot. Carrying a gun and using it on someone is VERY different than execution.

        If “the government” were a person capable of pulling the trigger against someone actually threatening the physical body of government then sure, the government can “execute”- except we already allow that, in the form of government agents shooting in defense of self and others.

        If I were to take a man who has been stripped of anything he can kill himself with in a cell, lead him to a room, and shoot him, I would be charged with murder. The state does it, and it’s execution.

        There’s a difference between a defensive shooting and an execution. Tamerlan Tsnarnaev was killed in defensive shooting/run over. Dzhokhar is being set up for an execution/murder. See the difference yet, or are you the “so blind as those who refuse to see”?

        • Afraid not. One of the jury findings required for imposing the death penalty is that the condemned be a continued threat to society. Um…..kinda sorta like the immediacy of a DGU, huh, IDIOT?

          You’re awfully emotional about this. You shouldn’t be allowed to carry a gun. You’re fixated on a predestined outcome where you’re the good guy, the alleged attacker is the bad guy deserving of death, all by your paladin hand. How nice. That self-centric worldview is apt to get someone killed, perhaps you, and you should get some professional help, idiot.

      • Afraid not. One of the jury findings required for imposing the death penalty is that the condemned be a continued threat to society. Um…..kinda sorta like the immediacy of a DGU, huh, IDIOT?

        No, not at all. I can’t shoot someone for being a continued threat to society, only to myself. Further, I don’t believe juries CAN make a guess of if someone will be a threat in 20 years.

        You’re awfully emotional about this. You shouldn’t be allowed to carry a gun. You’re fixated on a predestined outcome where you’re the good guy, the alleged attacker is the bad guy deserving of death, all by your paladin hand. How nice. That self-centric worldview is apt to get someone killed, perhaps you, and you should get some professional help, idiot.

        I don’t think I’m emotional about this at all! I think you’re the one trying his damndest to justify killing someone however he can come up with it. I on the other hand think that killing someone depends on totality of circumstance. I think you’re far more emotional as evidenced by your “all or nothing” mentality that fails to show much complexity in thought.

    • “Because that’s what execution is: first degree murder- malice aforethought.”

      I don’t agree with this argument any time I hear it. If execution is first degree murder and malice aforethought, then imprisonment is kidnapping and malice aforethought. Most people, even anti capital punishment people believe in harsh sentences, we just disagree on the degree or severity. Some would argue that imprisonment for a lifetime is more cruel than execution.

      Sure, absolutely the state makes mistakes in sentencing. If prosecutors are caught fudging evidence then they should suffer the fate of those they help convict, IMO. But the state has also sent innocent people to prison until they’ve died a natural death many years later. Again, we don’t disagree on principal, only severity.

      And I believe that the deterrence that death sentences have on capital crime causes a net decrease in innocent life lost overall, or at least it did when it was carried out consistently and hastily. If softer punishments equal less deterrence and more numerous capital crimes, you also have the curious inverse of there being a greater chance of innocent people being convicted because of more crimes being committed.

      Just my random thoughts.

      • Happy to have a friendly back and forth! Some other posters are making this really personal…

        I do believe that imprisonment is kidnapping and detention! That’s only a crime though for it being FALSE detention or unjustified kidnapping. Putting someone in a box sucks, but it is sometimes necessary, and I do support it when necessary! Citizens can detain and even hold someone, albeit under such limited circumstances and at such cost it’s not practical.
        I certainly think that detention is worse than death, though death rows tend to be worse than non-death rows, more from treatment than actual death itself.

        “Sure, absolutely the state makes mistakes in sentencing. If prosecutors are caught fudging evidence then they should suffer the fate of those they help convict, IMO.” Me too! But that doesn’t happen, and seems unlikely most places 🙁 So we have to ask what CAN be done.
        Truth! It’s the severity, and specifically, the lack of reversibility. If you’re locked up for 30 years, you can’t get time back, but you CAN be released, and they CAN pay you an estimated back wages of what you would have earned. Is it the same as getting 30 years back? NO!! But when you’re dead… there’s nothing at this point we can do to REMOTELY unring that bell!

        I’ve heard the deterrence argument, but I think more strikingly is that evidence of SWIFT punishment is more important that severity. So in theory, I’d be more interested in a system that is softer punishment, and possibly more screw-ups to deliver a swifter system- but it would HAVE to include VERY swift appeals of sentences and reversing the punishment, and likely would be regressive and racist in application. But those are some random thoughts of mine anyway.

  4. Faster this world is rid of this remorseless individual the better. The longer this guy stays alive, the more opportunity the rest of the fanatical Islam sect will utilize him as a bargaining chip in their future terror. My bets are everything will work out someday while he is peacefully sleeping in prison. It just seems the worst of the worst especially when it involves children, meet their fate that way.

  5. I fully support torture, but am staunchly anti-torture for tortures sake. It is a last resort option to obtain vital information needed in a timely manner to prevent the loss of innocent life, such as in the case of terrorists with information concerning future attacks or other terrorists. Despite the hypocrisy, I do not support torture of Americans for any reason. I also disagree with the death penalty, and believe that inmates should be forced to work meaningfully, rather than sitting around playing ball and lifting weights.

    • Torture is very good at eliciting what you want to hear…the truth, not so much. Which is one major reason why the FBI absolutely refused to participate in the torture of prisoners by the CIA.

      • This notion, that torture (or even enhanced interrogation) only serves to produce stories the interrogator wants to hear is false. And it is readily and obviously false, if you think about it for a moment:

        The interrogator is armed with a great deal of information; for most of the questions asked, the answers are already known. New info is cross-checked quickly. False answers, even in attempts to please the interrogator and make the interrogation stop, are punished. One learns quickly not to try that stunt again.

        The detailed reports on such interrogations bear this out.

        Some future society may decide that any sort of confinement of anyone against his will is “torture” and look back on the idea of a jail as horrifically cruel. This presupposes that the West survives the Jihadist War, and then forgets the lessons learned.

        As for the death penalty: It is problematic. Even though a jury makes the decision, as was pointed out, they are by law forbidden to independently investigate, and must consider only evidence presented by the prosecution and defense. The death penalty is entirely appropriate here … but it is unfortunate that the prosecution and supporting agencies have become so notorious for bad acts despite their solemn duty.

        ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

        • That all sounds good, but the picture you paint is very specific. If the person/entity doing the torturing knows enough to cross check (with 100% accuracy as you seem to suggest) the vital bit of information they’re trying to get, don’t you think they’d have resources to get that piece of info from another source as well?

          Not to mention, if you’re really under a time crunch to where you justify torture, most likely the subject won’t give it to you in time. It’s not like this is something that would be employed on your average gangster. This would only be used on hardened “Terrorists” who are likely more afraid of their own people than of you. Plus, someone with a piece of information as vital as your scenario claims would not be someone you can break easily.

          Torture IS unreliable, inhumane, and a very slippery slope. I’m not saying it should never be used, but I will say that I can’t think of a situation where it would be the best course of action (ignoring morality altogether).

    • I read the story about the hunt for Saddam Hussein as written by the interrogator who found him. Modern interrogation is more asking questions, cross-referencing answers, and combining HUMINT, ELINT, SIGINT, etc to form the picture and less waterboarding and car batteries. It’s been proven over and over that answers given while under duress are unreliable, typically because the tortured will give anything they think will stop the pain.
      As for the “ticking time-bomb” thing. The author found Saddam’s location literally minutes before he was to fly out of Iraq at the end of his deployment. Asking the right questions, not giving the right beatings.

      • I read that book. It was excellent. Don’t remember the name or the author. As I recall, he learned of Saddam’s capture while on layover at the London airport on his trip back to the states.

  6. Man! That is some random thinking! I like the idea of the jury setting up a firing squad. It would help them keep their duty in mind. Or how about the foreman must pull the lever on the gallows.
    Killing people is a serious business. I have to be ready to explain our actions at our final judgment.
    That said there are some acts that simply must be punished. To let him live is to let this enemy win. As Willy Nelson and Toby Keith sing “sometimes you have to draw a hard line.”

  7. I suspect that killing Tsarnaev now is mostly just vengeance. I doesn’t seem reasonable to expect that it will have a deterrent effect and may have just the opposite. I don’t know what to say about the notion that it may make the living victims feel better. I suppose that I’d rather have this fellow put to work doing something useful to pay for his imprisonment as much as possible. Maybe one day it will be possible to ensure/determine that he is reformed, regretful, and no longer a threat. Myself, I have never been pleased by anyone’s death, in and of itself, not even the worst of the worst. I realize that it is often necessary though and I also realize that I might feel differently if I was more directly a victim. Perhaps my thoughts on the matter stem from my thinking that the most important battle between good and evil is our internal one.

    • Really. Why make him a martyr? He is worth more to the extremists dead than alive, and will undoubtedly be used as a justification for attacks against Americans, American interests, and maybe America itself. Let him rot in jail. Unless he is in solitary in supermax (which will slowly but surely drive him insane), the prison population will take him out.

      • We have had Egypt’s President Morsi and thousands of other jihadists run terrorism operations against the United States in order to free the “Blind Sheik” (mastermind of the 1993 WTC bombing, because he is still alive. Had he been executed, ops might have been run in his name — but there are already lots of such “martyrs” and he’d merely be part of a crowd. But as a live prisoner, he is a potential bargaining chip. He is implicated in the Benghazi imbroglio as the goal of an alleged kidnapping attempt on Ambassador Stephens. But the demand for his release by Morsi is not speculation; it has been widely reported.

        Now, Morsi himself has just been sentenced to death. If that is carried out, he will no longer be a focus of the Muslim Brotherhood and its supporters, who, oddly, arguably include our own president. So his death, too, will be a deterrent.

        ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

        • Yes, and as a less important bonus, if he’s dead he won’t have lovesick loser females and marxist college professors mooning over him and fighting to get him released.

        • Omar Abdel-Rahman is/was a leader, a man with skills, connections, followers, history, and influence. Tsarnaev is just some foreign kid they never knew. It is hard to imagine that he has any value to them other than as an example of martyrdom.

    • First by your reasoning life in prison is just vengeance, in fact anything is, just a matter of degree. Second, execution is punishment, not vengeance.

      We (as in We the people) should execute a LOT more people in my opinion. Fewer laws with much harsher penalties for serious infractions, imo.

      • Prison is just the only way to banish a person from society so they can’t be part of it anymore. This used to be done in other ways involving islands, long distances etc. That isn’t possible anymore. I see incarceration as protecting the rest of the people rather than punishing the criminal since at that point I don’t care about the criminal anymore and see the need to ensure the safety of the rest.

    • This is an abstraction to most people. I shared an office with a woman named Linda Franklin, you can look her up. The courts ruled that her murderer was a minor under the influence of a adult and spared his life. He will be out of prison by the time is 40. He is alive and Linda is dead, Where is the justice in that? Please do not give me the BS about will his death bring her back. That is irrelevant.

      And many here, like Robert, will demanding a restoration of his gun rights because he paid his debt to society.

      • That person should have been killed as they were responsible for being weak enough to be controlled by another, we always have a choice. It was said that the most important determination of our self is the inner battle between good and evil, which ever one we feed is the one we chose to accept. The kid made a choice to kill your friend and should pay with his life for that conscious act. I think that kid should be lucky you are not vengeful because the parent company you are employed by and the fact you always bring up gangs means that if you work in the field you could have him meet an accident for a favor on your behalf.

      • If by the time he comes out, he’s actually remorseful for what he’s done, then the justice is in letting him live a productive life for the benefit of everyone else. It will not replace a life lost, but it will tilt the balance somewhat to the other direction. Killing him, OTOH, does nothing other than a brief satiation of the feral desire for vengeance.

        And if he doesn’t feel any remorse for what he did, then he shouldn’t be out.

      • “This is an abstraction to most people. I shared an office with a woman named Linda Franklin, you can look her up.”

        Whoa, td, you worked for the FBI?

    • That’s where I am. They just do. There is no way to “pay back” or rehabilitate enough to make up for them. Some crimes are so heinous that if the perpetrator ever really fully “rehabilitated”, he would be driven to kill himself. Torture is a whole different ball of wax, to me, but there are a lot of people who will say yes, some crimes deserve that too. I can’t see it, myself, so I fully understand how some folks can’t see how any crime “deserves” death.

      • It’s not really so much about “deserving” as it is about the potential to get it wrong. The higher the stakes, the more morally wrong it would be to apply such a punishment to a wrongly accused innocent. Jailing someone for a crime they didn’t commit is bad enough, but killing them for such a crime is much worse, and torturing them for it beforehand is atrocious.

        You can say that there’s no doubt about Tsarnaev’s guilt, so all this doesn’t apply in this particular case. While it’s true, the problem is that there have been at least some cases where no-one seriously doubted the guilt of the defendant until after the fact, but then later the whole story was shown to be a house of cards. It’s much more reliable to set a general rule with no exceptions: don’t kill and don’t torture, ever – and know that this way, it is certain that no innocent will ever be subjected to that.

  8. You’re naive. Some people do need killing-like the Nazis who killed your family. Besides-your jihadi wants to meet allah and claim his 72raisins(er virgins). I do not support the death penalty for circumstantial cases,jailhouse snitches or diminished capacity-or kids under 13.

    • So you support executing children that are 14 years old? Where’s equal protection? Prosecuting/punishing like an adult but you don’t get a vote in the matter?

      I can never understand the idea that the state is allowed to execute you but you aren’t allowed a say beforehand. I

      • That’s really not what I stated oh clueless one-and there’s plenty of evil gang member boys who “may” qualify at 14. Adult crime-adult time. Plenty of cases in Chicago…but our convicted felon governor(Ryan) saw fit to remove the death penalty from consideration. What does voting have to do with heinous acts?

        • @marco-Most hitmen across the thirdworld are 10-11 year olds, but our ghettos usually don’t train them for that until 12.

        • It has to do with “adult crime, adult time, adult benefits- wait, scratch that, only adult crime adult time”. Simply put, I don’t believe that someone should suffer adult consequences without adult benefits, and I don’t understand how people can make that argument.

  9. The death penalty is tailor made for this case.

    Got a problem with the government killing him? Fine. Bring him to me and I’ll put him down.

    John

    • @John- But, but, that would be wrong to some, and absolute deterrence to some. ” In other words, he wouldn’t buy an alarm because he wants to shoot someone who invades his home – even though the aftermath would be expensive on all sorts of levels.’

      The fact that defending your home and loves ones from an intruder or potential killer and being afraid the state will harm you(financial or freedom) is the only execution by the state. We all have the right to self defense and should not have to worry about being sued or imprisoned for stopping an imminent threat. Example: I have heard on some forums sheeple say “I won’t carry my defensive weapon I train with because it is expensive so I will carry a cheaper one for the cops to take in case of a DGU.” That kind of carrier is indecisive and I would not want him around me in a violent situation that calls for violent action from violent men, as yuppies who think carrying a deadly weapon is cool are usually in the idiot gun owner of they day shooting themselves defecating.

      ” he wouldn’t buy an alarm because he wants to shoot someone who invades his home” The instinct to protect ones home and family has existed and has been moral and legal long before alarm systems. Focusing on the politically correct optics is what is getting our rights stripped away. Speaking of killing an evil human being is not politically correct or logically possible, unless it is the killing of babies, to the anti-gunners as WE POTG carry a tool originally and continually designed and perfected for that purpose. The man is an American and would take care of an intruder with the tools protected by the Constitution, and at the bare minimum cost to productive human society. No chance in a home invasion or an attack for evidence to be tampered with our have any moral doubts to the criminals innocence. POP,POP,POP, honey call the cops.

      Lord forgive that man for he knew what actions got him done is all taking the life of an evil savage is to some folks. Hate the sin not the sinner, and it is some men’s duty to arrange the meeting for the sinner to be forgiven by whatever God they believe in.

      If a man is stupid enough to harm someone under my protection he would receive blood for blood and life for life. Torturing people is not productive and it is a sin in taking pleasure in harming another but it is necessary sometimes in deterring future hostilities out of a savages. Some years ago My evil white-devil ancestors were in the plains before manifest destiny was a thing and were preyed upon by the Indians. After a local family was savagely attacked and dismembered the locals of Scandinavian decent caught up to the war party and blood eagled some of the fallen Indians as a warning. The Indians never messed with the locals anymore.

  10. I am still in favor of the death penalty but understand the trepidations of the other side. With torture, it’s easy to say you would commit it. Imagine, just for a second, plunging a hot needle into the eye of a murderer. I couldn’t perform the task. Now maybe automation…

    If jurors were required to perform executions, could you imagine the excuses to get out of jury duty?

    • It would divide the pool into those struggling to get off the jury … and those scheming to get on. Many would relish such a duty.

      ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

  11. The penalty should fit the crime. In islamic douchbags case he should be put down. I dont buy all the mental health and bad childhood crying. If your scared to the point you cant respect other peoples right to life then good riddance. Rapist should be put to death too.

  12. “…the government should not be in the business of killing U.S. citizens.”

    Then could we *please* stop granting citizenship to a$$holes like Tsarnayev?

    …*then* we can kill him, right?

    • >> Then could we *please* stop granting citizenship to a$$holes like Tsarnayev?

      But he is from the family of “freedom fighters” who suffered under the oppressive Russian regime for their views (well, and maybe a beheading or two, but that’s for a good cause and so doesn’t count)!

      Seriously though. I wonder how many more jihadis and jihadi wannabes have been granted permanent residency and even citizenship in US from, say, Libya and Syria, while those two were still officially in the “it’s just freedom fighters!” propaganda stage.

  13. A Death penalty, lifetime incarceration or even temporary incarceration are functionally equivalent. Those who are unfit to walk amongst civilized society are removed.

    The saying “An armed society is a polite society” exists exactly for the above stated reason. Behave or face removal.

    I’m also not sure how anyone can square carrying a firearm and not support the death penalty. In any defensive gun use, you are potentially acting as judge, jury and executioner.

    • The difference is that in a DGU, you are protecting your own life, or the life of another, directly and immediately, during the commission of an attack. If an attacker dies during the commission of a crime, too bad so sad. It is not an act of vengeance, and if it was, it would be murder. But an execution is an act of vengeance or punishment by the State, no more no less. It does not fit the legal definition of “justifiable homicide.” It is an exercise of the raw power of the State over its citizens.

    • Mack, carrying a firearm is not me being judge, jury, executioner. It is me protecting myself and others. The best solution is if I can protect without killing, but if death is the only solution then I should be ready to use it. But, I don’t start the fight, someone else does, I just want to get out of it with my skin in tact. In short, I will run away if possible, if not, that’s when the 9mm is useful.

    • It’s an easy distinction–in a DGU my goal is not to act as executioner, but simply to stop the threat. If someone dies because I’ve been forced to shoot that’s a regrettable consequence, not the objective.

  14. Robert, I would agree with you in general. But from what I understand, it’s a lot more expensive to put someone to death than it is to stick them in prison for life. I can’t prove that but I have read it several different places.
    Also, the death sentence is so final. I’m pretty sure Tsarnaev is guilty of assisting in killing four people but there are to many people who get out of prison due to DNA or other evidence coming out after the trial. Maybe if we had a law that anyone put to death, then later proven innocent, all those who convicted him (judge, police, jury, etc) would be tried for murder.
    If it was someone close to me who was hurt, yes, I would probably be in favor of putting them to death, but that’s why they wouldn’t let me be on the jury.

    • You are correct. The average annual cost of incarceration runs about $25,000 (more in supermax because of the guard to prisoner ratio). The average appeal runs 10 to 14 years and costs $5,000,000 to $12,000,000, and almost invariably the State is paying the attorneys for both sides. [The average per hour fee, last time I checked, in the federal court system was about $65 per hour for the defense attorneys.] Do the math. Even at $5 million, the cost of a death penalty appeal is the equivalent of 200 years of incarceration.

      Purely on the basis of cost, it is far cheaper to lock someone up for life than to try to put that individual to death. and in many cases, the “system” weeds out the very worst offenders. And most particularly in the case of convictions on tainted or circumstantial evidence, allows for errors to be corrected decades after the fact. Indeed the news this year alone has reported on at least two individuals who have spent decades in prison for crimes they did not commit.

      And let’s contrast to the value of an innocent life. I haven’t checked in a few years, but the Innocence project has freed over 100 persons wrongfully convicted and sentenced to death, most of them railroaded by police officers who were “certain” that they had their man (and were wrong), and has since expanded their practice to include persons sentenced to long terms for various heinous crimes. The Innocence Project as well has cleared a number of individuals who were executed. Then remember that the purpose of the Fifth Amendment and various exclusionary rules of evidence is that “It is better that ten men go free than one innocent be convicted,” and think about the hundreds of men convicted and sentenced to death on purely circumstantial evidence.

      • Wait a minute, you math doesn’t compute. Do you think Tsarnaev is going to spend the next 50 years in a white collar prison? Any non-executed killer is going to be held for life in a supermax prison or are arguing that they should be released after 10 years?

        • What are talking about? The $25,000 is the average per prisoner system wide, not Club Fed, and is roughly equivalent to what the State of California spends on incarceration–state wide. Where do you get 50 years from? Are you assuming that supermax is $100,000 per year per prisoner? Do you have a source for such a figure? the fact is that all death penalty cases are appealed (automatically in California from state court convictions), and there will most certainly be an appeal in this case, with the primary error being the refusal of the judge to grant multiple motions for change of venue. That will take years, and will likely be appealed to the Supreme Court unless the verdict is vacated for error and the case sent down for retrial. How long did the first trial last and how much did it cost? (I actually paid no attention, but it was weeks even though the defense admitted guilt in opening arguments).

      • While I am in favor of the death penalty in theory I have also read that due to the cost of appeals, lawyer’s fees, court costs, etc.. that it is far less expensive to incarcerate someone for life without chance of parole than to execute them. From that perspective and the fact that it is VERY possible to convict the wrong person I think it is far better to put someone in prison for life than to execute them. I also think that the lady who gave the flip answer that she would like to torture someone may have a FAR different opinion if she actually had to do that. One thing to say that and quite another to be involved in the act of torture. I suspect that the torturer’s humanity is adversely affected to a extreme degree unless they are already a psychopath. The mere thought of torturing another person makes me cringe. Shooting someone in self defense would be hard for me but I could do it if I had to. And if my life or someone that I loved were in danger I don’t think I would hesitate. Torturing someone that cannot fight back is an entirely different matter and I doubt that I could do it.

  15. Re torture vs or before execution…

    I once read a SF story in which a convicted murderer was killed in the same way he killed his victim. (Can’t remember the author or title … they say memory’s the second thing to go … can’t remember the first, either.)

    It was something like multiple gunshots, so the executioner carefully placed rounds in his thigh and abdomen (or somewhere), with pauses equivalent to the amount of time the murderer had let his victim suffer between shots.

    I found the concept both repulsive at one level, and an interestingly graded and thoughtful response on another.

  16. I agree with the idea that the death penalty gives too much power to the government. Additionally, I’ve heard the stat thrown around that it is actually more expensive to carry out a death sentence (due to the appeal process and whatnot) than it is to lock someone in prison for the rest of his or her life, though I do not know how true this actually is.

    I also agree that in an ideal world where guilt can be judged with 100% certainty, death is an appropriate sentence for certain crimes. However, we obviously do not live in an ideal world.

  17. I have mixed feelings about the death penalty. I say no but find it hard to disagree with every argument for it. I find it disturbing if someone is hoping for the opportunity to kill an intruder as well as engage in torture but talk is cheap. Not saying these types are not real but I have a feeling the woman you talked to would not have done much of any kind of torturing once everything was set up for her to get started.

    I don’t agree that jurors should have to be executioners for those sentenced to death any more than they should be required to be prison guards for those sentenced to time.

  18. If there are clearly defined laws with clearly defined penalties e.g. murder with extenuating circumstances (kidnapping, rape, etc.) and if someone does that and the penalty associated with that crime is death by whatever method proscribed (hanging, firing squad, lethal injection, electric chair, etc.) then I do not consider th state or any other authority putting the perpetrator to death.

    When he/she chose to do the crime, he/she chose the consequences. They earned the results. I did not impose it on them, a jury did not impose it on them, a judge did not impose it on them, the state did not impose it on them, but they brought it on themselves by committing the egregious crime.

  19. “Give me liberty of give me death” is a two way street. A population of folks permenantly bonded in dehumanizing captivity subject to violence, rape, and abuse itself sets a bad precedent within our system. The only “bureaucracy” of capital punishment comes from our reluctance to use it as often as is necessary; when individuals have been found to have broken the public trust so utterly that redemption in their lifetime is impossible. False execution is a greater tragedy than false acquittal, but failure to properly punish criminals in a timely manner is even more corrosive. The handwringing over false convictions has long since missed the forest for the trees and is used primarly to run out the clock for convicts on death row (and it has been found an awful lot of gov DNA testing has been incompetently handled over the years, leading to a lot of innocent as well as guilty individuals going free.)

    The bloodless execution ground in prison is so much more civilized.

  20. EYE FOR AN EYE when it comes to someone who has taken another’s life for no purpose other than to hurt. I believe that the almighty is our final judge & jury, but people do some F***ed up shit to others anymore and it seems commonplace today. The hurt should be inflicted twice as hard if the victim is a child.

    On the other hand I have no faith in our justice system either, it needs to be a cut and dry case for the accused to receive the ultimate penalty. Not based on witness testimony, but based on the accused with blood of the victim (victims) on his or her own hands. Not a “message” written in a boat that leads to a Rolling Stones magazine cover……………….

    • If you believe in the Almighty, then maybe you should hear what He had to say about “eye for an eye”?

      • So you plan on “turning the other cheek” if one of your children happens to be killed, raped or hurt in any way whatsoever, you will forgive the perpetrator or be the bigger person?????? I never expressed who I claim to be the Almighty anyways. I have read much of the Old and New Testament and I will gladly pay any price in the afterlife if deemed necessary because one of my children suffered at the hands of evil and I gained retribution on my own…………

        • I’m not a Christian, so no, I don’t plan it. I wouldn’t forgive the person, of course, but I wouldn’t want to hurt them for the sake of vengeance alone (well, the animal within me would, but I am a human being and have learned to control that animal).

      • I will assume you do not have children Sir or Ma’am.
        The animal is not within you it is you. WE ARE ALL ANIMALS and mostly sheep these days.
        The Liberals taught you how to as you say “control that animal”
        I will pray that you and your family never suffers a crisis, as I do not believe you are prepared.

  21. “executions save money and take a bad guy bargaining chip off the table”

    No, generally executions are extremely expensive given all the appeals. And, people should really read about the SuperMax prison he will be staying in meantime. Not a cakewalk. Chances are pretty good he’ll go insane from the permanent isolation.

    As for the death penalty, there are some people who remain an imminent danger to society even after being locked up. Tavon White, who ran his gang from the Baltimore City Jail, knocked up 2 correctional officers while there, had sex with 2 others (at least), and ordered unknown number of killings to protect his turf while enjoying safety in the jail, certainly deserved the death penalty.

    Tsarnev’s penalty will be pretty severe – death, or a lifetime of insanity. People who remain an imminent danger behind bars should be executed.

    That’s theory. Reality: government does everything badly. They execute the wrong people, and when they execute the right people, they wait so long that it’s irrelevant and expensive.

    But, I would not take the death penalty off the table. It gives prosecutors a lever for a plea agreement which avoids expensive appeals.

  22. I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that when people say they would torture someone, they don’t actually know what they mean. I seriously doubt that lady in the store would find herself capable of that. Sure, she may feel she wants vengance, but the act of taking it is quite taxing on the mind and soul.

  23. The argument that the death penalty should be abolished may be well founded. However, in cases where the defendant is caught “red handed”, and the crime is horrendous enough to warrant extreme consequences, then I feel the death penalty is certainly warranted.
    In such cases, there is no argument on weather or not the defendant is guilty, so the argument concerning DNA testing, and possible problems concerning witnesses are a non issue.
    Also, I believe the sentence should be carried out in short order, instead of all the crap that we go through now, keeping the convicted person alive for 10 to 15 years, and costing the state thousands of dollars.
    Instead of the jury doing the shooting in cases where an execution is ordered, how about the relatives of the folks who were killed or maimed, pulling the trigger?

    • The problem is that it introduces a rather subjective “red handedness” factor into the equation. There have been cases before where people were in what was said to be a “red handed” situation – usually by an overzealous prosecutor wanting another feather in the cap – and the jury was sufficiently convinced to vote guilty, yet the person would still be found innocent later, or at least not so obviously guilty as it was initially presumed. Basically, someone has to make a judgment call on how “red handed” it is, and so long as it is the jury, they can still be manipulated. Not to mention factors like racial (and other group) prejudices – think about how a trial for a black man charged with a rape of a white woman go somewhere in Alabama in 1930s.

      • I see your point. However, I don’t believe there is any doubt about the innocence of the Boston bomber. The defense even admitted he was guilty.

        • Yes, I don’t think there’s any doubt about it. The problem is that “doubt” is subjective in the first place, so unless we draw a clear line there will be people dragged in by moving the goalposts that don’t deserve it. And the only way I can think of making that line clear is making it unconditional: don’t execute people, period.

  24. Zero reservation about killing or torture, the only relevance to me is context, facts and what conditions do I employ which action. My objection is the 2 year wait to put this man on trial. A trial leveraging the death penalty is nothing more than murder by consensus. To dive into the minutia of how, why & timeline is nothing more the generating revenue. Video evidence shows he dropped the pack that later exploded. Done end of story. Walk him to a field and strap four small cutting charges on arms & legs and selectively over 15 minutes set them off. Record and route to Aljerzera so everyone in the world understands this is what happens when you kill our people.

    What our people don’t understand is just how messy radical Islam is. How easily young people are influenced by and how the older generation promotes it. When a faith or politic is so intolerant, we should forgo reason and persuade by violent force until they had enough.

    • >> Video evidence shows he dropped the pack that later exploded. Done end of story.

      What if the video evidence shows someone who merely looks similar to him?

      What if it wasn’t the pack that exploded, but something else in that area?

      What if the video itself is fake?

      I’m not saying that any of these are true. But you do need a trial to firmly establish that before taking a man’s life on those grounds. That’s what due process is for, and why it’s guaranteed by the Constitution.

      • Agreed. The investigation of how was wrapped up in a month. 2 years to the why, which is irrelevant, and giving a platform for every anti-death penalty troll claiming a teenagers’ inability to distinquish right from wrong, or influence from an adult. The coin taxpayers spent on an obvious outcome boggles the mind.

  25. So, our way is the old way, where the man who passes the judgement swings the sword, and if he find that he can’t do it, perhaps the accused didn’t deserve to die?

    I’d be okay with this.

  26. Its very interesting that those with a “torture” fixation never bother to define what “torture” is. If you intentionally cause physical pain to someone for the hell of it or as punishment you’re a sadist. If physical or psychological pain is used as part of a skilled interrogation accurate information needed can be gained. If conducted by a sadist or unskilled interviewer then it is a waste of time and likely sadism.

    I”ll define “torture” as permanent physical damage to a body. If modern medicine can fix it, it wasn’t torture. If it causes bad dreams or bedwetting I don’t care.

    The problem with the jury being the executor is that many (or most) in the jury pool will be deterred from consciously and impartially judging the case. They will be thinking about killing/not killing the accused.

    At dawn the following day is a very good idea.

    Gov’t killing citizens. Boohoo. Now tell us about the draft being slavery/involuntary servitude. Boohoo. Welcome to the real world after a break of a few decades of the pothead generation.

    • >> I”ll define “torture” as permanent physical damage to a body. If modern medicine can fix it, it wasn’t torture.

      Under your definition, sticking hot needles under fingernails is not torture, since there’s no permanent damage (it’ll all heal in a few weeks, even without medicine there to fix it).

      In other words, you’re a psychopath.

      Luckily, we already have a fairly reasonable definition of torture, and it is exactly the one that psychos like you dislike so much: it’s all about deliberately causing pain, regardless of whether it does or doesn’t leave a mark.

  27. I agree that the government shouldn’t be in the business of killing its citizens; we the people, through a step process, determined his guilt and his sentence. This is the rare instance where the government does what we determine.

  28. The biggest argument in favor of the death penalty is not cost savings or and eye for an eye. A realistic sentence of life without parole is in fact a license to kill. If someone is put in the slammer for life with no hope of release why shouldn’t they act out? What are going to do to them — given then another life without parole sentence? Don’t give me the “put in solitary confinement for the rest of their lives because the same court that would classify the death penalty as cruel and unusual would do the same for lifetime solitary confinement. Furthermore, life without parole will eventually lead to release at which point Robert is going to haul out the “debt to society” nonsense and demand the killer get his gun rights back.

    Every time I hear someone connect the death penalty to big government I must remind myself to note this ahistorical objection. How could actions that took place in the “good old days before big government” be somehow morally objectionable now? If capital punishment is wrong in the days of big government, it was wrong in the days of small government. The size of government has nothing to do with it’s moral value. What is even more amusing is that the opposition to capital punishment is spearheaded by the forces of big government. Why is that?

    • >> A realistic sentence of life without parole is in fact a license to kill. If someone is put in the slammer for life with no hope of release why shouldn’t they act out?

      And how exactly can they “act out”? If it’s violent, then they risk being injured or killed in self-defense. If it’s not violent, then I can’t think of anything they can do that wouldn’t just make life harder for themselves.

      Furthermore, you’re mixing up different arguments here. For example:

      >> Don’t give me the “put in solitary confinement for the rest of their lives because the same court that would classify the death penalty as cruel and unusual would do the same for lifetime solitary confinement.

      This is a valid argument against courts making such decisions, but it is not a valid argument against replacing death with life sentence in principle.

      >> Furthermore, life without parole will eventually lead to release

      This is a valid argument against releasing people who shouldn’t be out, but, again, not a valid argument against life sentence in principle.

      • They act out by attacking and murdering someone else. Self defense can fail.

        Your other arguments are theorectical and do not reflect reality.

  29. No death penalty. The people who actually deserve death are so few and the state and it’s citizens have shown how carelessly they dish it out its offensive. This doesn’t mean I have any better answers for those that actually should be killed, just that I don’t think the system we have is up to the task for death-dealing. A lot of the slime that actually deserve death probably don’t even care if they die, and killing as a deterrent is punishing one person for others’ possible future crimes as well…which by that point, the deterrent has already failed.

  30. The fact is that there are and have always been people that just aren’t right in the head and can never be trusted to walk among the rest of society. When an animal has a similar sickness it’s considered the humane thing to dispatch the animal as quickly and painless as possible. It wasn’t vengeful when the little boy shot Old Yeller. Personally, I don’t think it’s any more humane to lock somebody up in a concrete hole for 50 or 60 years.

  31. I would gladly be the man to tie this animal to a post in the middle of a field, wrap him in explosives, light a couple of really long fuses so he can watch the last of his life burn away, and follow up with a tractor and a plow once the smoke clears to turn what is left into fertilizer.

    He and his brother voluntarily gave up their right to live when they set the bombs. Wiping him off of the face of the earth is no different than killing a poisonous spider that you find in your bed.

  32. Life for a life. Assuming they killed with knowledge and intent. As judged by a 3rd party group of citizens. I believe having the jury perform the deed themselves could taint the decision making process, in either direction quite possibly, depending on the specific jury members.

    Torture for malice/vengeance reasons, absolutely not. “Enhanced interrogation” techniques depend on context, and no to INTENTIONAL and predictable permanent damage (physical or psychological).

    • The difference between “torture” and “enhanced interrogation techniques” is a lot like the difference between “spy” and “intelligence agent”, or “terrorist” and “freedom fighter”, or “POW” and “PUC”. Which is to say, there’s a highly theoretical difference that doesn’t exist in practice, and the sole reason to distinguish between the two is propaganda. Bad guys are terrorists, good guys are freedom fighters. Bad guys torture, good guys use enhanced interrogation techniques. Unlucky bad guys are PUCs, unlucky good guys are POWs.

  33. I appreciate your concerns but in this time of ‘everybody gets a trophy’, and the relentless lowering of all standards somewhere along the line there must be an absolute. There must be some line which we as a society and civilization agree that we will not suffer to be crossed, and however reluctantly do what is necessary. We have as a nation been conned into the endless loop question of ‘Why?’. Why did they do X, why are they angry, etc and the accompanying ‘need to understand’. Leaving aside ‘they’ may be imbeciles, may be singularly uniformed, wrong, or simply unrepentant a-holes I really don’t care and the over introduction of that kind of nonsense into the legal system has been nothing less than a cancer attaching every criminal charge regardless of how heinous with an asterisk. I will have no glee in his death, but if called upon to lock and load, in the way you get called for jury duty I would fulfill my obligations. There is a profound difference between what must be done and what you want to do at any given moment.

  34. Got to be the one of the DUMBEST blog posts on this site.

    He NEEDS and DESERVES to die.

    Convicted and sentenced by a jury of his peers. The state is just fulfilling the will of the people.

    Maybe if your wife/sister/mother were among the 3 killed or 264 injured you would whistle a different tune.

  35. I count have described my thoughts on any of those matters any better. I feel like if somebody is not an immediate danger to the public, then killing them is simply an act of vengeance, and threat of death has never been a reliable deterrent.

    • Exactly why do the tax payers have to pay to keep this jack ass alive? For 60+ years probably.

      You can let him out and he will never get parol, then just get it over with.

  36. The OP covered a lot of ground.

    The death penalty: I am against it, not on moral grounds, but because we as a country do not do it well. We have a government who does not administer it well and I don’t think it can be fixed. I also agree it puts too much power, and the wrong kind of power, in the state.

    I have to opine, though, that the Boston Bomber would have probably met a worse fate in life imprisonment. He would have probably been in some soft of protective custody, but the inmates would have gotten to him sooner or later and he would live each day knowing that would eventually happen. He would have lived in fear, climaxed by a worse death than he is facing now.

    Torture: I am against torture, but there is are fine lines between torture and “enhanced interrogation.” I think the fine lines are the former can inflict permanent physical damage and is often done for retribution. The latter is fully recoverable and is done dispassionately to get needed information. I know from my military background that it can work if done right. I also have been subjected to it in training and I can attest that it is horrible when it is happening, but you recover from it pretty quickly. I have no problem with some ISIS clown going through the same thing if it saves innocent lives.

  37. Can’t we all just get along?

    Let’s compromise: Life imprisonment in gen pop. Whatever happens to him will be inflicted by his real peers.

  38. Some people through their actions have forfeited their right to live. The government, by consent of the people, can execute those that have reached that point. If the people don’t want the death penalty then they should elect legislators that will ban executions. The Supreme’s have ruled that the death penalty is Constitutional.

    • Exactly. Trying to wrap some “the man is sticking it to him” BS around this is just blathering. He was convicted and sentenced by a jury of his peers and NOT by the state/government.

  39. Have the jury that unanimously recommended the death sentence for Tsarnaev form a firing squad and shoot him to death. Let them implement their decision.

    Great idea! And I volunteer to substitute for any juror who is a bad shot. I’ll fire on “two” and blow off one of that bastard’s legs, just like he did to the people peacefully watching a foot race.

    I want that little pr1ck dead. I just hope I live long enough to see it.

  40. For those advocating torture have your read this one? It is a little bit further down on the Bill of Rights. Don’t stop at the 2nd. Keep reading: Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

    Many (cough…all…cough?) of us on this site demand strict adherence to the 2nd Amendment especially that “shall not be infringed” clause. Now it seems that the 8th doesn’t need to be adhered to according to some. A little hypocrisy me thinks.

    • Punishment, by definition, must be both cruel and unusual, the limitation must be that it is not particularly cruel and unusual “as” a punishment. Describe to me a punishment that no one would feel was either cruel or unusual, and you have described no punishment at all. (In-exact Robert A. Heinlein quote from Starship Troopers there btw, to give credit where credit is due.)

    • There are several references in the Constitution that make it clear its protections were intended for US citizens. Precedent and legislation seems to have extended at least some of those protections to US “nationals” and non-nationals on US soil. But a non-US national, not on US soil is not protected by the Constitution, even though we may choose to extend some Constitution-like exceptions in some cases. The US code allows enhanced interrogation and so far, that has not been struck down in court. That is as it should be. War is a different situation than criminal justice.

  41. Maybe he needs to die the same way he killed!

    There was a special section in the Japanese military in WW2 where they tied prisoners to a post and then detonated various explosives to see what the effect was on human beings. It was never pretty.
    Some prisoners did not die on the initial detonation, and of course were used in the fallowing “experiments”

    Considering how the people died, or were wounded in the Boston “massacre, this would an ideal way to end Dzhokhar’s life, and hopefully, it would take more than one “detonation” to do the job!

  42. Am I the only one hearing Ned Stark say “If you would take a man’s life you owe it to him to look into his eyes and hear his final words. And if you cannot do that then perhaps the doesn’t deserve to die. A ruler who hides behind paid executioners soon forgets what death is.”

  43. Lethal injection takes a certain expertise (as would the firing squad, if that was still viable under federal regulations, which it is not)… therefore, a death practicioner is required.. a decision to execute is pretty hands on, and i totally disagree with the author.. We produce garbage and have garbage men dump the cans every week.. not sure i understand the author’s requirements… i like the seperation of the decision with the practicioner to make SURE the dead is done.

  44. “Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement.”

  45. I shake my head at the naivete of any who claim that our government is too big, too incompetent or too humane to execute anyone.

    We worship soldiers, marines, airmen and sailors who have all received authorization from this same government to wage war. These wars will always lead to the death of civilians and especially to the death of anyone who chose to defend themselves and fight back.

    It is also obvious that many who advocate the abolishment of capital punishment, support the unfettered access and government funding of abortion.

    Capital Punishment should be an option on the table for a few cases of obvious aggravated murder. Guidelines should be set to ensure the integrity of prosecutors. A jury of peers should always have the vote to recommend the sentence of death or not. This is not a big government out of control that Robert fears, it isn’t a slippery slope to gas ovens at Auschwitz.

    The sentence of death is a punishment, not a deterrent or the cheaper option. It is and always should be a punishment.

  46. The entire issue was highly publicized, I’m not shocked by the sentence. That said, Capital Punishment (CP) is no longer of use, and certainly not indicative of a civilized society. As a younger and less-wise man I used to believe in the eye-for-an-eye mantra, but time has taught me otherwise. Most importantly CP is a loss to better understanding those who commit these acts. When we invoke CP we lose all ability to learn and likely protect innocent people in the future. We can never study and possibly discover what makes them tick. CP may feel good at the moment, but it fails to help us improve humanity.

  47. Killing a human being, or any animal, is an act to be undertaken only after great consideration (unless they rush you). But the sad fact is that some people are not redeemable. They are a waste of oxygen, and it serves no purpose to keep them alive.

    If you had Adolph Hitler or Jeffrey Dahmer in your sights, what would you do? If you had walked in the back door of the Century movie theater in Aurora, CO and seen James Holmes pull a weapon and advance into the theater, what would you do? I like to think that I would take affirmative action no matter the cost to me.

    Who decides? Ultimately, it’s you. If you are faced with an act so heinous that it turns your stomach you will know what to do.

    Honor, duty, country.

    Charlie

    “When the need arises — and it does — you must be able to shoot your own dog. Don’t farm it out — that doesn’t make it nicer, it makes it worse.”– RAH

  48. Life without parole, or any form of a pardon to let him out of jail.

    Place in cell. No contact with the rest of the world.

    Provide rope and hook in ceiling if feeling compassionate.

  49. If this happened in Vietnam, trial would have been one week and he would have faced a firing squad within a week after a guilty verdict. I lived in Sai Gon from 2001-2007. I actually felt safer and freer living there than in the USA. And I know a lot of other ex pats that feel the same…from Australia and Europe also! The way the USA has been heading, I am looking to go back and stay there.

  50. Take the terrorists to Dead Horse Alaska and have them participate in a Polar Bear Genital Kicking Contest. Polar Bears like being kicked in the genitals. The person who can kick the Polar Bear the most wins 72 virgins.(Sows).

  51. Executing this punk isn’t about deterring, its about justice and reckoning. It went pretty quick for McVeigh.

    • I always thought my Grandmother’s reasoning of executing criminals was to get them off this planet so they cannot kill again was sound. She really was not so much in the pound of flesh theory. The woman was born in the 19th Century. I think people thought clearer back then.

  52. Execute him. Many of these people are in the 7th century.

    But don’t worry, the State Dept vetted the two Boston bombers, which they are doing for people coming here from the Middle East right now.

    There will be more of these terrorists attacks on US soil. Best to execute them as opposed to building more prisons. . . . Cheaper.

  53. “But if a jury’s going to take a life, I reckon it should be hands-on.”

    I don’t know what cheap brand of booze fueled that little pop progressive bon mot, but that’s definitely a candidate for most ridiculous notion expressed in here 2015 YTD.

    What’s next? The President, as Commander-in-Chief, must personally command a platoon in Iraqastan? Must all declaration-of-war-supporting members of the Senate pick up a rifle and hop in a trench on the front lines?

    Why stop at juries handing down death sentences? Let’s conscript all juries to serve time supervising on prison blocks and in visitor wards. Let them see, hear, and smell, firsthand the sobbing, the raping, the beating, and the endless, hopeless misery that is life in a major prison. After all, the jury sent them there. The jury should witness their own handiwork.

    One thing, though, you’re apt to effect a drastic reduction overall in already poor jury participation rates, eroding the civil rights you claim to defend by constricting one’s right to a speedy trial. Moreover, such a “hands-on” jury policy would surely drive sky high participation by a sadistic subculture of those summoned to serve.

    Eager to convict and yearning to inflict the very punishment you’d rather abolish, your experiment in civics would sic society’s monsters on society’s other monsters, all at taxpayer expense and under public imprimatur. “County Courthouse: Beyond Thunderdome.” Good freaking grief.

  54. Grease the bullets in pig blood first, then he can’t go to heaven, look at it this way he was an equal opportunity killer { Colors} too bad they can’t deport the parents and relatives back to goofy land

  55. I think every cell should be equipped with a sturdy ring in the ceiling and the convict should have the option of ending his own life at any time. The method I would use is to allow those condemned only lemon lime Gatoraide to drink, then, once all appeals are denied, switch to antifreeze.
    Governments and juries do not make mistakes as far as the death penalty is concerned. Their decision is based on the evidence presented. What happens is that there are zealous or blood thirsty cops who pervert or fabricate evidence. Case in point, Deb Milke who was wrongfully convicted based on the lies of Armando Saldate. Some cases may go undiscovered, and then GOD will judge the cop who did it. In cases where evidence clears some one, a full investigation should be undertaken to determine why.
    One step we could take to curb such atroscities is to do away with the prosecuting attorney. Instead, have an attorney general who appoints prosecution in succession to all the liars err lawyers who are admitted to the bar in that district. each one would be required to do prosecutions 50% of the time. Along with that, disband all detective units of the local police. Instead, investigations wold be performed by detectives who work with each law office. The detectives would also be operating on a prosecution defense cycle. We would have competition rather than a good ole boy network.

    • >> Governments and juries do not make mistakes as far as the death penalty is concerned. Their decision is based on the evidence presented.

      Are you familiar with the origin and history of the term “all-white jury”?

    • Governments and juries do not make mistakes as far as the death penalty is concerned. Yes, Big Brother is infallible. I love Big Brother.

  56. My first though upon reading that Tsarnaev was to be put to death was that the solution of lethal injection lacked symmetry to the problem that he and his older brother created. Sometimes I subscribe to the “eye for an eye” mentality, however, I recognize that it is because my first response at such times is emotional, rather than rational. I thought that quarantining him in an abandoned town or realistic movie set, rigged in several areas with explosives would be fitting. He might survive for days or months, but would eventually need something, whether it be food or supplies, that leads him to danger… Then reason takes over, and I realize that he is a young kid. I was his age once, and although I would never have dreamed of killing and injuring innocent people as he did, I know that back then, my behavior was reckless, in part, because life was not yet real to me. In this respect I feel a bit sorry for him. I, personally, wouldn’t want to flip the switch, pull the trigger, or lethally inject him, but I’m ok with his sentence. Regarding the individual who would prefer a gun to an alarm; That scares the hell out of me. I love guns, and I love shooting them, however, I see it as a last resort that I will hopefully never need. I am fortunate to have an alarm and large dogs, but I still train and home carry. I believe in building levels of security. The more that comes between my family and someone with bad intentions, the better off we are.

  57. I do not support the death penalty nor can I condon torture.
    The “patriots” who used enhanced interrogation techniques are traitors to the nation, they and their superiors should stand trial for their crimes.
    The State should not be in the business of precalculated murder. Once you have been arrested you should not have to fear for your life or bodily harm. I have no problem with killing someone when they are an active threat. But killing someone in chains after giving them a couple decades alone to contemplate their fat, knowing the exact date, is unspeakably cruel. I don’t care what they did.
    Besides the moral aspect of it there is the reality of how effective our Justice system is. Innocent people are sentenced everyday for crimes they didn’t commit. How many people on Death Row have been found innocent years later? Whether its because an officer lied or a prosecutor withheld evidence or a confession was coerced from a mentally ill suspect.
    This country has had so many opportunities to be the best humanity has to offer. How many times have we chosen petty cruelty and vengeance?

  58. For all the faults I find with this site and it’s commenters, I will say that it totally changed my views on capital punishment. I had been all for it for my entire life until that one statement : The Government Should Not Be in the Business of Killing its Citizens.

    For that reason and that reason alone, I changed life long belief.

    I agree that some folks just need shot, but that is in the heat of the moment to protect others/yourself. The cold, calculated killing of someone off the battlefield should be highly discouraged.

  59. I’m pretty damned tired of hearing this same old line, “I just don’t trust the government with that kind of power.” Because it’s bullshit. The government doesn’t execute anyone, juries do. The government doesn’t sentence anyone to anything, again, juries do. It’s a mischaracterization of the argument. It also isn’t giving the government any kind of special power, it’s sanctioned by the people. Also, like and kind of liberal platform (and it is a very liberal one) it will not stop with the death penalty. Once the death penalty is inhumane, guess what? Life inprisonment will be inhumane next. Before you know it, we’ll be Norway, and mass murders will walk free after a maximum sentence of 21 years to a resort located in some beautiful mountains.

  60. I’ve never really consider the idea of the death penalty like that before, and it definitely caused me to pause and think about it – still am. Thanks, RF.

  61. I know it’s not directly gun-related, but I’d really like to hear your opinion on this.

    1) I don’t like the idea of the death penalty being dished out by the state. Like others have said here: I’d rather someone be guilty on the street than innocent in prison (or death row), and also for the statements Farago has stated above as well – all good points.

    2) All joking aside – I’m not interested in killing anyone. If a threat can be defused without killing someone – why not do that. I suppose there is always the risk of retribution from the criminal that was not killed, but if we embrace that action – we are stooping to their level. No thanks.

    3) I feel there should be no exceptions to the rule whatsoever on torture. I wish torture on all levels were governed by law (this includes government agents who don’t follow the law). If a guy plants a nuke in a major metropolitan center and only he knows where it is – the law should still stand. Anyone who tortures him should be punished with no pardon granted. While at the same time, I do feel that should a person torture that person in order to save the lives of a million people at the cost of his own – I see that person as a hero – but still believe he should be punished for torturing. If I was president of the US, and a government agent tortured someone to save a million people. I would still not grant pardon (despite that I would want to) and allow his punishment to proceed. For if we allow torture to be accepted and pardon it’s behavior, the cowardice and the moral-less would surely engage in such behavior with no qualms knowing they would be pardoned and embraced a hero. Only great people sacrifice themselves for the many and punishing them ensure that only the most moral would defy the law in order to follow their own moral system. This is the exception – which is a moral one – but I believe it should not be a legal one.

  62. Concerning the death penalty, I support it, but only as an instrument of justice, not vengeance. The best argument, in my opinion, against death penalty is the fact that some people have been convicted and executed, only to be found innocent later. However, an innocent person getting convicted is a travesty of justice, regardless of the sentence! Instead of reducing the sentences to make mistakes less costly, we should work to fix the system to reduce the number of mistakes. (It is, I believe, impossible to wholly eliminate all mistakes. However, the fact that perfection is impossible should not eliminate perfection from being our goal.)

    As for torture, I am against it. A person is a person, regardless of what he or she may have done. While we may sometimes kill or injure someone out of necessity, it is wrong to do so out of malice or, worse, amusement.

  63. Well I have no desire to kill, but I have less desire to torture I think. Life is sacred, but I’m sure locking somone up in solitary forever is less humane in many if not most cases. Some people are a danger to themselves and others. Is it really worth it to drive them even MORE crazy in solitary? At huge expense?

    I think one flaw in your logic is that you could take it to extreme and go full anarchy. What SHOULD the government have power to do? Lock people away forever? Lock people away at all? You have to give some power to the .gov in order to be effective. But it obviously needs effective limits or you get horrible horrible travesties.

    I wish I had more eloquence. I am not sure how to convey my feelings. Not even sure I know what they all are. Which is why I am here.

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