With so many news events being promulgated daily, we tend to forget the news rather quickly. People one day revere and uphold the news as worthy of their attention, yet the next day dismiss it as extraneous and move onto something else.
This is not the case with the infamous Boston Marathon Bombing, which took place almost two years ago. On Jan. 12, we will have the primordial trial for the alleged attacker, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the younger brother of the alleged attackers. The older brother died in a police shoot out a few days after the bombing.
It seems to be unanimous that he is guilty, but the real issue lies in the punishment Tsarnaev will receive. There are only two viable conclusions that are in correlation with the severity of his crime, one is life-long imprisonment and the other is capital punishment.
Both of these are solemn punishments, yet easily justifiable. There are a myriad of arguments for both sides, both appealing to justice, morals and to people’s emotions, as well as to their logic.
The brilliant attorney Judy Clarke heads the defense. She has saved many of America’s most notorious criminals from capital punishment, a sentence that she abhors and finds immoral. It makes sense that she will argue in opposition to the death penalty.
The defense lawyers are going to try to depict Tsarnaev as a malleable teenager who was heavily influenced by his overbearing zealous older brother.
In fact, a lawyer from the Boston firm Todd & Weld said the defense lawyers “will try to get the jury to see him as a young man — as a youth who was molded by his experiences as opposed to somebody who they will see as a predator.”
This is exactly what they must do; they will claim he was the result of tumultuous years of quasi-mind control from his depraved brother.
On the other hand, the federal prosecutors will argue that he possesses the innate liberties of volition. Everybody is accountable for their own actions, a notable precedent set by the Nuremberg trials.
Consequently, just by his involvement he is considered guilty by association. His motive is secondary to the primacy of the act. Furthermore, they have over 700 witnesses and video footage of him placing the bag down that they believe had the bomb inside.
The jury must come to a unanimous decision on Tsarnaev’s fate. If they do not, the judge would be required to sentence him to life in prison. There is no room for a mistrial when capital punishment is in the air.
Before they caught the young lad, Dzhokhar said, “Stop killing our innocent people and we will stop.”
This is in reference to the American killings of Muslims in Afghanistan and Iraq. This goes to show that he had his own motives, and his own perspective on the matter. In turn, it doesn’t really matter who influenced him.
The arguments on both sides are prolific, but what is most salient about this case is the potential for the death penalty. Massachusetts is a very Catholic state and that of course means a propensity to not use capital punishment.
Many people believe it to be inhumane; how can a human judge the quality of another life, and more essentially how do they have the power to end it? Massachusetts obviously dislikes the death penalty; the last execution by Massachusetts was about 67 years ago.
The other end of the spectrum argues that this punishment is absolutely necessary for crimes of this nature because if we do not give them the worst form of punishment, then we are setting a standard that is not formidable.
However, I do not believe that capital punishment is the worst type of retribution. First off, I am distraught by his actions, and I believe he deserves the worst of punishments, which would be to rot for the rest of his life in prison, with no form of parole.
The death penalty would be too quick, too painless and less memorable. Those directly connected to the tragedy may object to my opinion, but I feel it is the strongest action against the defendant.
I am, at this moment in my life, completely against the death penalty. It uses funds that are unnecessary and it is a cop-out by the government for hard-core criminals, whose punishment should be far more dismal and severe, which is lifelong imprisonment.
I am not a fanatically pious man, but my view is made up from my past experiences and readings. It costs approximately 3 million dollars for a single death sentence, while life imprisonment is about 1.9 million dollars.
Likewise, there is nothing I abhor more than someone who takes advantage of being human and performs heinous, despicable acts such as this one and then dies a painless death. In reality, this is what they would most likely want, a free ride to death.
That is why solitary confinement in prison is the most logical way to engender a feeling of lost hope, a feeling of rejection and a daily remembrance of their debauched actions. This will confine them to a life of loneliness, which is the worst form of punishment; it is the quintessential reprisal in my humble opinion.
In addition to my perspective, Marc Fucarile, who lost his right leg in the bombing came out with an unnerving tenacity for the death penalty at the time of the bombing, but two years later, after having time to think, he is in favor of a life sentence. He feels the death penalty would be too magnanimous for Tsarnaev’s actions.
Too many of us are looking at life’s dichotomies through narrow prisms of partial truths.
We tend to be the product of our upbringing and forget that we have a mind that can judge ideas for ourselves; our parents, friends and our favorite media station have immensely influenced us whether we are aware or not.
I implore you to practice introspection and see if your ideas are actually yours.
By performing this action, you will notice that you might not feel as strongly as you thought you were on a side.
We all have disparities in our perspectives, but it is how you validate those views that make you stand out.
Nicholas Piva is a freshman marketing major at Drexel University. He can be contacted at [email protected].