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Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Final thoughts about Zacarias Moussaoui

I suppose this post is giving this bastard more of my time than he deserves, but this case, like it or not, has been in people's hearts and on their tongues for a very long time now. My opinion on this matter has taken a great deal of time to develop and has underwent a number of changes. I am a proponent of capital punishment, but frankly, I think that the jury handed out the harshest possible punishment by sentencing Mr. Moussaoui to life in prison without the possibility of parole. It isn't as dramatic a sentence as capitol punishment, but sometimes, it is worse than death. As I watched CNN, I heard Wolf Blitzer and one of his guests outline exactly what he's likely to face at his probable destination: solitary confinement for life, 23 hours a day in his cell, with exercise only one hour a day outside of a box, and under close supervision at all times.

Punishment has two aims, depending on the circumstances: to provide a disincentive to reoffend, and to provide lasting consequences for illegal acts. This is true of everything from a speeding ticket to a major felony case. In such cases where the latter reason is of primary concern, the harshest punishment is to provide the hope of the convicted person's greatest desire, only to deny it to them instead. In the case of Mr. Moussaoui, his greatest desire was to die as a martyr, either while murdering his perceived enemies or to be put to death by the same. Had that happened, he would have become a rallying cry for jihadists everywhere, and his name would have been plastered on television, the internet, and print media every time he attempted to appeal a death sentence, enhancing his fame and sense of self-worth. Instead, with his sentence, he becomes utterly and completely irrelevant, an embarassment to the cause to which he devoted what passed for his life, and he will die, forgotten and alone, hopefully decades from now. For a person of his beliefs, I cannot imagine a harsher sentence, and for that, I thank the jury, the prosecutors, and the defense attorneys in this case.


Snave said...

While I am not a proponent of the death penalty, I agree with you 100% that letting this guy live is a far worse punishment than putting him to death. The only thing that bothers me about it is that because of the solitary confinement he won't end up becoming some huge guy's girlfriend for the next 50 years.

Mandelbrot's Chaos said...

While I can see and understand your sentiment, I still think this is worse than being someone's bitch. Imagine being totally cut off from any human contact, with the exception of maybe a few minutes a day with guards who fucking HATE you. This is the type of punishment that destroys people, and if anyone deserves this type of destruction, it's him. I hope he lives to be the oldest man in the world.

Snave said...

What was the line Frank Sinatra sang... "And if I, should survive, to a hundred and five..."

Heh! Moussaui may feel "Young At Heart" now, but yeah, you're right MC. Another 70 or 80 years in prison would be great, and then to find out there are really no virgins waiting for him would be icing on the cake.