Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Nature of Justice

The reactions to the recent jury deliberation over the fate of Zacarias Moussaoui had some ideas that I would like to address. Several of these ideas i picked up form the net, others spurred other ideas of mine, i will try to reference the ones i remember. The first one is the simplest and easiest to see the incorrect thought and was addressed here by Bob Kurm (via Say Uncle)

I’m sorry, but those who wring their hands over state executions, while laughing at the idea that prison gang bangs are a convict’s just reward, lose their right to claim human rights as a motivating force for their objection to the death penalty.

While I don't remember reading anyone in particular who felt that way, I am sure there are some out there.

Secondly, there are the ones who seem ecstatic that Moussaoui is not going to die. That idea also strikes me as wrong.. Who's side are they on anyways? I am not saying that you have to support the death penalty, but it seems backwards and wrong to support murders.

Additionally, there are the ones who perform reason backwards from the punishment then explain why life is worse than death. A good example of this is here.


You may be right, and it is sad ’tis so.

I can think of no better punishment for Moussaoui than spending his life in solitary confinement, limited in his contact to only his warders.

Imprisonment was the right decision, no question in my mind about that. That statement has nothing at all to do with my opinion of the death penalty.

Even if he had been captured at the controls of an aircraft on its way to the White House, I would have spoken against the death penalty.

Deprive him of the status in both life and death that he believed was his due as a martyr.

Let him live - let ANY terrorist live - in imprisonment after due process of law. Remind him every day and every night that he FAILED. He failed his beliefs, he failed his Prophet, he failed his God… as long as he is alive he failed.

True justice is independent of a person's situation. For this person's opinion to change, it sounds like all Moussaoui has to do is decide that he wants to live or even that he likes prison and does not want to go home.

Many people have a hard time with justice, i think some people even fear it. Justice in it's purest form is not vengeance. It is the entire goal of America's justice system. Ideally justice is done by an impartial third party, but in our case the best we can do is a group of humans.

Another quality of justice is that you cannot arrive at the correct and just punishment by coming in the back door. It considers the crime and only the crime, it cannot consider political climate, actions of accused after being caught, what others will say, what other countries will say, what they enemy will say. A just punishment stands up under scrutiny. A just punishment is consistent with the crime. A just punishment will apply to all who commit the crime.


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