Federal prosecutors have announced they are seeking the death penalty for Boston marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. He and his brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, murdered three people and wounded more than 260. In addition, they shot a Boston police officer to death.
In keeping with what the citizens of progressive Massachusetts consider to be progressive values, the great majority of them oppose the death penalty for Tsarnaev. Only one out of three citizens supports his execution.
The Boston Globe reported that, when asked to explain the ACLU's opposition to executing Tsarnaev, "Carol Rose, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, said that the union opposes the death penalty 'because it is discriminatory and arbitrary and inherently violates the constitutional ban against cruel and unusual punishment.'"
"Rose pointed out," the Globe added, "how the community rallied around the slogan, 'Boston Strong,' and said 'that means not letting terrorists or anyone else shake us from staying true to our values.'"
The Globe also reported that "opponents of the death penalty -- the Boston Bar Association declared its opposition to capital punishment earlier this month -- assert that it provides an 'illusion of ultimate punishment.' The group noted that death penalties, even when granted, are rarely carried out."
So, then, a man who placed a bomb next to an 8-year-old boy and blew him up along with other innocent people must not be executed because executing such people is "discriminatory and arbitrary," is "inherently cruel and unusual punishment," and because the death penalty provides only an "illusion of ultimate punishment."
How is executing Tsarnaev "discriminatory and arbitrary?" Against whom? Muslims? Males? Chechens? How is it "inherently cruel?"
Why isn't life in prison from the age of 19, which may include time in solitary confinement, inherently cruel?
And "inherently unusual" is logically almost impossible. Almost nothing humans do is inherently unusual. Whatever is unusual is so because cultures have decided that it is. Is eating insects unusual? In America it is. In parts of Africa it isn't. But it is certainly not inherently unusual. Likewise, capital punishment is only unusual in cultures that have declared it so. In fact it is much more accurate to say that keeping all murderers alive is unusual. It violates the most basic human instinct for fairness and justice.