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Sentencing the Boston Bomber

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev just got the death penalty handed down to him, and I can’t say I’m surprised, especially considering how fast the jury came back with a sentence. 14 hours total doesn’t suggest too much conflict in the jury room. My personal thoughts are that if he didn’t deserve the death penalty, then no one does, but since I’m opposed to the death penalty I guess my belief that no one should get it applies to him too. In fact, a sentence of life without the possibility may even have produced some good, in the sense that it would have highlighted the absurdity where some notorious terrorist bomber gets mercy, but some nobody with a shitty court-appointed attorney has to receive society’s ultimate punishment for a stickup gone wrong that barely even makes the local news.

I was talking with my brother a day or so ago about how the nature of jury selections in capital cases might tend to produce a group particularly likely to impose the death penalty. My objections toward it would have gotten me bounced for cause, so I wouldn’t be up in the jury room arguing about structural inequality or an unfair system. God knows I wouldn’t have been going on about how Tsarnaev, in particular, deserves mercy as opposed to every other shitheaded killer that lands on death row. At least in Sister Helen Prejean his attorneys were able to find ONE person to introduce the idea that he feels the slightest bit bad about what he did, and that he’d change things if he could, and not just like build a bigger, more powerful bomb or have a better escape plan. I WASN’T BUYING IT.


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