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KillgoreTrout On May - 11 - 2015

lethal injection

For the last several weeks, the trail of the Boston bomber, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the only one of two suspects still living after the manhunt, police battle and capture, has been in the news often.

The guilt phase of the trial is now over, with Dzhokhar having been found guilty of 30 counts against him, including convictions on weapons, bombing, conspiracy, and murder charges. Of the 30 counts, Seventeen of those counts calls for the death penalty. It took nearly 30 minutes for all the charges and verdicts to be read. The sentencing phase of the trial began on April 21.

These bombings were vicious and completely indiscriminate. The bombers didn’t give a squat about women, children, elderly or anybody else. They heartlessly and inconspicuously placed two improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, made from a combination of gunpowder from hundreds and hundreds of fireworks, nails and steel ball bearings placed inside a pressure cooker. The bombs were designed to do the maximum about of damage to anybody in the areas where they were placed.

Three people were killed by the two explosions as they were lined along the street near the finish line of the annual Boston Marathon. Krystal Marie Campbell, 29 years old, Lu Lingzi, 23 years old , and Martin Richard, only eight years old. A fourth person was killed, Sean Collier, a security guard for MIT university in Cambridge, MA. He was 27 years old. He was ruthlessly gunned down as he sat in his patrol car.

Two hundred and sixty four people were injured by the explosions and all the shrapnel that resulted. At least sixteen people lost limbs either from the blasts themselves, or as a result of serious wounds caused by flying ball bearings, bbs and carpentry nails,

The defense for Tsarnaev wrapped up last week, in the penalty phase of this trial. It is now in the hands of the prosecution and the jury. Will Dzhokhar get life in prison or be sent to death row, to await execution by lethal injection?

The questions I have, are, should he be put to death for his monstrous crimes? Does he want to be a martyr for radical Islam, or does he want his life to be spared, something he never even considered for his victims. Or, should he spend the rest of his miserable days confined in a small cell, alone, for 23 hours a day, for the rest of his miserable life? Considering the fact that he is a young man, and has many, many days ahead of him, should he get life in prison without parole, that would be worse than a quick, relatively painless death by injection.

Many, many of the victims and survivors do not want to go through appeal trials over and over, that would most likely happen if this creep gets the death penalty.

I say he should rot in prison for many, many years to come. What say you?

Written by KillgoreTrout

Once a wander, working vagabond, fellow traveler on this 3rd stone from the sun. Hurtling through space and time. Lover of books (especially the classics), all kinds of books from novels, poetry, essay collections, fiction and nonfiction and a big Kurt Vonnegut fan. I am a secular humanist and technically an atheist.....Taoist.

36 Responses so far.

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  1. VegasBabe says:

    Jail! I don’t support the death penalty…it’s been proven in to many cases that it was chosen only to have murdered the wrong folks.

  2. jjgravitas says:

    Death. I don’t want Tsarnaev to spend a long life in seclusion contemplating what he’s done since he obviously doesn’t care. I’m a fan of the Vlad Dracul method of dealing with terrorists: cut off his head and plant it on a spike as a warning to all future terrorists. His death should be a complete defilement from the Muslim point of view, so he won’t be romanticized as a martyr.

  3. MurphTheSurf3 says:

    This reply is written after the fact but I thought I would toss it into the works.

    1) He got the death penalty.
    2) Average appeal time 15 years.
    3) In the meantime on death row in isolation.
    4) BUT, he gets to wear the mantle of Martyrdom.

    It seems to me that had he gotten Life without Parole appeals would have gone on for years but without the drama, he would still have been in isolation for his own “safety” and the “mantle” would not be his to claim.

    All in all Life was the better option.

    • He may still get life, if he wins one of his appeals. I take comfort in knowing that he’ll be in a little cell on death row, for 23 hours a day, all by his little lonesome. He’s in for a miserable existence either way, and I think that is quite appropriate.

      If he does get executed, I hope he gets 72 mother-in-laws with his 72 virgins.

  4. Well, it looks like little Jokhar is going to get the needle. I was hoping for life in prison without the chance of parole.

    Oh well, I certainly won’t be shedding any tears for this little POS. And so it goes…….

    • Nirek says:

      KT, this is going to cost millions and he will be in jail for years before hi gets the needle. They say it would be cheaper to give him life.

  5. AdLib says:

    KT, I think there are multiple good arguments for life imprisonment in this case and only an emotional argument for the Death Penalty.

    First off, America should be better than those they condemn and not view killing others as permissible because it is righteous revenge. If taking lives of others is the greatest moral outrage, our government shouldn’t join the terrorists in committing it.

    Second, Tsarnaev would be rewarded for his act by being executed. He believes it will make him a martyr to other Muslim extremists and he’s probably right. He may also believe that 72 virgins await him in heaven (they’re cheaper by the dozen) and welcome death, not seeing it as a punishment or anything that should make him feel repentant for those he killed.

    Thirdly, it would sure seem to be a lot more suffering for him to live decades of imprisonment, with little else to think about than the murder of innocent people causing him to spend most of his life like a caged animal, than to quickly end his life.

    Lastly, the American people would have to spend much more money on Tsarnaev and force his victims and their families to roil in the anguish of this terrible act as his death penalty appeals take years to wind through the courts.

    Of course, I start from an anti-death-penalty position for the first reason I stated as a core reason, you don’t teach your child that hitting is wrong by spanking them. But the emotional motivation of vengeance, which I get and know the desire to want it delivered, shouldn’t be self-justifying for a society that seeks a position of moral authority over others who can justify killing others to themselves.

    • AuntieChrist says:

      Sorry to add my two cents so late after the original posting, but this is an interesting dilemma.
      I, personally, oppose the death penalty. I also oppose torture.
      However, in the case of Tsarnaev and Breivik I would be in favor of some deviousness.
      As Tsarnaev is of the belief that he’ll become a martyr rewarded with 72 virgins for his horrendous crimes, I say lock him up for life without the slightest chance of parole -- and for those 23 hours a day that he’s in isolation?
      Pipe in the droning of The 700 Club.
      As Breivik considers himself a Christian style defender of the faith, who committed wholesale murder with his twisted hate, lock him up for life without any hope of an easy escape by state sanctioned execution or eventual parole.
      And too: pipe in to his cell the teachings of everything contrary to all he believes.
      Above both of their prison cell doors should be a sign spelled out in bold letters:

      ABANDON HOPE ALL YE WHO ENTER HERE!

      Then again, I am
      Auntie Christ

      • AdLib says:

        Great to see you Auntie Christ! Hope you are well!

        No apologies necessary on the timing, this is now a situation that will be continuing on for many years as one appeal after another is made against the death penalty for him.

        I was truly surprised when the jury returned the death penalty. I do understand why many favor it for Tsarnaev but I thought that MA folks were finally going to give the country the moral leg up that we need in this country.

        Eye for an eye is not civilized, it is about as uncivilized as things get. It is emotional and vengeful and a society that gives into vengeance diminishes itself.

        The only excuse I can think of where killing someone else is justified is if there is an immediate threat and one has to kill in self-defense (which includes fighting a war against an sggressor as we did in WWII). If one has to kill to literally, not speculatively, to preserve the lives of innocent people, then the moral justification exists IMO.

        But in a choice between locking Tsarnaev up for the rest of his life where he can’t harm anyone else ever again and killing him, there is only vengeance as a reason to kill him.

        And that’s the same motivation that terrorists are driven by, we’re validating that, just trying to draw a line between who should be allowed to kill based on a desire for vengeance and who shouldn’t…and that’s not a game anyone can ever win.

        Don’t be a stranger here, good to see you!

        • AuntieChrist says:

          AdLib!

          Always refreshing to read this site. A pleasant place for voices of sanity in a world that’s been drowned out in calls of lock-stepped hatred.
          My health… Same as always, but I’m thankful to be alive.

          I agree with you completely that the very foundation of exacting revenge is uncivilized. It both disgusts and dismays me whenever I see on Twitter someone posting images of the atrocities which ISIS commits. Without fail, those Twidiots are always right wingers doing the biding of mass murderers -- in spreading the message of fear and propaganda of such rancid cold-blooded murderers.
          They revel in their hate.
          No doubt if they could order the fresh blood of innocents to bathe in, they’de do it in a heartbeat. Oh… Wait.

          Communion anyone?

          Auntie Christ

          What part of scripture do so called Christians not understand when their own holy book states, ‘Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “it is mine to avenge; I will repay.” says the Lord’
          -Romans 12:19

          What else need be said?

          • VegasBabe says:

            Very good to see you Auntie Christ, hope you are doing better and will attempt to come around more often….I will look for you…btw, you know I’m pretty much an agnostic,right? Wouldn’t want to offend you or anything.

            Take care dearest!
            VB

  6. funksands says:

    KT, I find myself in the awkward position of supporting the right of the state to impose a death penalty in theory, but fail nearly all the time when deciding when to apply it! Seemingly this case would be custom made for that judgement, but maybe not.

    I have a lot of conflicting thoughts and emotions about this topic. I’m old enough now to recognize this as my mind’s clue that I’m starting to figure something out, but I’m not certain where that leads.

    No, I don’t think that death is less merciful than 60 years in a SuperMax shoebox.

    If death is MORE merciful (IMO) then are we rewarding the truly heinous or punishing them by making them live? That’s a tough one for me.

    I wrestle with allowing the state the power to impose death. The danger IMO is when a state like Texas uses the death penalty as a lazy catch-all for criminals it simply doesn’t want to deal with.

    I’m closing in on a hypothesis that the death penalty is perfectly acceptable, but just not in the hands of humans. (Beating my head against keyboard)

    • Nirek says:

      Funk and KT, if I may inject how I feel about life/death, I feel a lot like Funk does. On the one hand death is too good for some of the perpetrators, but we would not have repete offenders if they were put to death. But with so many people being freed after DNA proves they are innocent.

      It is a very confounding subject. (now I’m beating my head against the keyboard, too, Funk)

    • Thanks funk. I often wonder about what the reasons are for those who adamantly oppose the death penalty. Is it religious belief? If so, I wonder what particular religious teaching opposes the death penalty? Is it one of the ten commandments? “Thou shalt not kill/murder?” What about all the divine retribution in the Old Testament? What about god sacrificing his only son, to be killed by the Romans? Is belief in the sanctity of life just enlightened self interest?

      As you probably know, I am an atheist, so I am not moved by religious arguments against capital punishment. I’m not a big supporter of such a punishment and think it should be reserved for the worst of the worst crimes, and guilt must be beyond a shadow of doubt.

      I see it, in a case like Ted Bundy for example, of society just putting down a rabid animal that is beyond any possible cure. If someone’s crimes are so bad, so harmful and so repugnant to social mores and morality as generally defined by society, then it is best just to end the existence of such a criminal, with no ceremony or public ritual. Just do away with them and let society move forward, possibly a little purer for the effort.

  7. choicelady says:

    It’s not just that the death penalty solves nothing -- it becomes, ironically, the way authorities jettison their concern for victims (You’ve had your justice -- now go away) but that it makes society stone cold killers. We lose every time when we do what was done.

    That said, may I note that life without paroled (LWOP as we anti-death penalty activists call it) is not possible in this day and age if it is part of isolation. Anti-torture activists see solitary confinement as ‘cruel and unusual punishment’. So we have to pay attention to the forces swirling around us here with respect to what we do or do not advocate. LWOP with some daily contact is now ‘acceptable’. I guess that’s what we should advocate for this young man whose life in all respects will never be free. But no death penalty -- that kills US, too.

    • pinkpantheroz says:

      CL, I agree with your post. I also think that the DP in the USA is utterly unfair on the families of the victims. Appeals are automatic and take years. They also put the victims and families through the torture of yet again living through the experience. In some countries, whom we assess as ‘unenlightened’, the sentence of Death is carried out almost immediately, or, if appealed, is reheard quickly. In any event, the victims see justice carried out and can gain some sort of closure. I’m not advocating the abolition of the US method, but years of lawyer bickering is no help to either the convicted or the victims. It’s a complex issue which needs cool analysis. This particular case is one, IMO, where the DP suits the criminal more than the victims, which should not be allowed to happen.

    • Hey CL, I hope all is well with you. Solitary confinement, the way it is used today is a lot different than what it used to be. It used to be quite brutal and inhumane, and could definitely be called torture. The SC cells were usually in the basements of prisons, they were very small, and they had no lighting at all. There was also no heat. Prisoners who were thrown into these cells were constantly in the dark, usually they were stripped of clothing, and fed very little. They had no toilet or sink to wash in.

      Today, it’s not like that. Prisoners have toilets, and sinks, they have lighting, clothing, medical care, three square meals a day, and they have one hour a day in which they can leave their cell and exercise. They are allowed mail, and in some cases, visitors. It’s a far cry from the old school solitary.

      I think what this little shit did, all the suffering and death that he is responsible for, warrants this new type of confinement. I want him to have to live such an existence every day, for the rest of his life. I wouldn’t call that torture, but simply a just punishment for what he has done.

      • choicelady says:

        I would agree with you, but some groups would NOT.

        Never mind reality -- handwringing hype prevails too often in these conversations. Rather than set standards as you note here, they project every single thing is the SHU,is Pelican Bay, and must, therefore, be outlawed.

        Just a heads up. There is always someone, somewhere who will make a huge deal out of what ought to be good sense.

        • Oh, no doubt CL. I am just expressing my views on this subject and showing how the practice of solitary confinement isn’t the brutal, and barbaric practice it once was. In this regard, no honest person can claim that our modern methods are even comparable to what we did in the past.

          People cannot make blanket statements about two differing things and pretend that those things are one and the same. I know you haven’t done this and are not doing it now. You are much smarter than that.

          People will believe what they like, as they are entitled to do. I however, will believe as I like. This kid, deserves extreme punishment, but not the death penalty. That would end his suffering much too soon. I don’t see this as vengeance (though that’s what it may be), but rather a punishment this kid brought upon himself.

          I have done many things in my youth that I wish I could do over, but never anything close to what this kid willingly did. I don’t care what his influences were. At his age, he damn sure should have known that what he was going to do was terribly wrong, yet he did those things anyway.

          He deserves everything coming his way. I just hope he gets to spend the rest of his miserable life thinking about what he did and all the pain and suffering he caused. The victims and their families will spend the rest of their lives with rather large holes blown in them. Hopefully, their suffering will abate after a while. Hopefully again, Tsarnaev’s will not.

  8. Kalima says:

    Hi KT.

    Death is too good for him and it brings no one back or actually heals the pain of the losses suffered by family and friends of the victims.

    He should spend the rest of his life in solitary confinement where he will have years to think about why he is there, what he and his brother did, and if it was worth ruining so many lives for, including his own. I think that justice would be served.

  9. pinkpantheroz says:

    I think that we should forget about the economics of Death or Life Imprisonment. The way lawyers charge these days, by stretching DP appeals over years, it would, IMO, cost about the same as letting the little cretin rot in jail for the rest of his miserable life. So I feel he should not be executed by the State.

    No. Let him go slowly insane and take his own miserable life after he sees that no one gives a flying fuck about him, or his ’cause’, and that all he’ll see of the rest of this world is grey walls and a team of keepers who will despise him forever. No hope, no joy, no NOTHING! That’s what he deserves.

    • Hey pink! Actually, it has been calculated that the DP actually costs more to tax payers than life in prison, but as far as punishment goes, I don’t think economics should be a determining factor.

      If that were the case with actual executions, a bullet to the brain would be far less expensive than lethal injection, or the electric chair. But, at least in America, a bullet to the brain is seen as barbarous, yet killing with a chemical cocktail of lethal drugs is somehow seen as more humane, even though, the victim clearly suffers for a few minutes before dying. A bullet to the brain is instantaneous. Death occurs in less than a second!

      It’s all so grizzly though, isn’t it?

  10. kesmarn says:

    KT, thanks so much for raising this issue. It’s such an important one.

    I have to say that I’m an opponent of the death penalty in general. The US is one of the few developed countries that still has it, and I don’t think that it makes a good statement about us as a civilization. Europe, Russia, Canada, Australia, Mexico and most of South America do not have it. Africa has varying uses of it — depending on the country.

    With DNA analysis available now, we’re discovering that we’ve incarcerated a number of innocent people (although Tsarnaev is not one of them), so it’s clear that mistakes can and have been made. Once people have been executed, there’s no way to rectify the situation if there’s been an error.

    And then there’s the issue that you raised — about the endless process of appeals. These consume time and money and cause endless stress and misery for families of victims, and for the perpetrator as well.

    Of course, there’s the ethical argument too. How do we send the message that killing is wrong? By killing the killer? I completely understand that Tsarnaev is anything but a sympathetic figure. But don’t we want to feel that we’re on a higher moral level than he is?

    There are situations in which people have come to their senses — have matured and changed for the better in prison situations. Do we want to cut anyone off from the opportunity to live, learn and reform (to use an out-dated term) by terminating his/her life before that can happen?

    I know that these are all the traditionally “bleeding heart” arguments, but — what can I say? I’m a bleeding heart liberal — to the bone.

    Bottom line though, Homie — I’m with you. No execution in this case. No martyrdom. No “eye for an eye” justice. We can show the world that we’re better than the Tsarnaev brothers and their ilk.

    • Thanks Homie. In this case, I think life without parole in near solitary conditions is about the worst thing we can do to him. I know justice isn’t about revenge, but it certainly is about punishment, and this little dirt bag deserves the worst punishment we can legally impose upon him.

      I respect your views on capital punishment. And I would call them humane, instead of the old RW slur, “bleeding heart liberal.”

      I have mixed feelings about capital punishment. I do believe that some crimes are so heinous and the perpetrators of such crimes are so beyond any sort of rehabilitation, remorse or empathy, that this world would be a better place without them. I think if there is absolutely no doubt about their guilt, and the crimes committed are so brutal and ugly, like the rape and murder of children, then the perpetrators of those crimes should be done away with, just like a rabid animal that poses a very real threat to any community.

      I understand that my position on capital punishment as described above isn’t enlightened, or Christian, etc, but it is just how I feel about certain crimes and those animals that commit them.

      • kesmarn says:

        I can understand that position, Homie. And who’s to say? Would I change my tune if someone near and dear to me happened to be a helpless victim of some brutal sadist? I’m afraid even I don’t know the answer to that one. And I hope and pray I never find out.

        It just seems that in this Tsarnaev situation the arguments against the death penalty are so much stronger than the arguments for that it’s the reasonable choice.

        One thing that really did gall me was the fact that this kid displayed no remorse or grief during the whole trial — until his aunt testified on his behalf. When he heard her talk about what a sweet little boy he’d always been, he wept. If that’s not a narcissistic sociopath, I don’t know what is.

        • I do think it’s a tragedy that this kid was such a tool for his older brother to take advantage of. Then again, at his age, nearly 20, at the time of the bombings, he certainly should have known better. I don’t care what his influences were, by the time any human being reaches adulthood, or even sooner, they should know the differences between right and wrong. I have a feeling that Tsarnaev knew and just didn’t care.

          As I said in my post, I hope he doesn’t get the death penalty. I hope he gets to spend the rest of his little, little existence having to think about what he has done, over and over and over again. I hope he slowly grows old, steeped in misery.

  11. Dimbulb2 says:

    I agree with your assessment, i have a small personal association to this case.

    My younger son and I were running together with his mother on Boyleston when the second bomb went off. My older son had finished about an hour and a half earlier and was planning to wait at the finish for us, but decided to wait in our hotel room since he was trashed after the race and it was unusually cold. We didn’t find that out for a couple of hours when we were able to make our way back and re-unite.

    We had heard the first bomb go off when we were running up Hereford, but didn’t know what it was was. In fact I remember vividly one cop joking to another “Call the Bomb squad!” in a loud, jovial manner as we ran by.

    The trauma we suffered is only emotional, but I relived it during the trial with crying jags and sleepless nights as well as just freeform anxiety. I can still feel the concussion and remember the smells. Its odd how the brain works.

    I can only imagine the feelings of those and the families of those that suffered real injury. In my opinion, Its time for this to be over to allow everyone to get on with their lives as best as they can.

    And not devote any more time or attention to the worthless piece of shit that did this. Forget his name and let him rot in jail,. Don’t allow him to be a martyr to his warped cause.

    (I tried to post a picture, but couldn’t make that work)

    • choicelady says:

      I am so dreadfully sorry this happened to you. As a survivor of something even LESS personally violent, I still have PTSD because of it. Please don’t think you have to bear this alone -- it is essential to get help because it will not just ‘go away’ with time.

      I agree he needs to be jettisoned to near solitary (see my above about solitary) so he can be lost to time and history. He deserves that and not the martyrdom of execution.

    • kesmarn says:

      DB, I also knew someone who was running the marathon that day. He was hit with some smaller pieces of shrapnel and was taken to the emergency room where he was treated and released. He was extremely fortunate. (Oddly, he also had a niece at the school at Sandy Hook where Adam Lanza committed that atrocity. She wasn’t injured, thank goodness.)

      It’s almost impossible to believe that this doesn’t take a real emotional toll on anyone who’s lived through it. Wishing you and your family all the best after such a traumatic experience.

    • Nirek says:

      DB2, I too have felt the concussion you talk about. Mine was in Vietnam but when a bomb goes off close to you the concussion is the same in Boston , Nam, or any other place that radical idiots set them off.

      Your story hit home as I was watching on the TV when it happened. My heart goes out to all the innocent people hurt physically or mentally. Just being near enough to feel it is enough to cause PTSD.

      Thanks for sharing your story with us.
      Peace.

    • Hey DB2. I’m sorry you had to go through such a traumatic experience. Thanks for your reply and telling us of that experience.

      I lived in Boston for a number of years, in the 1980s. What a great town.

      We should, as you say, not draw this whole thing out any longer than necessary. Most people want to move forward with their lives and leave this ugly event where it belongs, in the past.

      If this little creep does get the death penalty, I hope his 72 virgins all have Chlamydia!

  12. Nirek says:

    KT, I have thought a lot about this. At first I wanted him gone ASAP. But, like you say the apeals will take years. I don’t believe in his being a martyr but he sems to. So my vote is life with no chance of parole, ever! Let him suffer and think about the damage he did to all those innocent people.
    It isn’t that he deserves to live, it is that he and his ilk think he will be a martyr. No way, he is scum!

    • Hey Nirek. Yeah, he doesn’t deserve to live, and it is galling to think that decent people will be paying for this guy’s keep for the next 50 years or so, but it will be a much greater punishment to keep him in a small cell, alone, for the rest of his life.

      If I had to choose, I would rather die than live the kind of life he’s in for.


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