Be Honest: Dead Or Alive?
Friday evening, my wife and I were having dinner with a friend in the bar area of one of our favorite restaurants. In between courses, we found ourselves glued to the television screen watching the ultimate capture of the second Boston Marathon bomber.
You know the guy? 19-year-old monster Dzhokhar Tsarnaev who, together with his older brother, planted bombs that killed three people (including a small child) and maimed almost 200 others. The same guy who executed a MIT security officer and apparently abandoned and drove over his brother while fleeing police. Yeah, that guy.
So, be honest.
Are you glad the authorities took him alive?
Or on the other hand, after he shot at police while cornered in a back yard, would you have lost any sleep if the cops had thrown their own explosive device into the boat and sent Mr. Tsarnaev to join his brother, Timothy McVieigh, the 9-11 hijackers and all the other terrorists in whatever afterlife is reserved for them?
I appreciate that taking Tsarnaev alive gives authorities a better chance to identify and capture the others that worked with him. While some are suggesting the brothers acted alone, I find this extremely difficult to believe. Time will tell - but I won't be shocked to learn that they were part of a larger sleeper cell that had been planning this attack for some time.
In addition, capturing him alive gives the world the chance to see that the United States is better than the terrorists of the world. If he recovers from his injuries, I have no doubt that Tsarnaev with shortly be up to his neck in due process. Due process which, I might add, he saw no need to extend to his victims.
That said, I realize that some will see him as a living martyr for the cause of worldwide extremism. The claims that he was "set up" by the government (for what purpose nobody knows) are already coming in.
If the government seeks the death penalty (which in my opinion is a no-brainer), Tsarnaev will have a battery of some of the best lawyers in the country to argue (at taxpayer expense) why leniency is called for. If he is not executed, he's probably guaranteed to spend the rest of his natural life in the custody of the Federal government with access to exercise facilities, medical care and three meals a day.
The bottom line is that I could go either way on this.
That authorities went to extraordinary measures to take Tsarnaev alive says a lot about our country and our justice system. However if, after he violently resisted arrest, officials had chosen to send him to terrorist Hell, I wouldn't have shed a tear.
So, be honest. Dead or alive? Which would you have preferred?