McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

National News

January 31, 2014

Tsarnaev death sentence brings no peace



I didn’t know anyone hurt or killed at the Boston Marathon, so perhaps I have less of a claim to being a victim than others. But I still felt deep emotional pain because of the Tsarnaevs’ alleged attack, and my once-happy memories of watching the Boston Marathon as a boy are now forever tainted.

That at least makes me a victim in a spirit. And if Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is found guilty and executed to give me a sense of justice, that makes me in some small way complicit in the death of another human being.

The thought of the Tsarnaevs killing in the name of their deranged beliefs sickens me. So does the thought that part of my tax dollars as a resident of Oklahoma pays for people’s executions — carried out, no less, in my new hometown of McAlester at Oklahoma State Penitentiary.

But I have yet to feel victimized by a crime that’s resulted in an execution at OSP. If Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is found guilty and executed, he’d die in part because of me, and that feels even worse.

President Obama in his State of the Union Address on Tuesday demand the prison at Guantamo Bay be closed “because we counter terrorism not just through intelligence and military action but by remaining true to our constitutional ideals and setting an example for the rest of the world.”

That just two days later he authorized U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to seek the death penalty is mind-boggling, not to mention extremely hypocritical.

Holder’s announcement is just the first step of many. Tsarnaev’s trial date hasn’t even been set yet, and no one knows what the exact outcome of his trial will be.

Tsarnaev faces 30 federal charges, 17 of which could, if he’s found guilty, result in a federal execution. Tsarnaev might be a terrorist, but he’s still a human being with the same right to life due everyone born on this earth.

If he dies, he’ll just be another tick in the Boston Marathon’s body count.

Contact Matt Goisman at

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