Once again, ordinary Americans also rose to the occasion in aiding the capture of a terrorist. The quick thinking of the man on Franklin St. who called 911 to report that a bloodied man was in his boat was the key action that aided in his capture.
It is clear that the bombings were the work of Islamic terrorists. I thought this was going to be true, but wanted some confirmation. We have to face the unpleasant and uncomfortable fact that even if a very small minority of Muslims are willing to martyr themselves by attacking the West and America, we are going to have a long and bloody effort ahead of us. Muslims complain that these people are a small minority who tarnish the name of Islam. Fair enough. Perhaps the Islamic community should monitor for the signs of radicalization and aid authorities when they are aware of likely terror activity or cells. Preaching hate, jihad and murder should be unacceptable to all Americans, including Muslims. Why does preaching that marriage should be reserved for a man and a woman provoke outrage on the left, but not the preaching of jihad and hatred for Western values?
I oppose the death penalty, with two exceptions, treason and espionage. The reason for those exceptions is that those crimes are an assault on the country as a whole.* Under the doctrine of inherent right of self-defense, nations have the right to hang those found guilty because we are defending ourselves against a foreign threat when doing so, just as we may kill enemy soldiers on the battlefield. As horrible as other crimes may be, I oppose the death penalty for them because our society is capable of self defense in locking such persons away. But treason and espionage are acts of war against the nation itself. If found guilty, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev should be facing the death penalty. Perhaps he might bargain for a lesser sentence by providing our government with needed information.
This is a great country, where we rise to the occasion during such times. Even the President, who frequently angers me with his public statements, rose to the occasion with an excellent summary. I applaud the brevity and clarity of his remarks. It is a reminder that we are more united than we may give ourselves credit for.
* For a complete treatment of the morality of the death penalty, see the Evangelium Vitae of Pope John Paul II on the Value and Inviolability of Human Life. I quote from section 56 below:
This is the context in which to place the problem of the death penalty. On this matter there is a growing tendency, both in the Church and in civil society, to demand that it be applied in a very limited way or even that it be abolished completely. The problem must be viewed in the context of a system of penal justice ever more in line with human dignity and thus, in the end, with God's plan for man and society. The primary purpose of the punishment which society inflicts is "to redress the disorder caused by the offence". Public authority must redress the violation of personal and social rights by imposing on the offender an adequate punishment for the crime, as a condition for the offender to regain the exercise of his or her freedom. In this way authority also fulfils the purpose of defending public order and ensuring people's safety, while at the same time offering the offender an incentive and help to change his or her behaviour and be rehabilitated.
It is clear that, for these purposes to be achieved, the nature and extent of the punishment must be carefully evaluated and decided upon, and ought not go to the extreme of executing the offender except in cases of absolute necessity: in other words, when it would not be possible otherwise to defend society. Today however, as a result of steady improvements in the organization of the penal system, such cases are very rare, if not practically non-existent
In any event, the principle set forth in the new Catechism of the Catholic Church remains valid: "If bloodless means are sufficient to defend human lives against an aggressor and to protect public order and the safety of persons, public authority must limit itself to such means, because they better correspond to the concrete conditions of the common good and are more in conformity to the dignity of the human person".
In my view, the crimes of treason and espionage are such threats to the state as to be an existential threat of the state's ability to provide for the public order and people's safety. This is my reasoning for the exception.