Friday, December 12, 2008

Capital Punishment For 9/11 and the Greeks

The 9/11 conspirators ought to not receive the death penalty. Why? It is what they want.

This week the 9/11 criminals agreed to end the trial process and give full confessions to their crimes. They professed a lack of faith in the judge, prosecutors, defense attorneys, and President George W. Bush. All their actions seem to lead towards a quick application of the death penalty.

Why now? They may feel that Barack Obama's administration may instruct prosecutors to not seek capital punishment. Bush does not care about international pressure when it comes to capital punishment, and they feel an execution would be more likely under the current administration.

This is exactly why we ought not do it. The death penalty is a strong punishment for our culture. For some it creates a high amount of fear and anxiety because it puts the criminal in the unnatural state of knowing the time and place of his or her death. Additionally those that truly repent of their crimes in a religious way can demonstrate the strength of their faith in their last hours.

For terrorists, martyrdom is the goal. They believe that endless banquets and seventy virgins await them should they die cleanly at the hands of the infidel. Execution at the hands of the government only rewards them in their own minds.

We would be better off to let them rot, forgotten, in a supermax cell. There, cut off from other zealots, they would slowly go madder in complete isolation.


Whatever is going on in Athens, it is Greek to me.

A Greek police officer shot and killed a teenager about a week ago. From that point, violence has rocked Athens and the surrounding area. The rioters, mostly high school students, burned districts in the capital, invaded the campus of the University of Athens, and have attacked authorities. Government ministers have asked to be allowed to resign and have threatened to prosecute the police. Even the chief executive of the University of Athens has stepped aside.

Is this a world gone mad? Screaming children throwing a tantrum en masse threaten to topple a government. Do the Greeks not have rubber bullets, tasers, or water cannons? Maybe the shooting was justified, maybe it was not. Greece is a democracy and such nations are usually pretty good at answering such questions.

Democracy has two meanings, though. In our time it means government for the people but by the people. In the time of Aristotle it meant tyranny of the majority and violent mob rule. Aristotle's version seems to be what is guiding the Greeks today.

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