Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Part 3 of the Third Amendment:
The Third Amendment, Part 3

Just kidding. This is about Zacarias Moussaoui.

The facility where Moussaoui will serve his life sentence is The United States Penitentiary Administrative Maximum Facility (ADX) in Florence, Colorado. He will be one of 190,309 federal inmates. The total budget for the Federal Prison System (under Department of Justice) is $4.7 billion.

In short, what this means is that each and every American is paying about $0.000003 a year to keep Moussaoui fed, clothed, and under constant heavy guard in solitary confinement. We each pay $15.67 a year to afford this privilege to the other 190,308 federal inmates.

I don't know about you, but I want my $15.67 back.

In all seriousness, why is this man still alive? Why are we giving money to the government to keep him alive?

Most of the usual arguments against the death penalty don't apply. One cannot claim that Moussaoui was falsely found guilty; he pleaded guilty to six felony charges. Whether or not he could potentially be "rehabilitated" is irrelevant; what does it matter if he could become a productive member of society if he's serving six consecutive life sentences?

What I find most infuriating is that the three jurors who prevented the unanimous verdict necessary to give Moussaoui the death penalty were concerned about making a martyr out of him. This is possibly the worst reason to do anything, ever. First of all, people can easily garner "immeasurable love and respect without becoming martyrs; Moussaoui can still serve as a "martyr" for radical fundamentalists, even if he's still alive. Second, if we allow fear of reprisal to cloud our perspectives on justice, the terrorists win. Seriously. Creating a reluctance to act due to fear of retribution is a greater blow than could be struck by any hijacked airliner.

Ultimately, Moussaoui is at worst an evil man who conspired to kill thousands of Americans, and at best an idiot. As far as I'm concerned, both of these are capital offenses.



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