4.5.06

Punishment fitting the crime

By now we've all heard that Zacarias Moussaoui has been given a sentence of life in jail without the possibility of parole. The jury didn't buy the government's claim (echoed strongly by Moussaoui himself) that this was a high-level Qaeda operative.

You know, I agree with them. First, denying him his martyrdom and 72 virgins is a good thing. Second, if I were in his place, I'd claim all the glory I could because I'd be pretty aware that I wasn't going to walk out of this. Might as well tell everyone I was bin Laden's right-hand-man, personally picked for this Very Important Mission. It's not like anyone's going to contradict me, right?

So, now he's off to Supermax. He'll dwell in splendid isolation for however long he lives, cut off from the rest of the world (for the most part). That's the part I don't agree with. Yes, yes, let's keep him jailed. But let's not accord him the status of a Big Bad Dangerous Guy. Let's treat him as what he probably was: a low-to-mid-level guy who messed up. We've all met them. Let's put him in Rickers. Maybe Angola. Somewhere where he won't feel "special", where he'll be aware, every minute of every day, that he's not a threat, that he's not important.

Let's make it clear that we spared his life because he's just not the Evil he thinks he is. And let's wish him a very long life in which to realize this.

That would be a just punishment.

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