Wednesday, May 03, 2006

A Jury's Act of Courage: The Moussaoui Verdict

I have to give credit to the Moussaoui jury for deciding on life in prison rather than the death penalty, in what must have been incredibly intense public pressure to vote for death.

This jury, in representing all of us in the United States, has finally taken a step back from the hatred, fear, and polarization that has been engendered in this country since 9/11. Whether there was a component of compassion for Moussaoui in the verdict or whether the jury voted for strictly pragmatic reasons, the fact that it refrained from imposing the ultimate penalty on that sorry character gives me hope that we can somehow find our way out of the confusing times we are in and work toward a more peaceful, compassionate, and accepting world.

We have a right to protect ourselves from those who would harm us; and we, in particular the families of the 9/11 victim, have every right to be angered and horrified by the ideas that Moussaoui espouses and the actions his cohorts took. But we also have the responsibility to act, as individuals and as a society, in ways that further the human race rather than plunging it deeper into darkness. In opting for life in prison rather than death for Zacarias Moussaoui, this courageous jury has taken a very important step in that direction -- a more important step, perhaps, than they will ever know. Their actions bring to mind a phrase from the New Testament's Sermon on the Mount: "Blessed be the peacemakers; for they shall be called the children of God."

Blessed, indeed.

1 comment:

  1. I would've liked to see death on this issue. Rather than have the taxpayer's money fund a shelter and food for this guy, death would've been more appropriate. He has confessed to the plot numerous times. I'm a religious person so I have my faith in God to punish him after death.