Thursday, May 04, 2006

OpinionJournal - Peggy Noonan: They Should Have Killed Him

Meaning that Zacharias Moussaoui should have been sentenced to death. That the jury could not bring itself to do so is probably because too many people have forgotten that certain crimes deserve death. First-degree murder, even of one person, is one of them. Treason, and particularly that form of treason known as "levying war against" the United States, is another.

The reason is simple, though not what people think. The purpose of capital punishment is not so much to deter other people from committing a like offense, though it does in fact have that effect, liberal denials notwithstanding. But the real purpose is to deter the particular convict from repeating his offense. The convict makes that necessary because he has, by definition, crossed a key line in his behavior. Most human beings have a very difficult time even contemplating the taking of the life of another human being. But when you've done it once, doing it again is far easier. Therefore, a deliberate murderer is the most dangerous creature in any society, and must be destroyed. Especially when the convict not only shows no remorse, but furthermore refuses to admit that he did anything wrong. Which is what Zacharias Moussaoui has always done and continues to do.

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