Thursday, May 04, 2006

Dishonoring memories, part II

Here are the three mitigating factors the federal jury used in deciding the sentence of Zacarias Moussaoui:

1. He had a dysfunctional upbringing.
2. He was abused by his father.
3. He was subjugated to racism as a Muslim youth growing up in France.

While these three factors may bring to light Moussaoui’s modus operandi, they do not by any means excuse him from the grave significance of his involvement in the plot to attack American sovereignty.

One of the more prominent comments I have heard in conciliation of Moussaoui’s life sentence in lieu of the death penalty is that he would be labeled a martyr, and that’s what he wanted anyway. So we are taking away his last desire.

I’ll cry fowl to that argument. First of all, who cares what Moussaoui wanted? Further, who cares what the rest of his radical extremist colleagues make of him? He could just as easily still be called a martyr simply because he got caught. This is not about a label; this is about justice amidst a great war on terrorism.

Second, shall we then apply that same precedent to Osama bib Laden someday? A man responsible for the deaths of thousands, but we won’t want him to viewed as a martyr? Why give the death penalty to anyone if we do not—by precedent—give it to the worst of those in the world?

Death is, and always will be, the ultimate price to be paid whether for good or for evil.

I do not take the death penalty lightly. This is a serious thing, and a hard decision to make if you are a judge or juror. But keep in mind Moussaoui’s involvement in the 9/11 conspiracy:

  • He was trained to fly commercial jets for the purpose of carrying out the same detriment his cohorts caused;
  • He lied to federal agents regarding any knowledge he had about the 9/11 plot;
  • He was involved in a plan to fly a fifth plane into the White House that day until he was arrested on a visa violation.

    I agree with the many who have said that this sentencing should not be about vengeance. But it should be about justice.

    This man was involved in the worst attack on American soil ever. Thousands died leading to a war that has cost the lives of thousands more. For that, there must be a judgment that requires his life. For such a horrible tragedy, one man’s life shall be only the tip of what justice serves.

    I am more than disappointed at the jury’s quiet decision. Unlike many politicians, pundits and diplomats, I do not ‘respect’ that decision. I believe it is an awful one that is, to reiterate my last post, horribly dishonoring to memories of those who innocently paid the ultimate price that day for being regular Americans.

    It is not enough—it is never enough—to skirt justice because of a hard knock life. While that is sad, tragic and unfortunate, never should excuse one from committing the gravest of sins. Human nature is flawed. We are not perfect. We do horrible things in this life; commit horrible transgressions against each other and against God. However, we will always be accountable for those actions despite our circumstance.

    Our true grit as a nation defines us equally as much as our grace and eloquence. The grit demands our basic freedoms. The eloquence makes that freedom great. I think we tend to forget that the two are codependent. When we forget that, we forget that freedom demands justice. It appears that we have done so here.

    My hope now is that our mistakes a people in delivering justice will not be repeated. Until then, Moussaoui’s real justice will be before God following a life sentence at Supermax with the Unabomber and actor Woody Harrelson’s dad.
  • Wednesday, May 03, 2006

    Dishonoring memories

    Today a federal jury ruled-out the death penalty for 9/11 co-conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui deciding instead that he serves a life sentence.

    This is by far the most dishonoring act in the post-September 11 era.

    It has been nearly five years since that awful Tuesday morning when America awoke to the most horrid of tragedies. A federal trial apparently found that Moussaoui was guilty enough to be a part of the conspiracy to crash two planes into the New York cityscape, another into the heart of the nation’s capitol and yet another bound for an unknown target. However, Moussaoui was apparently not guilty enough that his own life was demanded as punishment for the act of war that was committed.

    Over 3,000 people perished that day. To me, this jury verdict is dishonoring to the memories of each of those lives lost in addition to every life lost in the global war on terrorism.

    Such a verdict sends a message to every radical terrorist that if you conspire to attack the United States of America, the worst that can happen to you is that you will spend the rest of your life in a warm bed to sleep in and provided three squares a day…with an option for cable to follow up on the actions of your buddies, or the occasional Lifetime movie special.

    This decision begs the question, “When we finally find Osama bin Laden, we’ll he ‘suffer’ the same penalties as his associates?”

    A decision like this makes all the flags unfurled and draped across America on September 12, 2001 a terrible display of vanity and sensationalism, destroying any true patriotic intent that was perhaps perceived by them at the time.

    My apologies to the family members of the victims of 9/11 whose memories have been dishonored by this most recent decision.

    Read the AP story here.

    What makes gas prices soar

    As reported by one of my colleagues...For truth in advertising, the below story should have read:

    Olympia: $2.56 gas + 18.4 federal tax + 31 cents state tax (increasing 3 cents 7/1/06, 2 cents 7/1/07 & 1.5 cents 7/1/08) = $3.05 per gallon

    Seattle: $2.59 gas + 18.4 federal tax + 31 cents state tax (increasing 3 cents 7/1/06, 2 cents 7/1/07 & 1.5 cents 7/1/08) = $3.08 per gallon

    Tri-Cities: $2.48 gas + 18.4 federal tax + 31 cents state tax (increasing 3 cents 7/1/06, 2 cents 7/1/07 & 1.5 cents 7/1/08) = $2.97 per gallon

    Spokane: $2.40 gas + 18.4 federal tax + 31 cents state tax (increasing 3 cents 7/1/06, 2 cents 7/1/07 & 1.5 cents 7/1/08) = $2.89 per gallon

    Vancouver: $2.46 gas + 18.4 federal tax + 31 cents state tax (increasing 3 cents 7/1/06, 2 cents 7/1/07 & 1.5 cents 7/1/08) = $2.95 per gallon

    AAA: Average price of gas in Washington $3.04 gallon
    5/3/2006, 6:48 a.m. PT

    The Associated Press

    SEATTLE (AP) — The Triple-A auto club says the average price of a gallon of gasoline in Washington is up another two cents today to three-dollars-four cents a gallon ($3.04).

    That's up 44 cents in the past month.

    Some gasoline prices for metro areas, according to the Triple-A:

    Bellingham $3.16

    Bremerton $2.98

    Olympia $3.05

    Tri-Cities $2.97

    Seattle-Bellevue-Everett $3.08

    Spokane $2.89

    Tacoma $3.03

    Vancouver $2.95

    Yakima $2.97