To no one's surprise, a federal jury in Boston convicted Chechen immigrant Dzhokhar Tsarnaev yesterday of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings. Tsarnaev's lawyers admitted he participated with his brother Tamerlan in the bombings on April 15, 2013.
The Tsarnaev brothers' bombs took a heavy toll: three people dead, 254 people injured. Seventeen of the injured people lost limbs; many other people were maimed.
Tsarnaev was convicted on all of the 30 charges he faced. Seventeen of those charges are punishable by death. Beginning as early as next week, the jury will decide whether Tsarnaev should be executed or spend the rest of his life in federal prison.
In other words, this week's convictions ensure that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev will die in jail. Next week, the jury will decide how.
Many people feel that the deaths of three people, including an 8-year-old boy, are reasons enough to put Tsarnaev to death.
Yet even as our hearts go out to the families of the three people who were killed in the blasts, we must look beyond them to the victims who survived the Tsarnaevs' treachery.
Those survivors will have to live every day for the rest of their natural lives with the consequences of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's actions on that fateful day.
I think Dzhokhar Tsarnaev should have to live with the consequences of his actions for the rest of his natural life, too. Truncating Tsarnaev's life in the name of justice would do an injustice to the many dozens of innocent victims who were wounded, maimed, and disfigured in the Marathon bombings.
I have long opposed capital punishment on moral grounds. I see it as vengeful, barbaric, and unworthy of the society we should aspire to be.
In the case of the surviving Boston Marathon bomber, though, I don't have to make that argument. "An-eye-for-an-eye" will be achieved by letting Tsarnaev live for the rest of his days with the consequences of his actions, just as most of his victims will have to do.
A premature, painless death is too good for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Let him live with what he did.