Politics & Policy

Death for the Boston Bomber Is a Matter of National Security

Sparing him could encourage terrorists to kidnap people to swap for him.

The sudden outburst of weepiness for convicted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is truly stomach-turning. As a jury decides his sentence, this is a bad time for Beantown’s legendary liberalism to rear its soft head.

Tsarnaev was merely “an amateur terrorist,” Northeastern University criminologist James Alan Fox told Fox News Channel’s Steve Doocy. “He’s not the worst of the worst.”

Professor Fox’s neighbors share his sympathies. Only 26 percent of Bostonians think the Chechen immigrant should be executed, according to an April 13 WBUR survey; 61 percent would give him life in prison.

For both justice and national security, Dzhokhar deserves death.

He was found guilty on all 30 counts of his indictment for homicide, conspiracy, and other crimes. The two bombs that Dzhokhar, 21, and his dead brother Tamerlan deliberately constructed and planted killed three people and wounded 260 others. Many lack limbs and suffer mental trauma.

 None of this bothers this brutal murderer. Indeed, he defiantly wagged his middle finger at a courthouse security camera three months after the attack.

“This is Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, unconcerned, unrepentant, and unchanged,” prosecutor Nadine Pellegrini told federal jurors Tuesday. “Without remorse, he remains untouched by the grief and the loss that he caused.”

Moral deserts aside, executing Tsarnaev makes national-security sense. For starters, young Muslims who flirt with radicalism might think twice about jihad if they see Tsarnaev pay the ultimate price for his Islamic extremism.

Those who want to spare this killer argue that “martyring” him will hand terrorists a fresh rallying cry. But if Obama pardoned Tsarnaev and gave him a Malibu beach house, radical Islamists still would not change their evil ways.

Not since Imperial Japan’s kamikazes has America confronted foes as fanatical as today’s Islamic zealots. So, giving Tsarnaev what he should get cannot make Muslim terrorists any angrier than they are already.

Conversely, sparing Tsarnaev will not prompt ISIS to sheath its buck knives. Their beheadings and bombings will maintain their grisly drumbeat, whether Tsarnaev gets 50,000 volts or turns 100 behind bars. Thus, America should not be afraid of hurting terrorists’ feelings by liquidating one of their own.

If Tsarnaev stays alive, he could continue his jihad by radicalizing fellow inmates. U.S. prisons spawn Muslim extremists. Why let Tsarnaev evangelize before a captive audience?

Even as a model prisoner, Tsarnaev could become swap bait: Terrorists might kidnap innocent people and try to trade them for Tsarnaev.

In January, ISIS offered to exchange Japanese hostage Kenji Goto for Sajida al-Rishawi, a would-be suicide bomber jailed in Jordan. Officials there refused to free her, and ISIS beheaded Goto.

Could this happen with Tsarnaev?

By swapping five top Taliban commanders for accused Army deserter Bowe Bergdahl, Obama discarded like a pair of torn socks America’s policy of not negotiating with terrorists. With that principle now festering in a landfill, Muslim extremists could try to force Obama or his successor to bargain Tsarnaev away in exchange for one or more kidnapped Americans.

Even if the U.S. response is “No dice,” Americans at home or abroad should not be put at risk of starring in such a scenario. Americans could be injured or killed while being abducted, detained, or freed. U.S. GIs could be wounded or slain while rescuing such hostages. Promptly dispatching Tsarnaev avoids this entire matter.

Finally, life-without-parole sentences don’t always stick. Sometimes they just mean decades of jail, release for “good behavior,” and then years of freedom.

Last October, for instance, former racecar driver Randy Lanier was freed after 26 years, despite “life without parole” for international drug trafficking.

Even life without parole is too severe for the soft-on-crime crowd.

“It gives up on everyone, regardless of whether they exhibit any capacity for growth and change,” University of Houston law professor David R. Dow complained in The Daily Beast in April 2012. “It robs people of hope; it exaggerates the risk to society of releasing convicted murderers; and it turns prisons into geriatric wards, with inmates rolling around in taxpayer-funded wheelchairs carrying oxygen canisters in their laps.”

Unlike “life without parole,” the death penalty cannot be reversed thanks to such mush.

So, in short: Death to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev!

Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News contributor and a contributing editor of National Review Online, and a senior fellow with the London Center for Policy Research.

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