So now, having heard testimony about brutal murders and injuries committed in the name of religion, a U.S. military panel has properly found Maj. Nidal Hasan guilty of 13 charges of premeditated murder and 32 charges of attempted premeditated murder.
How long will it take before America joins most other developed nations and abandons capital punishment? Not soon enough.
Each time the death penalty is imposed we suffer another dimunition of our moral authority. The death penalty, besides being ridiculously expensive to maintain, devalues us as a people and reduces the state to the level of the criminal.
Besides that, the capital punishment system sometimes results in the execution of innocent people.
That certainly is not the case here. Hasan boasted that he had done the killing in the name of Islam to protect Muslims -- a claim that may have resonance with radical extremists who follow the twisted version of Islam proposed by the late Osama bin Laden and other terrorists but that must necessarily be rejected by other Muslims as a gross slander on their religion.
The continued existence of capital punishment in the U.S. is embarrassing and so unnecessary. If people who consider themselves fiscal conservatives really took that position seriously, they'd demand an end to the death penalty tomorrow. It is crazily wasteful financially. But the best reasons to oppose it have to do with the immorality of taking lives, especially when the person executed is not guilty.
I'd lock up Hasan for the rest of his life and insist that he spend part of each day reading biographical information about the people he murdered.
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MORE REASONS TO OPPOSE CAPITAL PUNISHMENT
To think further about the death penalty in the Hasan case, here's an intriguing analysis from The New Yorker. It says that should President Obama go along with the death penalty in this case, it will have global repercussions. And they would not be good for the U.S. One more reason to abandon capital punishment, not just in this case but altogether.