What makes us civilized?

One of the alleged perpetrators of the Boston bombings and shootings has been caught, and the other killed.  This is old news to anyone by now.  The question posed to the people in charge is, “what do we do with him now?”

String him up

I hope the doctor taking care of him just kills him

Torture him

These are some suggestions I’ve read regarding what do do with the alleged perpetrator.  Most of them imply skipping a trial and simply bringing justice upon the 19-year old.  They say because of what he did, he doesn’t deserve rights.

WAIT.

That kind of thinking is completely backwards.  Because of what he did, he doesn’t deserve rights?  Isn’t that what a trial is for?  Isn’t a conviction needed before taking away rights?  We use the court of law to weigh appropriate punishment for transgressions against the people.  Only then is it acceptable to take away someone’s rights.  If this alleged perpetrator (and I say ‘alleged’ because I’ve been taught that everyone is innocent until proven guilty) did what they say he did, and it is utterly proven in a trial in a courtroom that he did it, then I fully agree with applying punishment.

I’ve heard arguments from some that since this is terrorism, he is an enemy combatant.  That we don’t hold trials on the battlefield; we don’t hesitate to shoot the enemy during wartime if they’re shooting at us.  I agree.  It would be daft and unwieldily to do that.

I don’t immediately agree that he’s an enemy combatant.  He might be a terrorist.  He might be some sociopathic shithead kid that got his kicks through murder.  We still don’t know!  That’s the whole point of it!  If he’s a terrorist, prove it!  Charge him, convict him, and punish him.  If  he’s a sociopath murderer, do the same.  To be quite honest, I don’t think there’s a difference between the two.

The very, very big problem with calling someone an enemy combatant is that we get to let our government hold and punish people without trial.  What is being done to people in Guantanamo is illegal in the eyes of US and International law.  It breaks the Geneva Conventions for how to treat the enemy in war.  And I have to remind many people that the US Constitution goes beyond just the Second Amendment.  The Sixth Amendment guarantees everyone a right to a public and speedy trial.

The US Government can do this to anybody.  It can take you out of your home, detain you for ten or more years without trial, charge, or representation, and there’s nothing you can do about it.  Nobody will know where you went.  And the US Government will say they’re doing this to protect their citizens.  I don’t trust the US Government with that kind of power

If we continue with this alleged perpetrator what we’ve done with so many in Guantanamo, we’ll be completely ignoring the rule of law.  We’ll be making a joke of the Constitution.  We’ll be setting the example that we as a nation don’t actually do what we say we do.

It’s a land of fools that makes laws and ignores them on a whim.  It’s a land of barbarians that concludes the trial before it’s begun.  It’s a bloodthirsty mob that screams for a bullet in the head, based only on what the TV commentator told them.

I sometimes like to think that we’re above all this.  Then I see the mob.  Then I see Guantanamo.  I guess it’s pretty obvious that we’re not the example to the world that we boast about being.  Our hands are dirty, just like everyone else.

Still, the trolls on the internet don’t get to decide how this man is treated, thank god.  There’s still a chance that we can do it right.  We can still make the decision to act like a civilized society, and I have hope that we will.  If everything that’s been reported is true, then I hope justice is served.  If there’s more to the story (what are the odds of that?), then I hope that a trial will bring them to light so they can be considered.

That’s as hopeful as I can get right now.  There are even Senators calling for his head, abhorring the mere idea of hearing the facts first.  It’s quite discouraging.  I’m glad the man was caught.  I’m glad the mayhem and murdering was stopped.  In a full disclosure, I personally think the guy they caught did it all, and I hope they put him away forever.  But I hope they do that via a trial.  It’s his right.  It’s everyone’s right, no matter what they’ve done.

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