Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Finding the Silver Lining in the Moussaoui Jury's Verdict

The jury gave him life.

I am quite disappointed but there is some degree of peace in this result. Those of us who wanted to see Moussaoui meet a grim end in a sterile prison death chamber are indeed upset that this man gets free medical care, free cable, free meals and free recreation for the rest of his miserable life, all on us.

But if anything, part of the relief is the finality. He is being jailed. He will never get out no matter how good he pretends to be. And his appeals are over. He will no longer have a courtroom as a world stage to make his noxious beliefs known. He will now be known as a number; irrelevant and silent.

But this also tells us something somewhat comforting about our judicial system that is a lesson to the rest of the world that mocks us. Outcomes of trials are not predetermined. The State doesn't always get everything it demands. And the ultimate decision-makers are average citizens. The jury considered the evidence, and apparently even Judge Brinkema, who played no role in the decision, seemed to believe that Moussaoui was more of a misfit tag along than a player.

But a system, imperfect though it is, which relies on citizens to determine guilt or innocence and of punishment has stood the test of time. Yes, there are dumb juries, bad judges, and dirty litigants. I have seen them in action and it is a disgrace. But the system--despite the fact that it is a "system"--is still the best thing going. It still works.

Tomorrow is a new day, and we have more important work than dissecting this verdict.

Moussaoui lost. Regardless of the punishment he got, the people of the United States of America won.

Let's move on.


Blogger Jack H said...

You take a mature and philosphical and balanced view. Of course we make due. Justice matters, but so does blood pressure.

I just read Krauthammer's piece, which spurred me to write this:

Last week I wrote this:

But we do need to keep it all in perspective. Tomorrow is another day.


7:43 PM  

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