Boston Marathon bomber sentenced to death

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A courtroom sketch shows Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (2nd R) during the jury selection process in his trial at the federal courthouse in Boston, Massachusetts on January 15, 2015. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Jane Flavell Collins
*Note: This photo may ONLY be republished with RNS-BOSTON-JURY, originally published on January 26, 2015

A courtroom sketch shows Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (2nd R) during the jury selection process in his trial at the federal courthouse in Boston, Massachusetts on January 15, 2015. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Jane Flavell Collins *Note: This photo may ONLY be republished with RNS-BOSTON-JURY, originally published on January 26, 2015

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From the trial's courtroom start on March 4, the defense team acknowledged his involvement in the bombings. The big question from day one was which sentence the jury would choose.

  • On Behalf of the People of Boston
  • gg

    When are we going to stop killing people. What right does one have to take the life of another human being? When does our obligation to help our brother repent ant make the change that shows compassion and dignity to a person that was given a life .

  • “I don’t like killing innocent people, but in this case it is allowed”

    ^^^The harms of religion in bold ^^^

    There is no difference between “God made me do it”
    and “The Devil made me do it.”

    Religion is for weak, irresponsible people who can’t think for themselves; and for clerics who claim it a virtue to be an ignorant idiot.

    Morality is doing what is right no matter what you are told
    Religion is doing what you are told no matter what is right.

    “Make war on the infidels who dwell around you.” – (Sura 9:123)

    Disgusting bigoted filth. It should all be abandoned.

  • “I don’t like killing innocent people, but in this case it is allowed”

    “Allowed”? yup.
    Oh, the harms of religion.

    There is truly no difference between God made me do it and The Devil made me do it. It is lazy and weak to not think for yourself.

    Morality is doing what is right no matter what you are told
    Religion is doing what you are told no matter what is right.

    Make war on the infidels who dwell around you. (Sura 9:123)
    Disgusting.

  • @Frank C,

    St. Francis was mistaken.
    He should never have mentioned any gods.
    Remove references to a God and this meditation works much better – is universal and is honest:

    “I shall be an instrument of peace.
    Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
    where there is injury, pardon;
    where there is doubt, confidence;
    where there is despair, hope;
    where there is darkness, light;
    where there is sadness, joy.

    “I shall not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
    to be understood as to understand;
    to be loved as to love;
    For it is in giving that we receive
    it is in pardoning that we are pardoned”

    This last line is dangerous nonsense:
    “it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life. Amen.”

    St. Francis takes a thoroughly humane meditation – and turns it into a terrible death wish.
    Apparently you paid no attention as the Boston Bomber invoked God’s death wish too! Gods are a deadly third party.

  • Jazziscoolithink

    St. Francis’ understanding of God was the ground of his ideology of peace. You cannot separate his idea of God from his concept of love–not in the case of St. Francis. To try to divorce them is not only bad history, but bad anthropology. Just overall bad thinking. You don’t have to believe in the concept of God in order to acknowledge that Francis’ idea of God gave rise to his love for humanity.

  • Jazziscoolithink

    What is it that guides your sense of ethics? How do you decide what is right or wrong?

  • Larry

    The understanding that people don’t like to be harmed and neither do I. Having enough of an understanding that my actions have consequences on fellow people.

    So Jazziscoolirhink, is the only reason you don’t run amok is because of fear of divine punishment?

    Are you so sociopathic that you require a supernatural being to watch over you in order to avoid harming others?

    The “moral compass” of religious believers needs recalibrating at times. Too often self-interest and outright sociopathic behavior is mistaken for moral judgments.

    Morals are not just following arbitrary commands from outside authority. It is gauging how one’s efforts affect others besides one’s self.

    http://moralcompassblog.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/penjillette.jpg

  • Too bad the overwhelming majority of Christians did not take St. Francis’s lead. Francis’s vow of poverty, of charity, and notions of kindness to all, especially the least of us, are largely ignored by most people calling themselves Christians.

  • Jazziscoolithink

    I completely agree, Larry. It’s had countless unfortunate consequences for the world.

  • Jazziscoolithink

    Larry, I’m not sure how you’re getting all those assumptions about me based upon two questions I asked in all genuineness. 90% of the time or more, I have no idea where the hell my sense of morality comes from–if I ever really know at all.

    I agree with so much of what you’ve said that it’s hard for me to understand why you’re being such a dick to me. I guess your guiding ethic doesn’t extend far enough to reach that…

  • Fran

    gg,

    Many wicked ones, such as those during the flood in Noah’s day, were unrepentant even though Noah was a preacher of righteousness to them while he constructed the ark.

    Those wicked ones met their fate, death, with no hope of resurrection. The same judgment by God will apply to those who are not repentant and refuse to change at the end of this wicked era. They still have time now to repent and turn their lives around to keep living (Psalm
    37:10,11), but time will eventually run out.

    I would never make a judgment, such as in a jury trial like this one, to end someone’s life (nor qualify to be a juror because of that). It is not my judgment to make, but God’s, since he can read people’s hearts.

  • Diogenes

    Jazziscoolithink, Sometimes (not always) when Larry is fired up, his visceral response overcomes his cognition. His adversarial response to you is probably predicated on the circumstance that he did not catch the fact that your 2nd post was directed to Atheist Max, not him. He did not realize your question was sincere and took it as a challenge On the other hand, Larry often finds it equitable and just to insult others, then takes umbrage when they are offended by him.

  • Diogenes

    Particularly if they express any sort of religious view that conflicts with his; and yet his personal religious views are never specifically categorized in his posts, except that he really hates fundamentalists.

  • Larry

    @Jazziscoolithink, The obvious implication of the question was that atheists lack moral guidelines since they eschew religious codes and notions of morality.

    On a board such as this, the question, as asked, is usually dripping with sarcasm. When you get enough religious believers here making crap up about atheists being amoral, nihlists (or to some Satan’s minions), you can’t throw something out like that and expect a good natured response.

    Besides, it was not that harsh. I was making comments about how religious based morality can be views in a more objective outside POV. Tone trolling is so silly.

  • ben in oakland

    I am totally against the death penalty. we know that mistakes have been made. And to me, it is absolute hypocrisy to demand the right to kill people who kill people to show them that killing people is wrong.

    Our American and Christian love affair with the death penalty degrades us as a people, and especially, as a people who make some rather specious claims about our superior morality and special relationship to the god who thinks just like we do.

    Nevertheless, I will shed no tears for Tsarnaev.

  • Diogenes

    Yeah, calling someone ‘sociopathic’ isn’t harsh at all. Right. Better get that needle on your moral compass fixed.

  • Susan

    Ben In Oakland, I agree with you It’s always seemed odd to me that we execute someone to show that murder is wrong. The death penalty is permanent. What if the jury is wrong or the defendant had a bad lawyer?

    Max, I disagree with your definition of religion.

  • Garson Abuita

    The lex talionis, eye for an eye, measure for measure, is a good ethical rule whether viewed religiously or secularly — IF it’s done fairly, with due process, and most importantly in a case like this, there’s absolutely no doubt as to guilt and it’s as heinous as you can imagine. Some say “But it’s retribution!” I say, exactly.

  • dmj76

    Max

    Do not blame St Francis for this prayer, it apparently was written in the 20th century.

    best wishes.

  • dmj76

    Dear Jazziscoolithink

    Please do not be offended by the response to your post. Because of the nature of this web site I also wrongly immediately assumed you were another fundamentalist who thinks unbelievers are moral zeros. Many religious people cannot imagine that non-theists might be ethical people who want live moral lives. They get this by living in an environment where they watch FOX news and go to movies like “God’s Not Dead”.

  • Greg1

    Actually Jazz you make a good point. Decisions of right and wrong are not whimsical, and should never be. What might appear to be an easy “right” decision, could be very “wrong” over the long haul. That is why religion is so important, as it shows the long term justifications for its moral codes. Of course every atheist on this blog will slander anyone who claims that religion is the underlying foundation for Western morality, but they really have no basis to deny it. However, going forward, the new progressive laws of the States and our government itself, will soon experience the “fruits” of amoral atheism which leads their charge, as it is quickly taking over, and making a mess of our culture. Yes, they will soon have their way, and a societal mess will be the result. BTW, don’t worry about Larry. He is a one way street of “tolerance,” and “inclusiveness,” provided you agree with him. If you drive the wrong way, he will hit you head on with his brand of “tolerance.”

  • samuel Johnston

    “To try to divorce them is not only bad history,…”
    While with a Crusade in the “Holy Land”, Francis road alone into the enemy city, and was allowed an audience with the Caliph, who’s asked him why those who claim to represent a God of peace, are here with an army? “if your eye offend you, pluck it out!” was his reply. Out of respect for holy men, the Caliph allowed him to ride out again.
    The historical Francis was a religious fanatic- not the gentle man of peace as the Church proclaims. (Verba Fratris Illuminati)

  • samuel Johnston

    Hi Ben,
    Being a relativist, I never say never. Society has the right and the obligation to enforce order and protect the innocent. Ever policeman carries a gun and is authorized to use lethal force. My personal opinion considers that we must act in spite of error and uncertainty, simply because it is the lesser of the evils.

  • Larry

    Greg1, thank you for demonstrating my point. There you go making crap up about atheists.

    If your religion is such a source of morality, why do you support things such as:
    -discrimination under color of law?
    -attacks on religious freedom?
    -attacks on personal liberties?

    Those do not strike me or many others as moral positions.

    “Of course every atheist on this blog will slander anyone who claims that religion is the underlying foundation for Western morality, but they really have no basis to deny it.”

    Some of the basis to deny it:
    -300+ years of slavery and genocide under the guise of colonialism
    –30 Years War
    -Taiping Rebellion (most people killed in a conflict prior to WWII)
    -The United States was the first democratic nation to be entirely secular in organization.
    -Every excuse a Christian gives for avoiding the term, “love thy neighbor”

  • Ben in Oakland

    Samuel, you are absolutely right, of course. At the same time, we know that people have been convicted when they didn’t do anything, and some have been condemned to death who are innocent of the crimes that they were charged with. I think society can protect itself quite well with life imprisonment without possibility of parole.

  • samuel Johnston

    HI Ben,
    My opinion is somewhat colored because I have worked in and around prisons most of my adult life. Prisons are a society. Some folks are still a danger to others in prison. Death is the only escape proof prison. No human system will ever be just, failure proof, or reliably release only the rehabilitated. Worse, no prison is immune from political influence or just plain criminal influence. Guards are not qualified psychiatrists, nor would it help much if they were. Our difference of opinion is probably just that I think the world is a much, much more corrupt place than you do, and that good people also tend to be prudent and isolate themselves from evil as much as possible. I know I do.

  • Ben in oakland

    I also worked in the criminal justice system for about five years. I left after concluding that it was far more criminal than it was just. It’s pone of the many reasons I am against the death penalty and against drug laws.

    My definition of corruption is becoming that which you hate. You’re right, though. I don’t think that the world is as corrupt as you do. I do believe that there are many corrupt people, and that their corruption corrupts everything. I don’t think the germans were corrupt in 1933, but that absolute corruption of Hitler and the Nazis corrupted the whole nation.

    I believe that the marriage of power, money, and religion has corrupted this nation. “give me your money and your votes, and we’ll follow Jesus together.”

  • “kindness to all”

    What does this have to do with Christianity or Jesus?

  • @Susan,

    “Max, I disagree with your definition of religion.”

    Religion is the set of practices, rituals, beliefs or claims in deference to or worship of a deity or deities.

    I think this is normative and mainstream.

  • samuel Johnston

    Hi Garson,
    “An eye for an eye” is why the Middle East is/has/will be always at war.
    Retribution is no ethic at all- it is merely primitivism.

  • @jazziscoolithink,

    “You don’t have to believe in the concept of God in order to acknowledge that Francis’ idea of God gave rise to his love for humanity.”

    It is not ‘the concept’ of God which I have a problem with.
    A concept, or metaphor, is just a literary device. Francis imagined a sweet God of love – it could just as easily have been Aphrodite the goddess of love for all I can tell.

    For example:
    I can have a concept of a monster under my bed. That does not mean there is a real monster under my bed.

    Gods do not appear to be real, but are instead imaginary place holders for things still unknown.
    Replace the word ‘god’ with ‘nice fairy’ and you immediately understand why God is just a toy. So pick your favorite concept.

    But if you claim God is real – as in Yahweh – you then have a nightmarish monster who slaughtered himself in a suicide on a cross to free humanity from himself.
    I can’t believe that. It is disgusting.

  • samuel Johnston

    Hi Jazz,
    “What is it that guides your sense of ethics? How do you decide what is right or wrong?”
    I find actually doing right much more difficult than merely deciding what I should do. “No good deed goes unpunished”.