Jack Ingram

With the sentencing phase of Zarcarias Moussaoui underway in Arlington Virginia, the jury will determine what punishment befits him – the terrorist allegedly involved in the Sept. 11 attacks. In doing so, the jury will send a message to the world, a message not only about how America treats convicted terrorists, but how we treat convicts of all other creeds.

One doesn’t need to be a genius to predict the fate of Moussaoui. I wouldn’t be surprised if his execution is expedited. After all, the man basically tied the noose around his neck while testifying on his own behalf, even encouraging the jury to vote for his execution in hopes that if we do execute him, he will become a martyr.

Mr. Moussaoui: If your aim is to get killed, your chances are looking good. I mean, as far as the death penalty goes, statistically you’re a prime candidate. First of all, if you’re looking to be executed, America is a good country to be on death row; globally 97 percent of all executions take place in China, Iran, Yemen and – the U.S.

Also, you’re black. Well, you sort of look black, and according to the Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC), 34 percent of inmates executed since 1977 have been “black,” while 2.3 percent were classified as “other.” Since I think you are French or something, let’s just be safe in our estimate, and combine the two statistics in order to say that you have a 36.3 percent chance of getting the death penalty, based on your race alone. But, also according to the DPIC, in cases where the victim was “white,” 80 percent of those cases delivered a death sentence. So adding it all up, it looks as if your chances of receiving the death penalty are around 116.3 percent. (Yes, I do know that these statistics cannot be combined like this – It’s a joke, no letters to the editor suggesting I take a stats class will be necessary)

The only other thing that I could imagine might help you get the death penalty is if you were a mentally retarded child. Since 1990, other than China, Congo, Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria and Yemen, the U.S. is the only country to openly execute children. As a matter of fact, the U.S. has executed the most children – 19 – between 1990 and 2003. And in the 25 states that do permit the execution of the mentally retarded and mentally ill, 35 such individuals have had their death sentences carried out.

If all this wasn’t enough, you happen to be on trial in a jurisdiction that is south of the Mason Dixon line. Interestingly, of all executions, approximately 83 percent occur in the southern region of the U.S. In fact, Virginia alone has performed 94 of the 1,004 executions that have been conducted since the death penalty was reinstated in 1977, a statistic ranking Virginia second only to Texas in terms of executions.

So to the people from Virginia sitting on this jury, I’ve got one thing to ask: Only 94? Clearly, the citizens of Virginia are satisfied with being the first losers when it comes to executing people. This matter is of too much national importance to be left to such a second-rate state like Virginia, which apparently likes to equivocate about silly things like the Eighth Amendment. I say, move the trial to Texas, a state responsible for over one-third of all executions in the U.S.

So, why should we give this man what he wants?

Why should he get the easy way out? Why should he be made an example of all that is wrong with the capital punishment system – an example for the entire world to see? Why should we make a martyr out of this loser?

We shouldn’t. Let’s not let this maniac make a mockery of our laws and our humanity.

Jack Ingram is a political science senior and a Mustang Daily columnist.

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