Eric Stubben is a mechanical engineering junior and Mustang News conservative columnist. | Ian Billings/Mustang News

Eric Stubben

[follow id =”ericstubben”]

Eric Stubben is a mechanical engineering junior and Mustang News conservative columnist. These views do not necessarily reflect the opinion or editorial coverage of Mustang News.

April 15, 2013, was one of those “remember where you were” days.

The bombings at the Boston Marathon shook the entire nation and the world. The largest terrorist attack on American soil since 9/11 reminded us all that terrorism is not a threat to be reckoned with.

After the dust settled, more than 260 people were injured and three were left dead. A manhunt ensued for days before a massive interdepartmental collaboration reined in two suspects.

Here’s a side note that I must make clear from the beginning: I will not refer to any of the Boston Marathon bombers by name.

I personally believe that a person (or in this case, two people) who commits a crime as heinous and disrespectful as either of the Boston bombers should not be publically named. Therefore, from here on out in this column, I will refer to the surviving bomber as simply the “Boston bomber.”

As the memory of the bombing fades, the reality of the situation is still present. Two weeks ago, the Boston bomber was convicted on 30 criminal counts, 17 of which have the possibility of execution.

In the aftermath of the convictions, the parents of one of the victims – 8-year-old Martin Richard – wrote an editorial published by the Boston Globe that requested dropping the death penalty.

“We are in favor of and would support the Department of Justice in taking the death penalty off the table in exchange for the defendant spending the rest of his life in prison without any possibility of release and waiving all of his rights to appeal.”

I hold the parents’ opinion with the upmost respect. The tragedy and pain they’ve suffered over the past two years is likely more than most will suffer cumulatively over a lifetime. But, I cannot agree that the death penalty should be removed. In fact, I believe quite the opposite.

The Boston bomber must be executed.

In all cases regarding terrorism, I support making the lives of terrorists a living Hell. A person, or group of people, who kills others for disagreeing with a certain perspective of life does not deserve the same basic rights that humans worldwide deserve.

What often makes the lives of terrorists worse is giving them exactly what they don’t want.

In many cases, terrorists are caught in plotting or in the act of martyrdom – dying for their cause. During these cases, I’m more inclined to support a tumultuous life in prison because it’s far from what the terrorist wanted. A slow, uncelebrated death within the confines of three frigid cement walls and a rusted bar door is far less “glamorous” to a terrorist than a fiery death inflicting death or injuries on the masses.

The case of the Boston bomber is different.

In this case, surveillance caught both bombers fleeing the scene directly after they set down their backpacks containing the bombs. Clearly, neither of the bombers had any intention of acting as martyrs.

Consider the lack of consequences that would likely be present if the Boston bomber is sentenced to life in prison. A life in a jail cell, however miserable or secure, is a lifetime that the Boston bomber can spend basking in his glory of being forever remembered in terrorism lore.

The bomber would not be forced to die against his will but would spend a lifetime living in the comforts of knowing his actions successfully disturbed a culture he wanted no part of.

As a country, we must continue to send and reiterate the message that we will not support those who commit or harbor acts of terrorism. As American conflicts wind down in the Middle East and escalated combat against terrorism is extremely unpopular, our message must start at home.

The sentencing of the Boston bomber is an important step to combatting terrorism on our home soil. I do not agree with the de-escalation of Guantanamo Bay or the removal of Cuba from the “State Sponsors of Terrorism” list. Yet, this sentencing can set a precedent that we will not allow terrorists to perform deadly acts on our soil and continue to live a life of self-glory.

Part of the Martin family letter reads, “As long as the defendant is in the spotlight, we have no choice but to live a story told on his terms, not ours.” While I cannot reiterate enough how deeply I respect the opinion of the Richard family, I believe the death penalty is the right way to end the story of the Boston bomber.

While the Boston bombings temporarily took away part of the comfort and confidence from this great country, the death penalty can take away one thing the bomber clearly valued: his life.

Join the Conversation


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *