May 9, 2006
Here’s what I think about the Zacarias Moussaoui verdict of life in prison without the possibility of parole: he didn’t get justice.
After the jury decided he should serve life without the possibility of parole, Moussaoui shouted “America, you lost… I won.” He may have been right, but for different reasons.
The jurors said circumstances that mitigated against the death penalty included his dysfunctional childhood. But there are plenty of people with dysfunctional childhoods who are not engaged in plots to commit mass murder and destroy a nation.
Moussaoui deserved death for his personal moral guilt, not for that of his parents.
There was a time in America when the doctrine of “just desserts” ruled. You got what you deserved. No more. In our touchy-feely age, it’s all about emotions and feeling good and not about getting what you deserve and justice. The relatives of 9/11 victims were denied justice. But so was Moussaoui. Depriving one of liberty who has deprived another of life is apples and oranges. It also isn’t just.
Cal Thomas is a nationally syndicated columnist based in Washington, D.C.