By Matthew Rothschild on April 23, 2013

A few points on the prosecution of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

I'm glad the Obama administration is not treating him as an enemy combatant and is not trying him before a military commission or sending him down to Guantanamo. We haven't slipped to the bottom of the hill yet.

But I wasn't happy about the denial of his Miranda rights for hours and hours, and that denial may actually jeopardize the government's case.

And I'm not thrilled that he's charged with using a weapon of mass destruction. The common-sense definition of a weapon of mass destruction is a nuclear, biological or chemical weapon. A pressure cooker filled with nails, horrific as that was, is just not of the same scale.

It's not like the prosecutors didn't have anything else on him. Three counts of premeditated murder and 264 counts of attempted murder would have been plenty, if you count all those he allegedly injured.

But the Obama Administration wants this to be a federal capital offense so it went with the weapons of mass destruction charge. Other Democrats, like Charles Schumer and Dianne Feinstein, also want Tsarnaev to be put to death if convicted.

Now really, what purpose would be served by that?

It would just be one more senseless death.

I'm against capital punishment in all cases because I believe it is immoral.

I was against the execution of Timothy McVeigh. I would have been against the execution of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who apparently was the sociopathic mastermind behind the Boston bombings and may have psychologically coerced his brother to go along.

Yes, Dzhohkar Tsarnaev must be held accountable for his alleged actions. He's nineteen: legally, an adult.

But would his execution make us any more safe? Not a bit.

Would it satisfy a blood lust? Perhaps, but vengeance should not be part of our penal system.

The cries for Dzhohkar's Tsarnaev's scalp are barbaric.

Let's stop the killing.

If you liked this story by Matthew Rothschild, the editor of The Progressive magazine, check out his story Tsarnaev Brothers and Propaganda of the Deed.

Follow Matthew Rothschild @mattrothschild on Twitter.

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By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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