"Many that live deserve death. And some die that deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then be not too eager to deal out death in the name of justice, fearing for your own safety. Even the wise cannot see all ends."
~Gandalf the Grey
in Fellowship of the Ring
by J.R.R Tolkein
It's been just over two years since the Boston Marathon was shattered and marred by bombs. Two years since an act of terrorism horrified -- and galvanized -- a city.
We saw evil that day. We saw good that day.
Two brothers were believed responsible. One died before being brought to trial. The other has been convicted on 30 counts of murder, attempted murder, terrorism.
The jury has decided that he should die, that he deserved the death penalty. Perhaps they are right.
I do not find this a cause for celebration. That a young man could go so far wrong, is horrifying, saddening. That he be killed for it may be just, but it won't bring back those he killed or restore the legs of those who lost them. It will not erase memories.
It won't even bring closure. Appeals, potentially years of them, will keep this case alive and before the victims. That it will bring more anguish is why the Richards Family asked that the death penalty be taken off the table.
I do not know what is right, what is best. I favor banning the death penalty, because the justice system isn't perfect and because I am pro-life. In this instance, the facts are clear and guilt has been admitted, albeit with the claim of undue influence from an older brother and the mitigating factor of a dysfunctional family. Still, we are all ultimately responsible for our own actions and choices.
Gandalf is right that even the wise can not see all ends and I am far from wise. I do not know what should happen here.
Whatever it is, though, I won't be celebrating. I will pray for the soul of this young man. I will pray even harder for the healing of his victims.
I will pray for us all as we seek peace and a world beyond terrorism.