News just broke that a jury took less than two hours to recommend the death penalty for Maj. Nidal Hasan, convicted of killing 13 people and wounding 32 others at Fort Hood, Texas, on Nov. 5, 2009. Automatic appeals will delay carrying out the sentence for years, and there are five men ahead of him on the military’s death row, but Hasan could become the first member of the military executed since 1961.
I’m having trouble summoning any pangs of doubt about this one. He admitted he did it and showed zero remorse. He believes his actions will bring a reward from God as a martyr in paradise. I’m not a religious person, by the standards of most religious people, but I think zealots of any stripe who kill using the rationale that God will be pleased reveal an extraordinary lack of faith. Do they conceive God as powerless to effect justice without their participation? Is this the same almighty deity that willed the universe into existence? That knows the number of hairs on your head and the thoughts inside it? Of course, the same argument can be made for not executing criminals, that “Vengeance is mine, says the Lord. I will repay.”
In this case, I say give Hasan what he wants. Trust God to render heaven or hell, if you will. But as I tried to convey in my previous post, I’m not convinced that decades deprived of liberty in prison to be potentially tortured by your own thoughts (or other inmates) should be considered more humane or even lesser punishment than lethal injection.