Apology Scale Rating Verdict: Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s Pre-sentencing Statement

boston-marathon-newsnyork.com_

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the young terrorist who was formally sentenced to die for his role in the April 2013 Boston Marathon bombing,, finally said something in court before judgment was passed: he apologized, somewhere in the middle of an infomercial for Islam.

You can read the whole statement here. This is the apology section:

The Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, said that if you do not — if you are not merciful to Allah’s creation, Allah will not be merciful to you, so I’d like to now apologize to the victims, to the survivors.

Immediately after the bombing, which I am guilty of — if there’s any lingering doubt about that, let there be no more. I did do it along with my brother — I learned of some of the victims. I learned their names, their faces, their age. And throughout this trial more of those victims were given names, more of those victims had faces, and they had burdened souls.

Now, all those who got up on that witness stand and that podium related to us — to me — I was listening — the suffering that was and the hardship that still is, with strength and with patience and with dignity. Now, Allah says in the Quran that no soul is burdened with more than it can bear, and you told us just how unbearable it was, how horrendous it was, this thing I put you through. And I know that you kept that much. I know that there isn’t enough time in the day for you to have related to us everything. I also wish that far more people had a chance to get up there, but I took them from you.

Now, I am sorry for the lives that I’ve taken, for the suffering that I’ve caused you, for the damage that I’ve done, irreparable damage.

Now, I am a Muslim. My religion is Islam. The God I worship, besides whom there is no other God, is Allah. And I prayed for Allah to bestow his mercy upon the deceased, those affected in the bombing and their families. Allah says in the Quran that with every hardship there is relief. I pray for your relief, for your healing, for your well-being, for your strength.

Where does this apology rate on the Ethics Alarms Apology Scale? There are few important features to note: Continue reading

Tsarnaev’s Irrelevant Finger And The End Of Capital Punishment

dzhokhar-tsarnaev finger

I’ve stated here several times that I am in favor of the death penalty when it can be shown beyond any doubt whatsoever that an individual committed a horrific, cruel, unequivocally inexcusable murder or murders, preferably murders. One of the two Boston Marathon bombers, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the surviving one, clearly qualifies. Unfortunately, the public, the law and the legal profession are too confused to bring integrity to capital punishment, and I think, because of that, it can never be sufficiently fair and coherent to be ethical. Continue reading

Ethics Dunce (Again): Washington Post Columnist Richard Cohen

No danger of an innocent being unjustly executed here...

No danger of an innocent being unjustly executed here, Richard…Now what?

Most Ethics Dunces named on Ethics Alarms are being chided for one, possibly anomalous, instance of ethics cluelessness, but not Richard Cohen. He is a lifetime, career-long ethics dunce. It is noteworthy when he writes something that doesn’t reek of ethics confusion.

Today he is blogging about the death penalty. There are coherent, powerful arguments that have been and can be made against the death penalty, but Cohen doesn’t bother with any of them, which, as a reflex old-school liberal, he should at least know by heart. No, he attacks the decision of Eric Holder to approve his Massachusetts U.S. Attorney’s request to seek the death penalty for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the surviving Boston Marathon bomber as “political cowardice using one invalid argument after another, and by the way, curse you, Richard Cohen, for forcing me to defend Attorney General Holder.

Here are Cohen’s “arguments”:

  • The death penalty is a horrible crime on par with Tsarnaev and his brother intentionally killing and maiming innocent spectators of the Boston Marathon. Such an absurd statement carries a high burden of proof, which Cohen doesn’t even attempt to meet.
  • “[The death penalty] is the sine qua non of lack of thought, a medieval tick of the political right, a murder in the name of murder that does absolutely no good, unless it is to validate the killers’ belief in killing.” Ironically, Cohen’s post is the sine qua non of lack of thought. Since the death penalty has been around continuously since well before Medieval times, calling it a medieval tick is about as fair and accurate as calling religion, warfare, and property laws  medieval tics. Of course it does good: the fact that a vicious anti-social murderer is permanently removed from society and no longer uses up resources, space and oxygen that can be better employed in the furtherance of humanity is an absolute good, and that those contemplating similarly heinous acts are on notice that the same fate awaits them is also good. Continue reading

The Ethics Of Demanding Charity

Joanna Leigh

Joanna Leigh

I can not imagine much more heartbreaking plights than that of Boston Marathon bombing victim Joanna Leigh.

By April 14, 2013, Leigh, 39, had a newly minted doctorate in international development, and a promising career as a consultant. On April 15, she was at the finish line of the marathon, waiting for a friend to cross it, when the second of two bombs exploded ten feet from her. She was shielded from the deadly flying metal by other spectators, but still knocked unconscious. When she awoke, there was chaos around her, people screaming, maimed, covered with blood. She helped some injured find help, and then, dazed, walked home. For various reasons, she did not get herself checked out at a hospital until more than a week had passed.

Gradually, however, the symptoms of her injuries began appearing. Soon, it became obvious that the closed head injuries she suffered in the explosion have caused devastating long-term damage to her brain, and it is doubtful that her life will ever be normal again. Today, she says, she has to sleep most of the day. She cannot work or drive, and is easily disoriented, even getting lost on her own block. She has blurred vision, her hearing is impaired and she cannot avoid the constant ringing in her ears. Concentration has become difficult, and the simplest everyday tasks are overwhelming.   Continue reading

Magazine Cover Ethics: The Cute Terrorist and The Rolling Stone Boycott

tsarnaev-rolling-stone-feature

Is it just my flawed impression, or are Americans increasingly less supportive of free speech, free thought, and artistic expression? If so, that is a worrisome development for our democracy and its culture, and if so, yes, I believe the willingness of our government and its leaders to maneuver around the Bill of Rights in “ends justify the means” conduct has fueled the trend.

Now Rolling Stone is the target. The Sixties magazine icon had the nerve to place Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaevon its latest edition’s cover, looking like a male model, and, we hear, the families of the victims are outraged and their communities prefer their sensibilities over liberty. Jumping on the bandwagon, retailers have decided to make all publications afraid to challenge its readers by announcing that they won’t sell the issue in Boston, and there are hints of an advertiser boycott.

Unfair, un-American, dangerous and silly. Continue reading

Incompetent Elected Official Of The Month: New York State Senator Greg Ball (R)

Trust me, guys, you really don't want to vote for Greg Ball again...he's embarrassing your district.

Trust me, guys, you really don’t want to vote for Greg Ball again…he’s embarrassing your district.

Every now and then, a public official says something so brain-meltingly ridiculous that I wish I had a traditional blog and could write, “What an idiot!” and leave it at that.  This is one of those times.

Republican New York State Senator Greg Ball must represent the troglodyte section of New York—you know, that famous district heavily populated with prehistoric cave-dwellers who were discovered frozen in 1989, thawed out alive, and became politically active?—based on his unapologetic,nail-spitting, un-American tweet regarding the younger, surviving terrorist brother who engineered the Boston Marathon bombing:

Ball

What an idiot.

No, no, I can’t say that.

This is an unethical tweet. It’s an irresponsible tweet. Supporting torture “to save more lives” explicitly rejects the principles of the Declaration of Independence as well as the Constitutional requirements of Due Process and the Bill of Rights prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment and compelled testimony against self-interest. The “anything to save more lives” illogic, though recently adopted, to his shame and disgrace, by the presumably less idiotic President Obama in his quest for more gun regulations, is, of course, the open door to martial law and the permanent trade of liberty for security. I wrote about this at some length in the wake of the Abu Ghraib fiasco; reading “The Ethics of American Torture” again now, I would hold the same today, as would, I hope, most of you. (Don’t bother to read this, Senator Ball; it’s more than 140 characters, and you wouldn’t understand it anyway.) I wrote in part, Continue reading

The GOP Out-Newtowns The Democrats…Impressive! Also, BLECHHH!

"Anything you can do I can do better...!" An appropriate accompaniment, and, ironically enough, from "Annie Get Your Gun"!

“Anything you can do I can do better…!” An appropriate accompaniment, and, ironically enough, from “Annie Get Your Gun”!

Further proving my conviction that there is no ethical difference between the two political parties at all (they are both habitually dishonest, corrupt, incompetent, hypocritical and Machiavellian), the Republicans opposing immigration reform are in the process of proving they can play the Newtown game too, only more shamelessly. This is why neither party can ever maintain the moral high ground in any issue, ever. While one party is using unethical arguments and tactics, it is just a matter of time before the other party, despite all its protests when it is the target of  them, will employ exactly the same measures—and argue that it’s not, of course.

Blechhh.

The Newtown game, if you didn’t get the reference, is when apolitical  party cynically seizes on a human tragedy and draws a specious and tendentious connection between it and a desired policy initiative. Gun control was never about stopping elementary school massacres, since what occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary was unprecedented, but suddenly the old, old debates about semi-automatic weapons and background checks were cynically recast as test of whether lawmakers cared about kids or not. Which is more important, an archaic Bill of Rights provision about militias, or saving toddlers from being mowed down in cold blood? Why, if only one child is saved, isn’t it worth limiting our right to arm ourselves? Have you no heart? Gun supporters, Republicans, conservatives and fair minded citizens  capable of thought were properly offended at these tactics, while, naturally, the integrity-free mainstream media adopted the same “save the children” mantra.

None of this stopped the Republicans who continue to oppose unavoidable measures necessary to clean up the mess left by decades of bi-partisan negligence regarding illegal immigration from using the latest high-profile tragedy—the Boston Marathon bombing—as a tool to derail the  push for immigration reform.  Continue reading