I am for art that is put on and taken off like pants, which develops holes like socks, which is eaten like a piece of pie, or abandoned with great contempt like a piece of shit.
I am for art you can sit on. I am for art you can pick your nose with or stub your toes on.
I am for art from a pocket, from deep channels of the ear, from the edge of a knife, from the corners of the mouth, stuck in the eye or worn on the wrist.
I am for an art that tells you the time of day, or where such and such a street is.
I am for an art that helps old ladies across the street.
I am for the art of bending and kicking metal and breaking glass, and pulling at things to make them fall down.
I am for the art of punching and skinned knees and sat-on bananas. I am for the art of kids’ smells.
I am for the art of things lost or thrown away, coming home from school.
- Claes Oldenburg
Harold and Maude, 1971
I disagree, life in prison is still a life. Maybe relative to what most people know it doesn’t seem like one, but relative to death, it definitely is.
And even is you see them as equally terrible punishments, which I don’t, as I said in the post, “His life has much more potential to lessen this hatred than his death does.” He will have the opportunity to learn and change his beliefs. I think he has the right to that as a human being. And not just for him, that would give Americans and people throughout the world the opportunity to learn from him, what led him to do this and what can be done to change the environments and societies that these events happen within.
Firstly, I would like to express my sympathy towards everyone affected by this event. This includes those killed and injured, their families, the citizens of Boston and America as a whole, moderate Muslims in America and worldwide who are trying to break free of being seen as extremists, Muslims who have been led astray by extremist teachings, and the Tsarnaev brothers.
Now that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is to be prosecuted under federal law, he could receive the death penalty. Although this seems very likely, I am hoping he does not. I am against the death penalty altogether. No person or group have the right to decide whether someone else deserves to die. There is no qualification that should permit you to choose whether a human lives or dies. For these and the reasons below, I feel very strongly that killing Dzhokher Tsarnaev would be the wrong thing to do.
I do not think there are any purely terrible people, there are just people who end up doing terrible things because of the environment they live in. We cannot place all the responsibility for this event on these two people and especially not just on one now that the older brother is dead. People are incredibly susceptible to the environment they live in especially when they are young. Dzhokher Tsarnaev is nineteen years old. It is not hard to lead someone so young down the wrong path, especially since it was his older brother and members of his religion leading him. They are not responsible for the fact that they live in country where many citizens fear and hate the religion they are part of, or that some of the followers of their religion encourage violence and hate. If Dzhokher Tsarnaev is killed, he can never learn to know and think anything other than what he does now. His death will wrapped in hatred, the hatred that led him and his brother to do this, the hatred many Americans are now feeling towards them, and the magnitude of hatred between Muslims and Americans as a whole. His life has much more potential to lessen this hatred than his death does. I really believe that killing him will do nothing to stop terrorism. Death is not a deterrent for people ready to do something so extreme. What makes people capable of committing this kind of act is that they stop thinking of the people they are aiming to hurt as human beings. If we stop thinking of them as human beings that is the same thing, and we are only bringing about more separation between us. Although many people think that before the separation can end, these kinds of events need to stop happening; really it can only happen the other way around. Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev were victims of this separation. They were outsiders here in America, living in a place where their fellow citizens are often fearful of and angry towards Muslims. When you are distanced from others, it become very easy to forget that they are just as human as you are. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, Americans, Muslims, and the world have a long way to go in breaking down this distance, and killing Tsarnaev or anyone else will not lead us in the right direction.