Thursday, May 04, 2006

Moussaoui is a nobody, and that is how he will die.

Zecharias Moussaoui is getting what he deserves.

In Old Testament times, the most humiliating form of death was to tie someone to the road outside the gates of the city. Although the people would walk on the condemned as they went in and out of the city, that would happen as they went about their daily business, and the point was that they were not even worth raising a hand to slay. After several days of being exposed to the elements with no food or water, along with being trampled, they would succumb, and their bodies would become food for vultures and dogs. In the Bible, Ahab and Jezebel are executed in this way.

We live in a more civilized time today, so the equivalent sentence is life spent in prison with no possibility of parole. Moussaoui may have declared victory yesterday (which I'm sure he would have said had he received a death sentence as well), but in the end he will die with nothing, old and alone.

Now, I have no sympathy with him, whether he did or did not know anything about 9/11 (we do know that he was undergoing flight training, probably for a separate mission.) He won't get to die a martyr.

Of course he may try to hang himself in his cell or something, but that will be exceedingly difficult. He is being sent to 'Super Max' in Colorado, where he will be monitored in person or by remote camera 24/7. He will be allowed out of his cell one hour per day, and will be continually monitored when he is.

And he will be just another prisoner. Rudolf Hess, as bizarre as his last five decades on the planet were, at least became a symbol. Neo-nazis would invoke his name and demand his release, or at least less restrictive conditions (why, I don't know-- he voluntarily flew to Scotland in a delusional and self-conceived mission to try and talk the British people into demanding that Churchill enter into peace talks with the Nazis), and as the officially nameless 'man in Spandau prison' (I wonder who it was that imagined that you could take a man's name away as punishment) who had free reign of a prison where he was the only prisoner, watched by guards who were forbidden to speak to him or even in front of him (so that for years he could speak to nobody at all, and then later was given the 'right' to speak to a doctor every few months and the conversation had to be limited to Hess's health), Hess was a figure who would at least engender sympathy, if one could feel sympathy for a high ranking Nazi (and in his defense, his strange adventure in Scotland happened before Hitler and Eichman hatched the 'final solution', so he had nothing to do with it, which ironically probably saved his life, just as being caught before 9/11 may have saved Moussaoui's life.)

Instead, as just another Federal inmate, Moussaoui won't enjoy Hess's notoriety. Instead, he will probably fade away, just as probably the most famous resident of Super Max today, Theodore Kaczynski, is fading away (there's a pair for you, call them 'mixed nuts?') Nobody thinks much about the Unabomber. People don't sniff their mail for odors anymore, scan the faces of other people standing in line to mail packages at the post office, or remember his ramblings about how technology was ruining society. No one remembers how at one time he held millions of people in fear, as a series of bombs ripped through seemingly random businesses and murdered several people. As time goes on, fewer and fewer people even remember his name. He will die as an obscure, faceless and nameless man. The death of a nobody. And that is how Moussaoui will die.

A glimpse into what Moussaoui wanted but didn't get was revealed when he was testifying and named the 'Greatest American.' He called Timothy McVeigh the 'greatest American.' Why? Because McVeigh got what Moussaoui wanted-- the death penalty. A way Moussaoui was hoping that he could die as a 'martyr' and thus be venerated. That's why he did everything he could to undercut his own attorneys' case and make the jury hate him.

Maybe they did hate him. Enough to not give him what it wasn't hard to see that he wanted.

1 comment:

Sar said...

Well you stole the comment I intended with your last line. I agree the greater punishment was to make him average and give him a lifetime of it - no martyrdom.

Happy Friday & Cinco de Mayo, Eli - stop by and play "Mi Amgio Blogger"!