Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the surviving perpetrator of the deadly Boston Marathon bombing, has been sentenced to death, which is about as predictable as a very predictable thing can be. The deliberate, calculated nature of the crime is unquestionable--the pressure cooker bombs were placed, fashioned, and detonated, in such a way that they would kill or maim the most people and cause the most damage possible. The act was brutal and thoroughly intended to cause shock and horror. Although Tsarnaev is young and was very possibly led about by his brother, the fact remains that having any sense of right and wrong, or shred of humanity--this act should have been unthinkable, but he participated in it anyway.
I'm not a fan of the death penalty. I don't think it's much of a deterrent at all, and our appeals system can be almost farcical. I can't say very much about the argument though, that the reaction of ISIS should enter into how we carry out our version of justice in this country. He took innocent lives and damaged whole bodies--and not to put too fine a point on it--he accomplished nothing. He did not make this country quaver in terror. He did not prove any political point. He said nothing that would make anyone's eyelash dampen on his behalf or for the sake of his view. He is being treated, by our criminal justice system, exactly as a criminal is treated.
What he did was throw his life away, and take others with it. He's an example, not of hardcore jihad, but of feckless violence to no useful end. Anything he might have done with himself would have been better--start a petition, a blog, anything to articulate whatever dissatisfaction he had in a way that was sympathetic and could be understood. But in a sane world, his violence overshadows any meaning. And without meaning, what is there?
It leaves me uncertain whether the death penalty takes away anything he hadn't already given up.