Today, a teenager by the name of Lee Boyd Malvo was sentenced to life in prison without parole.
Malvo killed a man when he was seventeen and under the guide of John Allen Muhammad, who killed several others during an infamous several-week killing spree, here in America.
In response to this sentence, let me express what must be prefaced as my personal opinion:
This is incivil, inhuman, and outright torture. This child, who made a mistake of inordinate proportion, will never see the light of freedom again. His mistake warrants gargantuan reparation, but none has been granted. The family of the deceased will gain nothing, and this child will be destroyed. Better, for certain, to have sentenced him to death, than to let him rot, forever, in a cell.
What Malvo needs is help, and lots of it. Therapy, counselling, and psychiatric evaluations. I will tell you plainly that any of several million teenagers in America would, if under the right pressure or conditions, act in ways which would surprise and scare the living h_ll out of you. Malvo's acts were, of course, horrific and wrong, but all that has happened now is that we have denied him his humanity and stuck him in a hole. Of course, there are those who say, "He deserves it." Let me make this point clear: No one deserves it, and certainly not a child. At Malvo's then-age, 17, he was in as confused and discombobulated a stage as any teenager is. It's important that he be held accountable for his actions and made to pay for them in a manner which will teach him right from wrong, but now, instead, I and all other Americans will be paying for him to spend the rest of his life decaying. That kind of treatment is definitively torture. It is not only as bad as what he has done, it is worse. It does nothing to correct a wrong or let learning or healing come from it; it merely increases the amount of death and destruction in the world. I cannot call that justice.
Also, there are those who would say, "You'd feel differently if you were the family." To which I must reply: Probably, which is a good thing. The law should be about more than revenge, so it's good that I and the jury weren't family. Our reaction should be more unbiased and level-headed, able to see past the deed to the cause, which clearly is mental ailment of one degree or another.
So, to Lee Malvo, I say this - hopefully, there will come a time when an executive is given the power to pardon you under condition of intense mental treatment and close monitoring. Until then, I see no virtue in destroying one life simply because another was destroyed, so I hope the best for you. Empathy makes an offal ass out of one, but I cannot choose to be apathetic, so I'll be an ass, and wish for your wellbeing the same.
In conclusion, I must expound on the comment made that, "the family will gain nothing," which many would say is untrue. Many would say that the family will gain "peace of mind" or something like that. That is not true. In a fight, you do not gain true peace of mind by winning or beating the bully up. It inflates something egoistic and sick, it sets you to beleive that destroying one person is good enough to make up for the destruction of another. So, to the family of the deceased, let me say this: I would hope that you do not find peace of mind from this, for now you have multiplied the destruction of humanity two-fold. Your son cannot come back to you; I hope you understand how sick it is to find satisfaction in knowing that someone else's can now never come back to them.