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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Economics of Taking A Terrorist Alive

     If the Boston terrorist, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, had robbed a bank and shot a teller instead of setting off a bomb at the Boston Marathon, he probably would, under the same capture circumstances, been shot dead by SWAT officers. Police officers in America shoot and kill at least two people a day. While about a third of these shootings involve subjects who are unarmed, 95 percent of these police involved shootings are ruled justified. That's because the officers had reason to believe the subject had a knife or a gun. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, at the time of his capture, was known to be in possession of a gun and several bombs. He had earlier engaged in a gun battle with the police. He was also complicit in the murder of a police officer. To take the Boston Marathon terrorist alive, officers assumed risks they normally would not take against an armed fugitive.

     Police officers risked their lives to capture this 19-year-old killer alive because he may possess valuable terrorist related information. As it turned out, before FBI agents had a chance to complete their interrogation, a federal magistrate judge came into the hospital room and read Tsarnaev his Miranda rights. After that, the terrorist clammed up. He now has a lawyer which means there is little chance the FBI will be questioning him further. When all is said and done, the arresting officers probably risked their lives for nothing.

     The taking of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev alive will, over the years, cost American taxpayers millions of dollars. His medical expenses will be staggering. He will also have to be physically rehabilitated. Moreover, there will be huge legal bills, and if he's convicted, the cost of housing and feeding him for the rest of his life.

     If Tsarnaev is eventually executed, that will cost even more money than housing him until he dies a natural death in prison. Is this terrorist worth all this trouble and money? In my opinion, no. And besides costing more than he's worth, he'll be worshiped as a martyr by terrorists around the world. The mass-murdering bomber, for a very long time, will be one big national pain in the butt. This is also true of his publicity-seeking, American-hating mother. 

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