Normal people cannot understand fanatical extremists who want to sacrifice their own lives to kill "infidels" -- and thus become "martyrs" rewarded in paradise. Average folks are baffled by suicide bombers and death-seeking mass-murderers.
Down in Texas, a military jury is deciding whether to execute Army psychiatrist Nidal Hasan, who screamed "God is great" and slaughtered 13 fellow soldiers in 2009, while wounding 30 more.
Dr. Hasan, who was paralyzed by return gunfire, has declared that he desires execution to gain holy status. "If I died by lethal injection, I would still be a martyr," he told Army psychologists. As his trial opened, he declared: "We mujahedeen [holy warriors] are trying to establish the perfect religion." He said he "switched sides" to serve divine righteousness.
Sane people know that this is lunacy. Only crackpots think that God wants murder.
If any killer ever deserved to die in retaliation, it's this monster. However, we hope the Army doesn't put him to death. Why should rational, intelligent leaders stoop to his brutal level?
The most fitting punishment for Maj. Hasan would be to sit in a cell for the rest of his life in a wheelchair -- not a hero "martyr" to other zealots but a pathetic victim of delusions.
Nearly all modern, advanced, compassionate democracies have halted the barbaric death penalty. Putting people to death occurs only in harsh places with punitive cultures. We're proud that West Virginia ended this ugly practice long ago, and we hope the rest of America follows suit.
This week, Army jurors are to decide Maj. Hasan's fate. If they're unanimous for death, execution is mandatory -- but if they're divided, he could draw life in a cell. We think that outcome would be best.
"Lethal injection would give this jihadist exactly what he wants," the Dallas Morning News said Monday. "Hasan, a Virginia-born Muslim, never intended to stand trial and fully expected he would achieve martyrdom in a burst of return gunfire that day .... He still believes he can die a hero to fellow jihadists overseas by taking the needle. Why reward him?"
We agree with the newspaper's conclusion:
"Consider a Nidal Hasan sentenced to a lonely, miserable life in an American prison cell, unable to perform the most basic tasks. As the months tick past, his fame diminishes among other jihadists. Instead of martyrdom, Hasan gets hour upon hour, year upon year, to contemplate his hate. Maybe one day he will find remorse and shed tears for the lives he ruined."