Friday, May 05, 2006

Bits and Pieces

For the most part, I've missed out on the last couple of games, which meant I didn't get to see Jaret Wright hold his own against the Devil Rays Wednesday night, or Randy Johnson fail to do so last night, yet still escape with a win due to some immense run support.

The only moment of the last two games I actually caught, live, was Alex Rodriguez stepping in to the batter's box in the 10th inning of Wednesday's game. He still looked so uptight that I was worried he might explode, but he was able to loosen up enough to loop a single, enough to drive in the go-ahead run.

While I'm glad for him, I'm worried about Randy. Basically, Johnson is the pitching staff. Without Johnson in good order, things will get ugly in Yankeeland, quick.


Elsewhere, I'll admit that I'm no opponent of the death penalty, but I applaud the Moussaoui jury for showing a sophistication no one credits American juries with. The story was that the jury, simple minded and impressionable, would abandon reason when presented with emotional testimony of 9/11 phone calls and family witnesses. Emotion, racism and xenophobia would inexorably cause them to have the would-be terrorist put to death.

But the Federal jury convened to determine if Moussaoui would live or die saw through the emotions and came to the conclusion that Moussaoui was only a minor player in the September 11 attacks. In contrast to the stereotype of the bloodthirsty Americans, jurors questioned "whether the death penalty was the appropriate punishment for lying."


In the United States, we treat juries like children--we're awfully concerned that they might hear or see things which we believe will cloud their impressionable judgment. The problem is, jurors are adults, and they tend to want to think for themselves. Sometimes, the self-enclosed, artificial world of information created for them at trial is woefully incomplete, and they reach outside of that world to decide the case. That, by the way, is bad. Sometimes, as in the Moussaoui case, they use their judgment to cut through tangles of emotion and politics that would daunt anybody.

Because of the jury's good judgment, Moussaoui is denied his wish, his fanatasy, of being a martyr for the anti-American cause. He doesn't get to die, and thus perhaps inspire others to terrorism and violence. Instead, he gets to rot. That's never inspirational.


By the way, the idea that the U.S. should transfer Moussaoui to France, to serve his life sentence there is cracked. It's straight out of the Bad Idea Jeans commercial.

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