“I Hope He’s In Hell”

I’ve been reading and hearing variants of the words in this headline since Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev* was killed in a gun battle with police.

Things Christians Shouldn’t Say: “I hope he’s in Hell.”

Since the capture of his brother, Dzhokhar, I’ve also seen various sadistic fantasies about how he should be treated, each more lurid than the last, all of them steeped in blood and violence.

I understand the impulse behind that: I really do. It’s hard to express outrage commensurate with the crimes these two committed, and even harder to comprehend the impulse behind them. The reasonable mind rejects the idea that human beings can be this callous and evil, and since reason seems to have no place in the equation, the mind moves downward into sadism to try to grasp their wickedness and respond in kind.

And that’s exactly the wrong way to respond. The mind needs to move upward to God.

Violence certainly wasn’t the first response of those in Boston: the people who rushed to the aid of others, and the city united in tragedy and willing to assert their pride and fight back. I don’t doubt that many Bostonians still would like “just five minutes with Dzhokhar,” but many seemed more likely to do what humans usually do in response to tragedy, disaster, and violence: become closer to their neighbors, hug their kids tightly, and do good.

The normal human response to the vile acts of these people is to seek revenge and want blood. That’s certainly my first impulse, and it was the impulse that drove the ancient world up until a Man who was also God came along and said, No: you have to do better. Jesus didn’t tell us not to have enemies. He didn’t even tell us not to fight. (Matt 5:39 must be considered alongside Luke 22:36.) He did, however, tell us to love our enemies and pray for them, because he wanted our enemies to be saved as well.

That’s the horrible-wonderful part of this Christianity thing. The proper, Christian response to something like the bombings is the best possible response: help those in need, pray for both victims and the perpetrators, and then just place it all in the hands of God. Because we don’t know what He has planned.

Hell for Tamerlan?

I only turn on TV news if something really big is breaking. At 8 on Friday Fox was on, and Bill O’ Reilly came on and did what the Catholic Church doesn’t actually do: he declared that someone is in Hell. Here was my initial reaction:

Tamerlan may in fact be in Hell.

Oddly enough, I hope he’s not.

Yeah, we’re pretty perverse, us Christians.

I’d rather think that, after his brother dragged his body under the wheel of his getaway car, and as he breathed his last, he was visited by Christ, repented, and found salvation.

It’s a horrible thought, isn’t it?

Justice–God’s justice, more than man’s–would seem to demand eternal punishment. Hell is, in fact, wholly just for those who violate laws of God and man. Nothing would be more just, then, for Tamerlan to spend eternity to swimming in the lake of fire.

But we have to ask, again: is that what Jesus wanted? After all, he did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, and he made no real distinction about the nature, gravity, or wickedness of the sins.

Surely the Christian-hunter Saul should have been knocked from his horse and straight into Sheol for his sins, yet he became one of the greatest of all Christians. Weren’t there thousands of people better suited for the job of Apostle to the Gentiles? And wasn’t Jesus trying to tell us–and the early Church–something very important by selecting a man with blood on his hands to write half of his New Testament? Rather than sending him to Hell, He caught him up to the Third Heaven.

In short, don’t be so hasty in consigning others to damnation. The Church definitively pronounces on those who it thinks is in Heaven, but makes no such pronouncements of those it believes to be in Hell.

And last I checked, it hadn’t delegated that power to Bill O’Reilly.

As for the other half of this headline: people should never use the word “hope” in this way. Hope is one of the theological virtues: the things which allow us to know God and conform to his will. It is a powerful virtue, and should never be used so callously as to wish the opposite of what God would want.

God may in fact will the damnation of of Tamerlan as an act of his divine justice, but he would never want any of his children to “hope” for it. We hope in salvation. That hope should extend to our enemies, with the desire that God’s will be done, because we cannot see all ends. Hell is a place of no hope, no love, no faith. Given that our mandate as Christian is to live with and preach those virtues, we certainly shouldn’t be so quick to abuse them for the purpose of vengeance.

Eternal justice is God’s alone. He can exercise it quite well without your help.

Death for Dzhokhar?

And now it’s time to really confuse my readers, some of whom objected to my suggestion of mercy for abortion butcher and serial killer Kermit Gosnell. Given that the last few popes have urged that the death penalty no longer be applied, this seems wholly reasonable, since both justice and public safety can be maintained by keeping Gosnell in prison for life.

I’m not sure the same can be said in the case of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. This would seem perverse, since Gosnell killed many more people than Tsarnaev, but the key here is the issue of public safety.

If Dzhokhar is convicted and imprisoned for life, two possible scenarios need to be considered. Will a Muslim radical who killed Americans on American soil in an act of jihad become a folk hero to Muslim radicals around the world? Israel already faces issues with terrorists kidnapping their citizens and soldiers and demanding the release of radical prisoners. In addition, there’s a danger of a long prison sentence allowing Dzhokhar to continue to spread his message and radicalize others. He might have 60, 70 years left to him.

And can you imagine him ever being released?

If you can’t, then you really need to acquaint yourselves with the names Bill Ayers, Kathy Boudin, and Bernardine Dohrn, and then imagine 30 years from now, a “rehabilitated” Dzhokhar Tsarnaev getting a cushy teaching post at Columbia.

Weighed against this, you have the obvious witness to mercy, the denial of a martyr’s death, and the possibility that Dzhokhar will repent and embrace Christ.

Support for the death penalty is not akin to support for abortion. Abortion, as the taking of an innocent life, is always gravely evil. The key word there is not “life” but “innocent.” In the case of the death penalty, we are not talking about taking an innocent life, but one that is guilty of crimes against God and man.  Support for it is a matter of prudential judgment. Bernardin’s “seamless garment” argument is theological nonsense.

After considering the Gosnell case, I think mercy is warranted because both punishment of the wicked and protection of society are honored by life in prison, which, given his age, will not be long. I also believe that responding to the poster boy for the Culture of Death and the abortion industry with a plea for mercy is a powerful and needed witness for a Culture of Life.

In the case of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, we need to consider other issues, however.

Is it possible he will ever get out? Given his age and our short memories, yes, it’s possible.

Is it possible he will be a danger to the public if he is imprisoned for life? Given his motives (radical religious fundamentalism acting in a global war against American citizens and interests), it seems quite obvious that he could be.

It’s too early to tell whether the death penalty will be pursued, and whether Catholics should support it if it is pursued. It’s still an open question for me, but I think as the story and case comes to light, Catholics should be able to learn what they can and make a prudential judgment about the support for, or rejection of, the application of the death penalty.

We do well to reject the death penalty whenever we can. Doing so promotes a wider culture of life and exercises the most powerful witness to God: mercy.

But there may be times when its application is in the good of society, if only to protect society in a way life in prison cannot. The Boston bombings may be one of those cases.

UPDATE: Just to put this all in context for those reaching all the way back to Trent for their thoughts on the death penalty, here is where matters stand:

CCC 2267 Assuming that the guilty party’s identity and responsibility have been fully determined, the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor.

If, however, non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people’s safety from the aggressor, authority will limit itself to such means, as these are more in keeping with the concrete conditions of the common good and more in conformity to the dignity of the human person.

Today, in fact, as a consequence of the possibilities which the state has for effectively preventing crime, by rendering one who has committed an offense incapable of doing harm – without definitely taking away from him the possibility of redeeming himself – the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity “are very rare, if not practically nonexistent.”

 

____________

*Here’s a child-rearing tip the Tsarnaev’s should have considered: naming your son after one of history’s most notorious mass-murderers probably isn’t such a hot idea. He was pretty much the Muslim Hitler.

About Thomas L. McDonald

Thomas L. McDonald writes about technology, theology, history, games, and shiny things. Details of his rather uneventful life as a professional writer and magazine editor can be found in the About tab.

  • Kim Whelan

    Tom, I was really agreeing with your post here and loved your comment about using hope and hell.

    But you lost me when you brought up the Death Penalty for the younger brother. I can see your point about the possibility of getting out and staying radicalized in prison.. and then causing more harm when out. But wouldn’t executing him create a “Martyr”? I’m not completely opposed to the death penalty, but it is difficult for me to see the death penalty as moral in any case. Your logic doesn’t make sense to me.

    With that said – I will forever remember that hope is a theological virtue and should be treated as such.

    Great post!

  • http://www.godandthemachine.com Thomas L. McDonald

    I did mention those arguments when I wrote: “Weighed against this, you have the obvious witness to mercy, the denial of a martyr’s death, and the possibility that Dzhokhar will repent and embrace Christ.”

    I’m not supporting the death penalty in this case yet, because all of the facts are not in. I’m saying that, given the facts we know, it may meet the one legitimate exception that allows one to support application of the death penalty: public safety.

    If public safety cannot be ensured by life imprisonment, then Catholics could support execution in that case. The reason the popes have rejected the death penalty in recent decades is because they argue that modern prisons can ensure public safety. I’m not certain that’s the case here, for the reasons I laid out.

    But, just in case I wasn’t clear: no, I’m not saying “Death for Dzhakhar!” I’m saying, “Catholics can consider it for sound reasons.”

  • Bob Miller

    I look at the death penalty like this, anything less than death for premeditated murder, cheapens life. But you are right about Gods grace, He wants us all to come to Him! I praise Him that I will not get what I deserve!

  • Linda Ill

    I urge you to read the Catechism of the Council of Trent, which has never been abrogated. The death penalty is not solely a means of “public safety”. According to Trent, the death penalty is necessary as a means of justice. Given the horrific nature of pedophelia, the Council of Trent demanded state execution for priest/pedophiles (yes, there were homosexual priests back then, too!). Remember the exchange between Jesus and Pilate: “Why do You not answer me? Do You not know that I have the power to release You and the power to crucify You? “You would have no power over Me if it were not given you from above”. Kermit Gosnell, in the name of justice, deserves the death penalty. The 19 year old terrorist, in the name of justice, deserves the death penalty. But I still pray for their salvation.

  • Kim Whelan

    Thank you for clearing that up, I mistakenly thought you had made your decision.

  • http://aftertheecstasythelaundry.wordpress.com Cynthia Schrage

    Isn’t it a bit premature to ascribe any motive to him?

  • http://www.godandthemachine.com Thomas L. McDonald

    Given what we know at this point–Tamerlan’s drift into religious radicalism and his foreign travels, the statement of the carjacking victim that he was told he was spared because he “was not American,” and the use of IEDs common to jihadists–I’d say we’re on pretty safe ground identifying this is domestic Islamic terrorism. Forty-four years after the assassination of Bobby Kennedy by a Palestinian radical, and given our long and ongoing violent interactions with Islam, motive isn’t really much of a mystery any more, is it?

  • Theodore Seeber

    When judging the acts of others, I try to see God’s point of view rather than man’s. From God’s point of view, the younger brother is currently in Hell. How can he not be? He has had the ultimate failure from his own values; he foolishly followed the older brother’s slide into radicalism that led to the older brother’s death at his own hands.

    It would be far more cruel to show Dzhokhar pity instead of putting him out of his misery with a painless death; yet Massachusetts does NOT currently have the death penalty and it appears he will be tried under local laws for murder rather than federal laws for terrorism.

    I only hope they’re smart enough to give him *consecutive* life sentences- one for every person he killed or injured. Solitary confinement on webcam should be the real punishment- as a warning to others.

  • AnneG

    Thank you for a clear discussion of this very difficult subject. Reading some of the comments, though, people have forgotten that Omar Adul-Rahman, the Blind Sheik, continued directing terror attacks from prison. He was the director of the first World Trade Center bombing and continues trying to kill people. That is not justice to the present and future victims.
    Also, someone like Kermit Gosnell may need to face his own mortality by facing the death penalty in order to be able to repent.
    O’Reilly’s comment was ridiculous. I’m glad he has no authority over who does go to hell.

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  • http://www.godandthemachine.com Thomas L. McDonald

    I just read that he’ll be tried in federal court, which I believe leaves the death penalty as an option.

  • Believin’ in Justice

    Indeed. I just read that he attempted suicide but failed … so your theory of THIS world being hell for him seems apropos.

  • http://www.bede.org Stefanie

    I am praying for the perps and the victims and all of their families. I am against the death penalty. Yet many of our saints received the death penalty and they considered it an honor and were eager to be united to Jesus. Perhaps all religious ‘heroes’ welcome death with that p.o.v. I’m not sure that being in prison for life will bring one to repentance. One doesn’t need ‘more time’ to learn about God and make a decision to follow Jesus. Time is a human thing. Eternity is a God thing. Imprisonment does remove one from harming others or inspiring others.
    The Church teaches that those who commit suicide are not automatically sent to hell because of the spiritual darkness they were experiencing at the time of the suicide. So these two young men are also in the midst of spiritual darkness. May God be merciful to both in the way that only He can show mercy.
    In that eternal moment that both the deceased and their killer experience, are the deceased now pleading for God to be merciful to the one who killed them?

  • bill bannon

    Linda,
    I like Tom’s piece but agree with you and further think the present catechism was written by a sheltered cleric at the CDF with peaceful Euro prisons in mind. Mexico, the second largest Catholic population on earth, is a basket case precisely partly due to no death penalty. Their ombudsman for human rights said that inmates control 60% of their prisons with areas of prisons where guards will not go which are ruled rather by the Zetas crime faction. Sunday’s NY Times had a piece on it. Wherever the death penalty is actually abolished, a brutal lifer can murder within prison and fear nothing more than solitary temporarily. The Zetas use the prisons as extortion centers…threatening inmate lives if they do not have relatives send money for them the Zetas. Since there is no death penalty, they fear nothing. The catechism seems oblivious to actually Catholic countries that are among the highest murder rate countries in the world…El Salvador and Honduras being the worst in the world and have no death penalty for normal murder.

  • bill bannon

    St. Pius V gave the death penalty to a number of people both as General Inquisitor and as Pope….for heresy.
    That “coercion of spirit” is considered an intrinsic evil now by section 80 of Splendor of the Truth. We need a therapist to sort that one out.

  • Ben

    Just to in case there is any confusion, Sirhan Sirhan was a Palestinian Christian whose motive in assassinating RFK appears to have been Kennedy’s support for Israel in the 1967 war (he has also claimed that he was drunk at the time). Very different background to the Tsarnaev brothers, just like their background is most likely quite different to the various American’s who have committed acts of mass murder such as those responsible for Newtown or Virginia Tech.

  • Guest

    A warped love of God (as Allah) and a warped view of what God wants (radical Islam) is still love of God and a desire to do His will. I’d say this terrorist has a much better chance of repentance and avoiding hell once he sees the Reality and Truth of Jesus Christ at his particular judgment than those too proud to bend their necks and wills to God in this life.

  • Bill bannon

    John 16:2 has Christ mentionimg such people without praise: ” They shall put you out of the synagogues; but the hour is coming that every one who kills you will think to render service to God..” What is your source for post Christ humans getting a second chance after death to repent while they are deceased?

  • Guest

    As Catholics we believe in the particular judgment. What purpose could there be to that if we have no chance for a final repentence before Christ? We don’t know what actually happens spiritually around the event we call (physical) death so to use the words “repent while they are deceased” may be way off the mark. There could well be a final enlightenment or a lifting of the ‘veil’ that occurs in which a soul sees reality and may have the opportunity to make a final choice to accept or reject Christ. Since God exists outside of time and space it doesn’t do to get too hung up on a temporal sequence of events.

    Your question also presumes that any person immersed in the muslim faith is capable of learning sufficiently about Christ in his/her earthly life to actually accept or reject Him.

  • bill bannon

    Your chance for final repentance is prior to death not after otherwise there is no need for watchfulness which Christ urged here in the ten virgin parable in Matt.25….
    ” But the wise ones replied, ‘No, for there may not be enough for us and you. Go instead to the merchants and buy some for yourselves.’
    10
    While they went off to buy it, the bridegroom came and those who were ready went into the wedding feast with him. Then the door was locked.
    11
    Afterwards the other virgins came and said, ‘Lord, Lord, open the door for us!’
    12
    But he said in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, I do not know you.’
    13
    Therefore, stay awake,* for you know neither the day nor the hour.”
    ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
    So there is no opening the door for a person who does not have caritas (the oil) at death. If you are worried about a relative, don’t…..the OT says ” It is easy in an instant for the Lord to make a poor man rich”. The soul and the physical brain are not deceased at the moment of the last exhale but moments later…one reason we can judge no one.
    Secondly, your seeing the sincere erroneous conscience in a religious murderer is not totally off the mark but it is if it makes you relax and presume they are saved…especially since these two men were not killing pivotal enemies vis a vis Islam….like a US Special Ops General. They were killing or maiming children, dance instructors, students and in the case of the Chinese girl….probably the main support of her parents and grandparents in one child China. They saw the complexion of the crowd. They then had a carnal erroneous conscience not a sincere erroneous conscience like Saint Pius V burning heretics….Pius didn’t burn the children of any heretic. I would hold that the older Chechen brother is to be feared… in hell but I cannot know that for sure since God could have saved
    him in his last instants as his brother drove over him. I would hold that Mexican gang members who are shot dead in the process of trying to kill police are to be feared in hell but I cannot know that for sure. We cannot judge but we can fear reasonably that the millions of criminals who died throughout history as they were trying to kill law enforecement inter alia…could very well be in hell.
    The New Testament echoes my attitude here: I Peter 4:18 NAB bible…” 18
    “And if the righteous one is barely saved,
    where will the godless and the sinner appear?”

  • Guest

    “The soul and the physical brain are not deceased at the moment of the last exhale but moments later”

    Firstly, the soul is never deceased.
    Secondly, I’m afraid I don’t have your certainty about what happens spiritually around the event we call physical death – or if we can even speak of it in temporal terms with any truth in reality. Praying for the souls of the dead, and offering the sacrifice of the Eucharist is an admission that we believe the next life does not operate on the same temporal order as this one.

    I place my faith in Jesus Christ that He will give me, and every other soul, every grace and mercy that is needed for eternal salvation. Ultimately we can reject that grace and reject Christ. I don’t think anyone is ever surprised if hell is their final destination, e.g., it is a choice we make with full knowledge. I’m not sure we all get that fullness of knowledge before the temporal event we call our physical death, nor do I think that is inconsistent with Church teaching about judgment upon death nor Jesus’ parable (which is not meant to be taken literally). I don’t see how anything less could ever be called merciful or just.

  • bill bannon

    Christ said to keep watch, you know neither the day nor the hour but in your paradigm, Christ is being alarmist because there’s a second chance after death. And I know the soul doesn’t die but it leaves part of its function at death…enlivening the body….til the resurrection.

  • Guest

    I once had a man tell me that even one unrepented mortal sin, even if a person was an otherwise good Catholic, would send someone to hell “beyond a doubt”. I asked him for an example and he said “a guy who missed church on Sunday to watch a ball game and then died instantly in an accident before repenting it.”

    Well, I said, assuming it really was a mortal sin that certainly fits into a literal fundamentalist interpretation of what the Church teaches about dying in mortal sin (and incidentally the words of Christ you’ve been posting), However, that would pretty much fly in the face of everything else we know about Jesus as Love and Mercy itself.

    But given your paradigm, that guy is in serious danger of spending eternity in hell for missing Mass once. I don’t think so…

  • http://realclearpolitics.com A Forgiven Sinner

    As a Christian who respects life, I am absolutely for the death penalty. There are awful crimes which deserve death, not as vengeful punishment to be cheered in the public square, but as a way to honor and value the life/lives that were taken. A Christian who commits such a crime should accept the death penalty as his deserving sentence, and I don’t think it is unbiblical or unloving to support that type of penalty for a non-Christian who does the same.

  • Guest

    I also think that you are missing the point of Jesus message in the scripture you quote. It’s not really about death catching us unaware with an unrepented mortal sin on our soul. Since Jesus always knows our heart, he would know whether we would repent and desire forgiveness if we got the time to do so – which is why I think no one who would repent is ever denied that chance.

    He is warning us in the scriptures against assuming that we can live a life of sin (fall asleep) and still be able to repent (awake ) before we die. Not because we might not have the time to repent but because if we are not watching and awake we may reach our time of death before realizing that our sin has so hardened us we no longer have the capacity to repent.

  • bill bannon

    Actually Ezekiel under inspiration says a final mortal sin does cancel a good life…chapter 33:12-13…”As for you, son of man, say to your people: The justice of the just will not save them on the day they sin; the wickedness of the wicked will not bring about their downfall on the day they turn from their wickedness. No, the just cannot save their lives on the day they sin.
    13 Even though I say to the just that they shall surely live, if they, relying on their justice, do wrong, none of their just deeds shall be remembered; because of the wrong they have done, they shall die.”
    Guest…..you simply have a religion that is very independent of the actual scriptures which to you are all fundy experiences so you seem to know none by heart….though I think it totally improbable that an elderly person would skip Mass unless in light of epikeia. But I could imagine an elderly person cursing God for the manner of death of their spouse compounded by
    sudden poverty and their own illness. Trent’s Council saw the near death period of all humans as the prime moment for demonic temptations….ergo the need for extreme unction. Adieu…the last word is yours if need be.

  • bill bannon

    You are in accord with Romans 13:4 where the sword “machaira” in Greek is used by the state for God’s wrath not ours. Scholars of an anti death penalty bent will tell you the “machaira” is a ceremonial sword. They err. Here it is being used by Herod in the death of James: Acts12:1-2…
    “1About that time King Herod laid hands upon some members of the church to harm them.
    2 He had James, the brother of John, killed by the sword (machaira).”.
    Why are so many scholars anti death penalty? Read Plato’s Republic, Bk.III…..too much culture….not enough gymnastics. Let’s get out on those still rings today.

  • Bob

    Tsarnaev doesn’t need to be executed in order to keep him from radicalizing others in prison. Just stick him in a “supermax” prison, where the inmates never get to see or talk to anyone except their jailers for the rest of their lives. Didn’t we put the “20th hijacker” in one of those? Heard from him lately?

  • Guest

    Just a suggestion – try listening to about 15 or 20 of Fr. Robert Barron’s sermons found here:
    http://www.wordonfire.org/WOF-Radio/Sermons.aspx

    You will get a good idea of the depth of what scripture is meant to convey. Hardly anything in scripture is meant to be limited to a single narrow interpretation, and certainly never to be interpreted separate from the whole of revealed Truth, most especially the Love and Mercy of Jesus Christ – how could it be otherwise if it is to be relevant across time and cultures.

    This is pertinent to your literal reading of Romans 13 below. If taken literally, verses 1-7 would instruct us that we should accept the Obama administration’s God given authority to impose the HHS mandate on Catholics.

  • M E Wood

    Maybe the doors of Hell are locked from the inside. We know God sees our motives and knows us better than we know ourselves. We must put our hope in Him. Judgement will not be like a law court but like a magistrate distributing just verdicts on our actions, taking in to consideration what we really are not what we pretend to ourselves to be. We must expect it anytime. so have literally no time to judge others. We must get busy :-)

  • Hugh Vincelette

    I read a quote recently by Oliver Boullough, based in London & writing for the New York Times. It pretty much sums up the realities of religion as opposed to the principles taught. They are not one and the same. He said “Political Christianity has been a 2000 year quest to circumvent the divine instruction to love your neighbor as yourself.”

  • bill bannon

    Was Oliver familiar with Romans 13:4….concerning the state and executions:
    ” But if you do evil, be afraid, for it does not bear the sword without purpose; it is the servant of God to inflict wrath on the evildoer.”
    Now if Oliver Boullough thinks Christ is only softness, how does he explain God ( thus Christ also) killing about 1 million people through the Romans as His tool… not in the old testament but in 70 AD. in Jerusalem ( Tacitus gives 600,000/ Josephus gives 1.1 million)… in lne with Christ fortelling it and giving its reason as His generation of Jews not knowing the time of their visitation ( Lk.19:44) and because they had “filled up” the sins of their ancestors ( Mt.23:32…principle of completed sin revealed first in Gen.15:16).
    Such delegation of mass killing stops then but individual execution continues. I saw three cases on tv of men in three different locales who each raped and strangled to death little girls of about five years old who each trusted them warmly right before the men did such things. Only death is commensurate as a punishment for that…not life sentences watching tv and possibly doing decades of solitary sexual sins in
    prison which only increases their punishment of hell if repentance is never forthcomng.

  • H. Vincelette

    A dictata vero quod scientia : Fratres et Sororis carissimi: Your comments defame & slander an entire segment of humanity. Homosexuals are rarely pedophiles. The vast majority of child molesters & sexual predators are heterosexual (80-90%). These facts are gleaned from the RCMP, the FBI, Interpol, & Scotland Yard (UK).

  • H. Vincelette

    I can fully appreciate your point of view. However, there have been too many cases of wrongful imprisonment for crimes such as homicide, when the individual was innocent With the scientific ability in recent decades, to compare DNA samples to any possibly obtained from a crime scene has had a tremendous impact on judicial systems throughout the (civilized) world But where there is no doubt, I disagree with capital punishment I don’t agree with giving the state the right to stoop to the level of killers. Are there criminals who deserve the death penalty? Of course. There always will be. As a man of science, I confess to being interested in determining the aetiology of some types of criminal minds, like those that lead to violence & bloodshed..

  • Gerry

    So, when did you become a believer in universalism?

  • kelso

    Why did the Blessed Mother show three children a vision of hell and souls falling into the abyss like snowflakes. Jesus told us whom to fear and for a good reason: God does send people to hell. We don’t judge them; who are we; we leave the dead to God. But, let’s be real. This killer was a Moslem. He was never a Christian. No one baptized him, that we know of. Who cares if someone says he hopes Tsarnaev is in hell? I agree with you and I cannot hope anyone is hell, not even Mao or Stalin. But, short of a miracle of grace, that is exactly where they are.


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