Now that the Attorney General has decided -- or, to hear him tell it, has been forced -- to defer to military tribunals to try the hundreds of capital murder charges against KSM, we must seize the opportunity to have a national teaching moment about the death penalty.
In the McVeigh case, abolitionists were prudent enough, for the most part, to hunker down. They're wrong but they're not stupid, and they knew that the Oklahoma City atrocity was poison to their "never-no-matter-what" position. A Gallup poll conducted shortly before McVeigh's execution found (emphasis added):
...that the vast majority of Americans -- including a majority of those who generally oppose the death penalty -- believe McVeigh should be executed....According to the poll, 81% of Americans believe McVeigh should be executed, while 16% think he should not. A majority of people who say they generally oppose the death penalty, 58%, believes McVeigh should be executed, while 42% do not. The latest Gallup poll figures show that 67% of Americans favor the death penalty in general, while 25% are opposed.
McVeigh killed fewer than seven percent of the number of people KSM slaughtered. And, unlike the Murrah Building catastrophe, on 9-11 all of us saw the horrifying spectacle of human beings jumping to their final fate from a hundred stories up to avoid the terror and agony of being burned to death.
McVeigh was, as it were, a quasi-lethal injection to the abolitionist movement. KSM gives us a drug ten times the strength. The absurdity of the "never-no-matter-what" position is about to be writ large, and this time, we shouldn't let the abolitionists hide out.