In grad school it was driven into our heads that your average juror was only going to have the equivalent of an eight-grade education and we had to consider that heavily when preparing testimony. Clever but simple analogies worked well because they were things almost anyone could “get.” What to make then of the mental capacity of the Moussaoui jurors, who were informed of his association, his training, his funding, and other data that laid a yellow-brick road towards planned participation in 9/11? A joke about not being smart enough to get out of jury duty comes to mind, but somehow seems inappropriate.
I’m sure there are studies about the effectiveness, or lack thereof, of the death penalty in deterring crimes that merit capital punishment. I don’t particularly care what they say because we’re trying apples against rules designed for oranges. You might not like the phrase “war on terrorism” but it is a war nevertheless. We can argue about tactics and strategy, but the bottom line is that the enemy has been fighting us for years and they continue to do so today. They send ostensible “soldiers” against us, yet when we’re fortunate enough to get one in our grasp we treat him as if he were a peer of a bank robber.
Handled properly from the get-go, the Moussaoui case could have saved American lives. Instead, it was botched and the only life that was saved was that of a terrorist.