The Moral Panic Over Nikolas Cruz’s Life Sentence

Where do I begin with how irrational and stupid this moral panic is. Firstly, I oppose capital punishment and have the moral courage to defend that position in extreme cases. Principles aren’t principles if one doesn’t stand by them under the hardest circumstances. That said, even if I supported capital punishment, I would not consider a life sentence in American prison to be any serious degree of mercy. A Norwegian prison, maybe. Even if I believed one could justify needlessly killing somebody who is too incapacitated to harm anyone, it’s almost semantic.

He’d have likely spent decades on death row, anyway, and the death sentence is just symbolic. No one materially benefits either way. No one’s life is really affected if he is on death row or not on death row in prison. This difference they are screaming about is not tangible but purely abstract and theoretical. The nature of his incarceration shall not be different with the only difference being binary on silicon and ink on printed court documents and while forgiving mass murderers is difficult; if it merely a matter of binary on sicilon then that is the easiest symbolic statement we can make in the direction of love. I don’t know how much I could sacrifice for him but I could sacrifice twenty seconds to type out words in a court document if that sends a better message to humanity.

Of course, Nikolas Cruz’s death won’t save anyone’s life and it is a completely useless thing to advocate for. Reforming gun laws and early-intervention programs will save lives. I understand neurotypicals aren’t the most rational folk but I hope they can comprehend the syllogism that anger at Nikolas Cruz doesn’t make sense like anger at the NRA does. In this movie, they are calling for the head of the brutish minion who directly carries out the sinister plot and are not calling for the head of the refined villian who the minion is a minion of. It really doesn’t make sense. It suggests that they fail to register how power works. Nikolas Cruz has zero power and is among the most useless targets of rage of anyone in this circumstance. Wayne LaPierre, the CEO of the NRA, unlike Nikolas Cruz, has power. It does not take a great political scientist to figure out that one’s attention is vastly better budgeted on the sophisticated villian than the dumb minion.

In the ultimate, I view this moral panic as much ado about nothing. They’re screaming about the semantic fate of someone without power. In fact, his lack of power would even engender my feelings of mercy, slightly. Nikolas Cruz should be locked-up Norwegian-style to cure whatever patholigies are inside of him and I would hope he lived a reformed and happy life. If I harbor any rancor over this tragedy, it is toward people with power like Wayne LaPierre. If anyone deserves an American, not Norwegian, style prison term it is Wayne, not Nikolas. Someone who had all of the advantages life could afford him and who, with no excuse of diminished capacity, made a deal with the devil. He is far less deserving of sympathy.

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