As testimony in the Zacarias Moussaoui trial continues, emotions are running high. How could they not? The testimonies of witnesses, many of whom lost family members during the attacks, are bound to be emotional. These people are recalling the loss of family members and friends.
Moussaoui, a conspirator who knew the Sept. 11 attacks were to take place and was supposed to fly a fifth plane into the White House, has certainly riled emotions. While these emotions can work in favor of the prosecution, they can, at the same time, hurt the case. U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema told the prosecution in the case it should do everything in its power to keep this emotion at a contained level. She told the prosecutors, “You may pay a price for that down the road,” warning that an overzealous prosecution may result in a successful appeal.
In the collective memory of the nation, Sept. 11 seems to be fading into the background. For many of these witnesses, however, the day’s events left them with a painful and very real loss, one they will deal with for the rest of their lives.
The pain of the victims’ families juxtaposed with Moussaoui’s insensitive behavior may make it seem obvious that Moussaoui should receive the death penalty. After all, when Moussaoui saw the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks, “he told the federal marshals transporting him, “It is smoking good,” CNN.com reported.
What jury wouldn’t recommend the death sentence after such a display of disregard for human life? He also continued this disrespect, laughing and singing while family members of victims recalled their pain.
Moussaoui’s defense team said his disrespectful outbursts are due to the fact that he is mentally ill. This is one of the reasons they are hoping the jury will not order the death sentence. While the solution may seem cut and dry, there are also concerns that by putting Moussaoui to death, he will be seen as a martyr in the eyes of many. This is a legitimate concern, but what is the trial showing the world if he is simply given jail time?