Tonight, I wish to know nothing about him other than the information necessary to try, convict, and punish him—and any data that might provide some sort of deterrence in preventing another such rampage.
In comparison to those he killed and maimed, and the legions of their relatives and friends, he is nothing. We the sophisticated with university degrees are supposed to know better: that hanging such a nightmarish criminal when convicted is both barbaric on our part and offers no statistical evidence that it will deter future such killers.
Perhaps. But society needs to be affirmed with a certainty that it has the clear sense of evil and good to try, convict and punish the killer. Hanging Saddam or Eichmann, for all the controversies over their trials, at least offered some finality: they were evil and now are no more—and now we don’t worry whether Saddam was unloved, or the circumstances of Eichmann’s childhood.