If ever there were a model case for the death penalty, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev would top the list ["Bomb victim's kin: No death penalty," News, April 18]. The elements of the crime and the certainty of his involvement are clear and not in dispute.

Should we then apply the death penalty in this case or any case that meets the legal standard? We should not, because the death penalty is about revenge, not justice, which are vastly different things.

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The purpose of revenge is to satiate hatred and contempt, and to achieve closure. Justice is the attempt to make things right, to return to normalcy -- impossible in a case such as Tsarnaev's. Life for the victims and the rest of us will never be the same.

Revenge may be a dish best served cold; however, it should never be served by civilized people and their elected officials, lest they descend into the darkness. Justice should always be sought.

The best sentence for Tsarnaev would be life imprisonment, without parole, preferably in solitary confinement. This would be the most powerful statement we could make without crossing that pernicious line. Tsarnaev has demonstrated that he is not fit to live among us, so sentence him to virtual death with only his thoughts to keep him company.

Edward Weinert, Melville