The Obama administration said Friday that it would prosecute Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the self-described mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks, in a Manhattan federal courtroom, a decision that ignited a sharp political debate but took a step toward resolving one of the most pressing terrorism detention issues.
We are ever mindful of "terrorist detention issues," of course. If you want to know what the average New Yorker thinks of the decision, you need to look at a different newspaper, though:
Outraged New Yorkers said yesterday that admitted 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed and four other terrorists deserve to be put to death -- and some even volunteered for the job.
"Kill them without a trial. Just a bullet in the head and say goodbye. Why waste taxpayer money?" said Thomas Pland, 70, a truck driver from Astoria, Queens.
"If they want me to do it," he added, "I will."
Mike Keane, owner of O'Hara's Restaurant & Pub a block from Ground Zero, said: "They should have taken care of them in Guantanamo Bay. Hang them there. It would have been quicker and easier."
But first, he added, "we should waterboard them a little more."
Isolated thoughts? No, there's more:
"I'm a hundred thousand percent against this move. They're war criminals!" said retired firefighter Joe Holland, whose son, Joseph III, a commodities trader, died in the World Trade Center's north tower.
"This is crazy. This is insane. They're going to make a mockery of the whole court system 10 blocks away from the World Trade Center. They're going to scream for holy war in America."
Peter Gadiel, head of 9/11 Families for a Secure America, fumed, "I never thought we could have gotten a worse president than George Bush. But we got one.
"The president wants a circus? He should hold the trial in Lafayette Park at the White House. That makes as much sense," added Gadiel, whose son, James, a Cantor Fitzgerald employee, died on 9/11.
A president worse than George Bush? I am aghast.
To be fair, at least one person is willing to give the President and his men the benefit of the doubt:
But retired firefighter James Riches, whose firefighter son, Jimmy, died on 9/11, said he would give President Obama the benefit of the doubt -- for now.
"Hopefully, we're doing the right thing. But if this all goes awry, I'm going to hold Obama and his Justice Department responsible," Riches said.
As will we all, Mr. Riches.