WELLS — There are the standard arguments against the death penalty and for sparing the life of Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

These include the fundamental immorality of taking a life when there remain other remedies to protect society and to punish.

There is also the possibility of mistake: not, in this case, of executing an innocent man but rather the more nuanced mistake of taking the life of one whose life should not be snuffed out.

There is also Tsarnaev’s youthfulness, the distinct possibility that however ultimately culpable he is, he was tragically misguided by his older brother, Tamerlan.

And there is the argument that in sparing the life of one responsible for such a brutal and inhumane act, a message is sent to the world that we value every life.

Here, I offer two different arguments, one pragmatic and logical and one decidedly emotional for sparing Tsarnaev’s life – arguments that, as far as I can tell, have not generally been raised in the ongoing discussion of punishment in this instance.

One question that still remains unsatisfactorily answered is why the Tsarnaev brothers did it. What would lead two young men to brutally, calculatedly and maliciously kill and seriously wound hundreds of innocent people? The best and likely only people who can provide an accurate answer to this vitally important question are the Tsarnaev brothers themselves.

Indeed, a critical part of that answer and possibly all of it was forever lost when Tamerlan Tsarnaev died in the post-bombing shootout. The same cannot be said about the other potential source of critical information – Dzhokhar – unless we as a society take his life also. We must not do so.

But what about the deserved and seemingly justified punishment for Dzhokhar’s role in this horrible crime? We should, of course, punish him. Not, however, by executing him, but by imprisoning him for life, hopefully a long life. He can be of some important use to society whether he is willing or not. In keeping him out of general society but alive, we can long examine and probe his psyche, his motivations and even his expressed rationalizations and/or excuses. And, the longer he lives, the greater opportunity to gain useful and society-serving knowledge. Only this might provide the insight we need to understand the motivations of those intent on gruesome acts of terror.

As Dzhokhar ages over the years in relatively secluded incarceration, the possibility remains he will, voluntarily or not, provide society with the knowledge needed to better understand and, perhaps, thereby prevent future horrible acts. Yes, I am arguing rather than kill Dzhokhar, we use him, exploit him, if you will, for useful and justifiably pragmatic reasons. To kill him is to forever lose that potential life-saving opportunity.

In regard to more emotional arguments in support of the death penalty, we often are asked to consider the victims and/or their families. Opponents of the death penalty are not infrequently asked the question, “And would you feel the same opposition to capital punishment if it were your child or other beloved members of your family who were killed?” I cannot knowingly answer that question as I have most fortunately been spared the horror of having a child or loved one slaughtered. I cannot definitely predict how I would feel or act. Still, I can say that I hope I would follow my principles and not support the death penalty in such a case. Both Jennifer Lemmerman, the sister of slain MIT police officer Sean A. Collier, as well as Bill and Denise Richard, the parents of Martin Richard, the eight-year old victim of the Marathon bombing having faced this agonizing choice, have commendably remained unmoved in their opposition to capital punishment. I can only hope and pray I would have the understanding and tolerance to do the same.

Let me propose an alternative question to those supportive of capital punishment in general and of its application to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Suppose it were your child or another loved one in your family who had been the perpetrator of such a heinous act? Would you still favor the death penalty and not life imprisonment? Most, if not all, parents will always likely love and seek to protect their offspring however heinous their acts. The challenge is to rise to that level of understanding and mercy when assessing someone else’s child.

“They” do not kill Dzhokhar, we do.