Wednesday, November 11, 2009

John Allen Muhammad & The Death Penalty

If you stopped by today looking for trivia, funny Steelers stories or more pictures of my mustache, I apologize as I'm going to be a little serious. I'm guessing that this post's title might have been a tip off! Anyway, John Allen Muhammad was executed Tuesday evening by lethal injection. I'm conflicted over this. I am generally against the death penalty as I find the practice barbaric and it does not represent a deterrent. At the same time, I feel like Muhammad deserved the death penalty. For those of you not familiar with Muhammad, he and Lee Boyd Malvo, who was a teenager at the time, killed 10 innocent and random people in October 2002 and wounded several others. They killed someone at a Home Depot parking lot and another at a gas station. They shot and wounded a child near a school. There really was no
rhyme or reason to their killings.

The entire DC area lived in fear over a three-week period. There was no outdoor recess at schools and many sporting events across the region were cancelled. People walked in a zig-zag fashion on the street and ran from their cars into stores and homes. Gas stations put up tarps around the pumps. Everyone listened to the radio or watched local news to hear about another shooting. Every white van was looked at suspiciously. It truly was a scary time to live here.

Muhammad's death doesn't end a chapter, close a book or whatever metaphor you want to use. I doubt the families and friends of those he killed feel closure. How can there be when a loved one's life ends tragically, much earlier than it should, and for no reason?


There's more about this in The Washington Post and Yahoo/AP.


carissajaded said...

I have such mixed feelings on this topic. I am not even sure I can wrap my brain around it this morning. This man caused so many people to suffer for no apparant reason. He may have been young, but he was old enough to know right from wrong. I'm not sure there was any other way to server justice to the people who he caused pain.

but still... I don't know.

lacochran said...

It will save us in money spent to house and feed him and it will guarantee that he never has the opportunity to do it again. I get all that. It won't bring the victims back. And, two wrongs. I don't support the death penalty. Killing to stop killing? No. But I find it harder to maintain that philosophy the older I get.

restaurant refugee said...

I too find myself conflicted about this. However, if ever anyone deserved it, certainly he did. I will never be in favor of the Death Penalty as it is so capriciously applied, but so long as we have it, I will not lose a bit of sleep over his death.

Sean said...

Carissa - Muhammad wasn't that young. You may be thinking about Lee Boyd Malvo who was a teenager during the shooting spree. Malvo is serving life in prison. To your point about no other way to serve justice to Muhammad than the death penalty, I think I agree with you.

Lacochran - I always wondered about the money thing. How much does it really cost to keep an inmate in jail for life? What is the cost of administering a lethal injection?

RR - I agree with your last sentence "I will not lose a bit of sleep over his death" 100%.