I am against the death penalty. I mean, if someone were to ask, I would say I oppose it, and I do.
But for some reason, I am not sorry that John Allen Muhammed is going to be put to death tomorrow.
I feel like a hypocrite. How can I be against the death penalty and not be sorry that this man is going to die? My normal “explanation” of people doing bad things is that they are most probably sick. I say that they needed or need psychiatric help; perhaps they grew up mentally ill and were never treated. Therefore, they should be treated. Never released to hurt more people, but treated.
But for Muhammed, I cannot get there.
I guess I am remembering the horror of his terror. I cannot imagine the pain, even now, of the families whose loved ones were gunned down by this man and his accomplice.
The sheer audacity of Muhammed to ride through the streets and indiscriminately shoot innocent people makes me angry even now.
And what makes me even angrier is that he roped a young boy into helping him, a young boy who apparently looked up to him, and he was doing all of this killing, apparently, so that he could eventually kill his ex-wife and get custody of his children.
It is sick. I have to believe that he is sick, but I cannot conjure up my usual argument against the death penalty, not in this case.
I have listened to his wife talk about how he changed after he returned from war, and I can believe it. I can also believe that he probably did not receive good medical care after he got back, as that seems to be the lot of too many of our war veterans. For that, the United States government ought to be ashamed, and also ought to be getting its act together.
A country that thinks nothing of shipping young people off to fight and then leaves them to dry rot, medically, spiritually and financially once they get home is a country without honor.
But even given that, I cannot find a space in my heart to plead mercy for this man who showed mercy to no one.
I think of the lives of sadness his children will live forever, knowing that their dad was the “DC Sniper.” Muhammed has been fair to no one.
I remember being in the Washington D.C. area during Muhammed’s shooting rampage. I was nervous as hell. I didn’t want to even stop my car and get gas, because I didn’t know where this lunatic was. I didn’t like feeling controlled by an entity I could not see, yet knew existed.
I am wondering if I can legitimately say, given my lack of feeling for Muhammed, that I am against the death penalty. Killing him will not bring the people he killed back to life. Imprisoning him for life, sentencing him to the hardest labor ever, putting him in solitary confinement for the rest of his natural life … that would be sufficient punishment. I have always thought that a life of confinement, separation and seclusion, and hard work is really effective for getting a message to a person. And I am not saying that I would be angry if Muhammed were NOT being executed tomorrow.
I am just saying that I am not sorry that he is being executed.
That is a candid observation.