Wednesday, November 11, 2009
11/10/09 -- 9:11 p.m.
This is when John Allen Muhammad breathed his last. He was one of the infamous D.C. Snipers although he and his young protégé killed innocent strangers across the country. Today's news stories include comments from witnesses to the lethal injection execution, some of whom were family members of victims. Few felt closure. I think I understand. October 2002 was a terrifying time in our region. We were still staggering in disbelief from the horrors of September 11 the year before and now someone was randomly shooting people. Everyone was on edge and scurried about like scared mice when we had to go out grocery shopping or for doctor appointments. I, for one, did not go out for any other reason. Watching someone die for taking the lives of others is not my idea of closure. I do not support the death penalty, yet I do not support the way American prisons pamper inmates. Separating evil people from society should not require that we educate them or provide them with entertainment. Just as prisoners of war are entitled to humane treatment, any one who is imprisoned for committing a crime should be treated humanely. Anything beyond that is not appropriate. Blanket statements like those don't address the varying degrees of criminal activity. There are inmates being held for far less heinous crimes who should be allowed to earn extras like books and perhaps time to listen to music or view television. The worst of the worst, as I feel Muhammad was, should be kept isolated so that they are forced to think about their crimes and to perhaps discover remorse. Any punishment is predicated on the fact that proof supports a guilty sentence. New forensic techniques like DNA matching are making this more realistic. Too many innocent persons have been imprisoned for crimes they did not commit. Some have even been executed and found innocent afterwards. This is disgraceful. To those whose loved ones were victims of this man, I want to express my sincerest condolences and hope that they can find peace in knowing that he can no longer cause harm.