The Corner

Re: John Allen Muhammad, the Death Penalty, and Retributive Punishment

Jason, I have nothing useful to say here other than: I oppose the death penalty. Not for some of the p.c. reasons to, but because I just don’t think it’s necessary for the state to end these lives. War is war, sometimes you do kill who you have to there, and justly. But there are alternatives in these cases, even in the case of the most heinous crimes.

I do not pity Muhammad, but I am made deeply uneasy by a report like this:

JARRATT, Va. (AP) – John Allen Muhammad stepped foot into Virginia’s death chamber and within seconds was lying on a gurney, tapping his left foot, his arms spread wide with a needle dug into each.

“Mr. Muhammad, do you have any last words?” the warden asked the mastermind behind the D.C.-area sniper attacks that killed 10 in 2002. Muhammad, calm and stoic, was defiant to the end, refusing to utter any final words.

The 48-year-old died by injection at 9:11 p.m. Tuesday as relatives of the victims watched, reliving the killing spree that terrorized the Washington, D.C., area for three weeks that October. Victims’ families sat behind glass, separated from the rest of the 27 witnesses, who were quiet, looking straight forward, intent on what was happening.

We’re the United States of America. I just think we can do better than this.