Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Thoughts on vengeance and righteous anger...

I have been trying to sort all of this out in a way that makes sense... and (fair warning!) I'm not there yet.

Last night the mastermind of the "DC Sniper Attacks," John Allen Mohammed, died by lethal injection in a penitentiary in Virginia. I well remember the discomfort and fear we experienced for several weeks in October of 2002. I was one of the "human shields" between the parking lot and the elementary school, to allow kids to run safely into the building from their parents' cars. I studied the school-to-home memos on "how to talk to your kids..." (as if there were any way to talk about it!) My kids did not have any field trips that fall. We pumped gas, unloaded groceries, and walked in public areas with an uneasy feeling, looking over our shoulders. Other than our back yard with its tall wooden fence, our kids did not play outside.

So I remember the feelings and experiences...

We did not know anyone personally who was killed by the attacks, but their faces and stories were plastered on the news. I could understand the rage and anger of the victims' families. The snipers were bragging about their exploits. They did not deny their part...

And yet when I read that Mohammed "peacefully drifted off to sleep" I wondered if this were really justice. Yes a convicted killer was now dead. But his death was a known entity - the date and time were established ahead of time. There was no terror. There was no shock. There was no fear. Yet this is "justice."

My struggle with capital punishment is from a moral and a philosophical view. I don't believe "might makes right." I don't know if killing a killer settles the score. I don't have answers to the question of whether his death by injection satisfies the rage and pain and loss of the families who have been devastated in his killing spree.

There are some things that just won't sit well with me this side of heaven...



Princess of Everything (and then some) said...

I am not trying to debate or sway you.

I am for lethal injection. I think he did not deserve to live. As tax payers, we should not have to pay for him to live out his last years in a prison somewhere. Did it *fix* those people lives or bring back there loved one? No nothing will ever be able to do that.

He had no problems at all in harming and killing innocent people. I think that the punishment fit the crime.

That being have to understand that I come from a criminal justice background and that shapes and forms a lot of my opinions on this.

Mompriest said...

And I am not for corporal punishment, I do not believe that killing a person is just punishment for any crime. I know it's complicated. We pay a lot in tax dollars to support those in prison. I think the whole system should be overhauled, with fewe people in prison and greater emphasis on work related rehab. Except perhaps for the most ill and violent, like this guy, who most likely could not be rehabilitated. Then, life in prison. Personally I can think of nothing worse than being locked up for my entire life. Even death seems to be a reprieve from that, the easy way out of suffering a life with no freedom.

but, then I am a pollyanna.

mostly I pray for those who lost friends and family in this and other horrific acts of violence...for them I am sure there is nothing that can ease the pain or justify the crime.