I was mulling over the idea of writing a letter to Larry Johnson. But I got over it after I listened to LJ on the Dan Patrick Show yesterday, and realized just how lost this dude actually is. He actually believes that there’s hope that the Chiefs would actually bring him back to Kansas City to break a record. For those of you who understand the situation: *crickets*
On to more important things:
John Allen Muhammad, the beltway sniper, was put to death on Tuesday evening. He was pronounced dead at 9:11 p.m. EST. For some reason or another, I kept clicking back and forth between CNN and checking CNN.com to see when he was dead, looking for reaction, his last words, wondering about a last second pardon and so forth.
One of my friends asked me why I seemed enthused about him dying, and I had to explain that that wasn’t the case.
What compelled me more than anything was the statement released by Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, who had the opportunity to “spare” Muhammad’s life. Kaine found “no compelling reason for clemency,” so Muhammad was put to death.
That little bit makes me wonder what goes through he mind of a man, presumably a good man, a commonwealth’s governor, when he decides that he won’t spare a life that’s, in all likelihood, harmless. Knowing he’s been here before, makes me wonder what his conscience looks like.
Now, before I go any further, I guess it would be wise for me to say I’m on the fence concerning the death penalty. I go back and forth on it with each death row case that turns into a media circus of sorts. I see the crimes committed and understand why someone might want that person dead. Then it comes to that final day and I question how a decent person finds the will to actually put someone else down. It confuses me.
More than anything, though, I wonder whether or not the punishment does much good. Sure, a murderer is dead. But does that really serve the justice that the states and victims are hoping for?
Bob Meyers, whose 53-year-old brother Dean was shot dead while pumping gas in Virginia, called Tuesday’s spectacle “surreal.”
“Watching the life be sapped out of somebody intentionally was very different and an experience I’d never had,” he told CNN’s “Larry King Live.”
“I’d watched my mother die of natural causes, but that was very different.”
He said he may have attained some closure, “but I would say that pretty much was overcome just by the sadness that the whole situation generates in my heart. That he would get to the place where he did what he did, and that it had to come to this.” (CNN)
I don’t know. That doesn’t seem/read like justice. It’s reads like the intentional death of a man who could no longer do any harm. And though it seems right in some moments (McVeigh, Hussein and even this one), the calculation and method of it all seems too much.
There’s a reason that I said that I’m glad that the gunman in the tragedy at Fort Hood is alive and didn’t die last week. Although he almost assuredly will have a fate similar to Muhammad’s.
Still, the fact that he must live through some of this life in a hole understanding what he took away (whether there’s remorse or not), that means something. A lot more than intentional death. I think.