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John Muhammad and the death penalty

Post by Patrick O'Callahan on Nov. 10, 2009 at 3:58 pm with 6 Comments »
November 12, 2009 10:43 am

For me, capital punishment is a very tough issue. I don’t like the idea. It’s got a very ugly history. Over the centuries, the death penalty has been commonly used as a form of state terror (e.g., crucifixion). In this country, it’s often been used disproportionately against blacks.

Then you look at particularly evil real-life criminals, like John Allen Muhammad’s cold-blooded murders of at least 10 utterly innocent human beings. He apparently began his murder spree in Tacoma by shooting 21-year-old Keenya Cook when she answered the door of her aunt’s home. Psychopaths like him complicate the abstract discussion. I won’t be holding a candle outside the prison where he’s executed, possibly tonight.

Leave a comment Comments → 6
  1. You don’t get to have it both ways Patrick.

    The tired racial argument is a fool’s game with statistics. While the proportions are out of alignment in the context of those convicted, but the (very large) majority of offenders are Caucasian.

    Ignoring criminals’ actions based upon their skin color is irrational and puts public safety at risk. We need to continue to prosecute offenders based upon the crimes they commit. Unfortunately for those who struggle with it, the demographics won’t change.

    The black community should look inward and look at making changes to their behavior. Stop playing the race card. Stop clinging to ideals that push “hip hop” values to the forefront while sacrificing their own families in the process. Stop being a baby daddy or baby momma and take responsibility. There are plenty examples of hard-working, self-sacrificing men and women that should be elevated as cultural models. Instead, thuggery is celebrated amongst the youth.

  2. witchiwoman says:

    I do not believe in the death penalty. I do not believe in an eye for an eye. I believe like Jesus said that we must leave the judging to God.

  3. skippythedog says:

    Some people just need to be smoked….Plain and simple.

  4. Killing a killer doesn’t discourage the next killer, especially if the next killer is a psych-/sociopath. Muhammad has not been able to kill again since his incarceration, so his incarceration was as much a deterrent to his further actions as his death is. We have no idea if Muhammad would have preferred death to life in prison, so we have no way of of knowing if he saw his own execution as “punishment.” If we the public were seeking revenge, pure and simple, I say we are not as civilized as we might like to believe. Putting an old, sick, suffering pet down is one thing. Putting a human being down is quite another.
    By the way, I live 3 miles from where Muhammad shot one of his victims. I was as terrified as everyone else who lived around here. Muhammad’s execution brought all of the terror of those weeks back to me; they bring me no peace.
    I hope that the families of the victims find peace, but I honestly don’t think this is the way to do it.

  5. Shamrock61 says:

    Teaguer, so you actually believe that NO one will stop and think about murdering another if he/she knows that it may lead to their OWN death? I think that’s a pretty simplistic way to rationalize your viewpoint. Sure, there will always be those “psych-/sociopath”s that will not be deterred, but there is no doubt that it stops others before they take another’s life.

    Witchiwoman…I believe the passage you refer to is Matt. 7:1-3:
    Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
    “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?”

    This is not speaking to Courts, but to individuals that “judge” the actions of others as a way of making themselves look better. If this was meant in the way you are using it, we could not have a court system…we would not be able to judge any crime and impose a sentance based on what was done.

  6. Capybara91 says:

    I don’t find the death penalty cruel and unusual punishment and neither does the US Supreme Court. On the contrary, I think it speaks well of a society to demand that a convicted killer pay the ultimate price for wantonly taking the life of another human being.

    The focus should not be upon compassion or mercy for a ruthless and cowardly murderer, but upon what is just and fair for the families of the victims.

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