Inside Opinion

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Tag: D.C. sniper


John Allen Muhammad: Unlamented evil

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

People may argue about the death penalty, but no one’s likely to miss its latest recipient, John Allen Muhammad of Tacoma.

Those last two words are tough to acknowledge. But Tacoma was Muhammad’s hometown and he launched his offensive against innocent life from the South Sound. He separated from the Army at Fort Lewis. He lived for years on the East Side. He stole his chief murder weapon from Bull’s Eye Shooter Supply in the Dome District. He and his teenage acolyte, Lee Boyd Malvo, apparently practiced marksmanship in the backyard

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John Muhammad and the death penalty

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.

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