John Allen Muhammad, the infamous Beltway Sniper, is set to die by lethal injection tonight. After being found guilty of capital murder by a jury of his peers, Muhammad was sentenced to death. The Washington Post, however, sees the “humanity in [the] D.C. sniper.”
The Post quotes defense attorney Jon Sheldon as saying:
"I perfectly understand the families of the victims want to throttle him. It is hard to get a handle on the amount of damage he has done," Sheldon said. "John Allen Muhammad is absolutely responsible. He's guilty. But there are glimpses of him being thoughtful. People don't want to see that. It's much easier to wrap him up into the thing he did."Perhaps the Post has missed the larger point: Had Muhammad been more thoughtful before he went on a murderous rampage, he would not be slated for execution.
This does raise the question, though: Why does the Post deem it a worthy use of time, money and column inches to defend a convicted mass murderer as something more than just a murderer?
Sheldon, who is also president of the board for Virginians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, said he thinks executions "erode" society. "It's not about him; it's about us," he said. "When we see hatred and violence, what should our response be?"
Oh. That explains it quite well.
The death penalty has long been an issue for the left. Never mind that this is justice carried out to the letter of the law; or that Muhammad’s victims were not given a chance to defend themselves in court, as he was. Forget that his victims also had names, families and friends.
By the way, their names are Claudine Parker, James Martin, James “Sonny” Buchanan, Premkumar Walekar, Sarah Ramos, Lori Ann Lewis-Rivera, Pascal Charlot, Dean Harold Meyers, Kenneth Bridges, Linda Franklin, and Conrad Johnson. Paul LaRuffa, Caroline Seawell, Iran Brown (a 13 year old boy at the time), Kellie Adams and Jeffrey Hopper all survived Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo's murderous intent.
According to this article, the Beltway Sniper should be seen as a sympathetic figure because he shows brief snatches of humanity.
Justice demands equal payment. The justice system has decided that in this case, the death penalty is as equal a payment as can be made for the murder of multiple people. But for the Washington Post, the real story is the brief flash of humanity in an inhuman murderer.