Feature

The D.C. sniper execution: Closure?

What putting John Muhammad to death does for his victims' families, and what it doesn't do

Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine refused to spare the life of John Allen Muhammad—who was sentenced to die for the sniper killings that terrorized the Washington, D.C., area in 2002—and John Muhammad was put to death by lethal injection at 9:11 p.m. Tuesday. Will the D.C. sniper execution let relatives of the dead, and everyone traumatized by the killing spree, put the horror behind them? (Watch the announcement of the death of D.C. sniper John Muhammad)

Muhammad deserves to die: John Allen Muhammad's lawyer had asked for clemency, says Cathryn Friar in Right Pundits, saying John Muhammad is a severely mentally ill man who suffered from Gulf War syndrome. "Well, cry me a river!" Forget about Muhammad and his young accomplice, Lee Boyd Malvo—the ones who matter now are the victims' families, who "must be feeling: anxiety, relief, loss, grief, re-lived pain, fear, anger, justice." With the D.C. sniper execution, they've relived "the nightmare" one more time—now they can move on."John Allen Muhammed: The D.C. sniper execution"

Executing Muhammad won't provide closure: Now that John Muhammad is dead, says Naseem Rakha in The Washington Post, the families of the 10 people killed by the D.C. snipers will go home and move on with their lives. But that doesn't mean they'll find closure after the D.C. sniper execution. "I doubt that anyone who has lost a loved one to a violent crime can ever fully close the door on that episode of his or her life.""Muhammad and the 'closure' myth"Muhammad's guilty, but the death penalty is still troubling: It's hard to muster sympathy for John Muhammad, says Louis Klarevas in The Huffington Post, because his guilt isn't in question, and his crimes were so brutal. But that shouldn't ease our minds about the death penalty, because "innocent people are often sentenced to death in this country." Until we devise a system in which no innocent person is executed, all Americans should have "lingering doubts" about whether we should execute anyone at all."Beyond a lingering doubt: It's time for a new standard on capital punishment"

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