John Allen Muhammad, known as the Beltway sniper, will be put to death tonight. The only one who can save him is Governor Tim Kaine. I will be surprised if the governor steps in.
I have to admit: I don’t hold a very strong stance on the death penalty. I find arguments on both sides to be compelling; thus, my ambivalence. I’m pro-choice for the same reason: that the decision to pursue such a course is left in the hands of the individual is probably the best way to handle things.
My biggest concern for the death penalty – and why I lean against it – is in its application. But that is true in our courts in general. In my mind, the guy who murdered my brother didn’t get the time he deserved. Same for this guy, who starved to death one of his twin daughters. I was in Atlanta for a time during the Wayne Williams murders. I remember the fear. But he didn’t get the death penalty.
Muhammad chose a path which will end tonight.
An IV line will be inserted into each of Muhammad’s arms.
The first of three chemicals will render him unconscious.
The second will stop his breathing.
The third will stop his heart.
I guess we place a different value on different lives.
UPDATE: Governor Kaine has declined to intervene in the execution.