Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

Execution incites death penalty debate

The execution of sniper John Allen Muhammad last night by the state of Virginia has ignited an impassioned and sometimes uncivilized conversation among our Readers Who Comment as they debate the value of the death penalty and recall the fear that enslaved the Washington area for days.

Those several hundred comments that express support for the death penalty seem angry about those who oppose it; those who oppose it seem sad that another life has been taken. One compared execution to abortion. Some readers cheer that Virginia (rather than Maryland) was the state that prosecuted Muhammad, because Virginia has a long tradition of imposing death sentences. Several writers suggest that the Fort Hood killer should receive the same.

Some comments say that Muhammad's rampage is what one can expect of Muslims or blacks; others point out the Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber, was white. If nothing else, this string shows a nation strongly divided on this issue, if unquestionably horrified at the days of fear that so palpably gripped this region.

We'll start with two of the briefest comments that succinctly summarize the debate:

GenuineRisk wrote, "I'm hard liberal, but I live in the Metro area and was scared to death when this guy was on the prowl. Forgive? You gotta be kidding me! I'm glad to know this monster is roasting in hell tonight!"

But chicagostanford said, "Just call it revenge and never mind the justice baloney."

mgregory29 wrote, "Let us forget his name. I will think of his victims and how their lives were brutally ended. It could have been anyone of us."

Atenora said, "This is the first time that I'm actually glad that someone got executed."

turkerm wrote, "A sick man and a sick process. No winners here."

Pugs2 said, "At least he's not on this earth anymore. I'm sure most of us are glad VA got to keep him and not MD."

mosthind wrote, "Every time justice is served by society executing some rabid dog killer of a person there are candles and vigils protesting the death penalty. If any of those idiots had to go to a morgue and look at the half gone head of a wife, daughter, son or husband they would be screaming the loudest for the death of the perp..."

Julescator said, "I don't know I am still torn. I kind of think Life In prison without the possiblity of parole is the worse punishment. Maybe I am just mean and want people like that to suffer. Heck he is out of his misery now..."

jwardjr000 asked, "Why couldn't they let him suffer? I think a nice, slow death would be in order. Torture comes to mind. Make an example so others would think twice. Great, he's dead, now let fry the guy that killed the Fort Hood soldiers."

karlanne1 wrote, "Mr. Muhammad was a terrible man who committed terrible crimes against innocent people. I wish he had been able to grow old with the realization that he would never go free..."

obamadisciple said, "Muhammed was put to death only becuase he was a Muslim and becuase he is black! White males are the ones that made him die. I think white male should die too becuase they kill the hole world."

To which tmi1 replied, "So Timothy McVeigh and Ted Bundy were part of an albino black tribe in the jungles of Sudan?"

deltadelta wrote, "...I have no issues with the execution but I too am disturbed by the many gleeful and nasty comments made here. The murders and Muhammad's subsequent execution are somber, serious matters. You all degrade yourself with shrill, vulgar, crude, hatefilled statements."

anotherview said, "A complete justice system requires the death penalty. Let us hope other states with the death penalty look to copy the process Virginia uses for bringing due justice to criminals condemned to die by state execution... Note that the condemned criminal here passed away in five minutes. He did not deserve to live another nanosecond."

AbuNawas wrote, "Death penalty is barbaric and inhumane. Allen Muhammad was mentally ill. They killed a sick man."

2xy4k9 said, "To those so morally opposed to today's execution, just imagine that muhammad was a 48-year-old fetus who was aborted!"

concernedaboutdc wrote, "I'd prefer murderers be punished through solitary confinement for the rest of their lives than to be given the easy way out,the final way out; state imposed murder... Only God can give peace and serenity to the victims families. Justice will always be delivered at His hand...

sayno2obama replied, "Well concernedaboutdc, I would prefer that muslims would stop killing innocent people, but you know that's not going to happen, so we need to keep the death penalty to ensure the wacko muslims are giving their just dues after killing innocent people..."

posterchild1 wrote, "I lived through this nightmare, and knew one of his victims... I am glad he is dead. I am sure that tonite, and for all eternity that he burns in hell!"

We'll close with tpalenque, who wrote, "The whole thing is just utterly tragic no matter how you look at it. What would possess someone or something to have so much hate and such a disillusionment to go and kill random individuals? Public attitudes will have to change in order to prevent something like this from happening again."

All comments on this article are here.

By Doug Feaver  |  November 11, 2009; 7:36 AM ET
 | Tags: Death Penalty, Muhammad, Virginia  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Abortion to the fore on health care reform
Next: Does Obama measure up as Commander in Chief?


I was scared, I had been at Home Depot with hubby that afternoon. It could have been one of us. I never go to or drive by my Home Depot without a thought about Linda Franklin. I think the punishment fit the crimes.

Posted by: tbva | November 11, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

ConcernedOne1- We capture Tigers to display for our gratification. Your argument is not relevant at all. Tigers are not guilty of any crime against humanity.

Your assumption that time will cause regret is an unknown, as it that by executing him we cannot prevent him from doing harm to others. We execute him as a punishment. Just and legal.

Posted by: bal503 | November 11, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

To prevent tiger from killing any we put behind bars in zoos, but don't kill it. One that is less of human and more of an animal can be treated just as such. By killing we just admitted we cannot prevent him from doing any harm to others. It is not much of a punishment to die without suffering. But living in prison lifelong with a howsoever glimmer of possibility to rue and regret one's doings is far better justice.

Posted by: ConcernedOne1 | November 11, 2009 11:56 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company