The fall of 2002 was one of the scariest times of my life. I was away in college in Charlotte, NC while my family was here in DC going about their everyday life. One Tuesday I spoke to my mom, as usual, but this particular evening she carried "worriation" in her voice. "There's someone going around killing people at gas stations you know...". Gas stations? Seriously? Have gas prices jumped and they're pissed off about it? Darn Bush lol. However, I soon learned this was no laughing matter. My family and friends back home were frightened, paralyzed with fear, afraid to leave their homes. The gunmen who rode around in this white van didn't seem to have any real rhyme or reason. They weren't attacking a specific gender, race, class, or anything. Just innocent people.
And then I had to go home for fall break.
The only way I have ever gotten around this city is by metro. Metro is my best friend here. However, that fall...that fall???? Metro was my enemy. I was scared to leave the house to go visit friends because I didn't know if I would make it to my destination, or make it back home. My parents feared for my life, I feared for theirs...it was a mess! Trust and believe me when I say I stayed prayed up. You could find me on the metro or bus rocking back and forth with my eyes closed having a deep conversation with Jesus and his whole brigade begging to be able to keep my life.
Some time a couple of weeks later they captured the two men that were terrorizing the DMV - John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo. Today, John Allen Muhammad is set to be executed.
The Death Penalty. I've never been a fan, and oddly enough, John Allen Muhammad doesn't make me one. When we talk about killing a killer, I feel like we are playing God just a little too much. The world I live in is the one Jesus left us with - the world of mercy, grace, and forgiveness. If God can forgive John Allen Muhammad, who am I not to? It's not like I'm far removed from the situation. You ask me about it now and even today I can feel the anxiety I felt then. My blood runs cold, and my hands start sweating. I felt like I was having a panic attack everyday that they were out there terrorizing our area. However, no matter how heinous his crime, that does not make me God.
I know a lot of people aren't a fan of it, but I would just lock him up for life. Some will say "he can't be rehabilitated" but I invite those people to join me in reality. 1) You're not GOD so get off your high horse and stop saying who can be changed and who can't. God saved a wretch like you, didn't he? 2) God doesn't see murder as being any worse a sin as being a liar. Both kill. Check yourself 3) Umm, did you really think that prison rehabilitated anyone? The ones that come out changed are those that had a change of heart and decided to work on themselves. You know as well as I do that even though our prisons are suppose to be about transformation and rehabilitation, they aren't, AT ALL.
I would never tell someone what to believe. Wait, we're talking about me so scratch that, yes I would. However, the death penalty makes my blood boil. I think everyone should pay for the crimes they commit, absolutely, but taking someones life is not the answer. It's not. My spirit tells me it isn't right, and that's enough for me.
At 9pm when John Allen Muhammad is set to be executed, I will be in class. I will be in class, saying a prayer for him that he found salvation before he took his last breath. I will also say a prayer for the US, that we find some dignity, humanity, humbleness, and maybe step our morality game up a bit. You don't correct a murderers wrong doings by bloodying your own hands.
Matthew 5:7 & 5:38-39, James 4:12, Romans 12:17-21, and John 8:7
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