During the fall of 2002, I had occasion to travel to the DC area frequently. When I first heard the reports of random shootings in the area, I thought it was an angry white male for sure. It made me very uneasy as I was traveling through Virginia, Maryland and D.C. I thought about it while I was pumping gas or going to the store. I was amazed to learn the shootings were done by two black men, one, practically a child.
The cryptic notes they left for law enforcement assured me that the sniper was indeed a very disturbed individual. The sniper even left Tarot cards at several shootings. He prided himself on his clever avoidance of law enforcement. He forced police chief Moose to read his notes to the public as he killed ten random people he did not even know and wounded several others. He seemed to thoroughly enjoy his rampage as though it were a game.
Law enforcement mistakenly focused on a white minivan and missed the actual snipers several times because of the mistake.
The scariest thing about the DC sniper was the fact that there was no pattern to his choice of victims.
But who is John Allen Muhammad and why did he kill at random. His ex wife believes she was the target but that hardly makes much sense. He was not shooting at her but at random people on the street as they went along their day. He had bigger ideas than just revenge. He was attempting to terrorize the government.
He subjected his wife, Mildred, to extreme emotional abuse by taking her children to Antigua without her consent or knowledge. It was there that he found Lee Malvo living on the streets.
He ultimately made a demand of money from the government. Malvo reported that Muhammad planned to train discarded youths for a jihad against the government.
Mr. Muhammad reportedly encountered racism in the military as well as everyday life and it may have caused him to snap. Perhaps he suffered post traumatic stress disorder. Whatever the reason, he came back from Saudi Arabia a dangerous man. His intent was to terrorize the government. Despite this discrimination or whatever he encountered, there is no excuse for his siege of shootings.
Many people have concerns about the death penalty. How can men judge another and condemn him to death? Isn’t that what happened to Christ? Doesn’t the bible say: “Judge not lest ye be judged?” How do we know this person is not mentally disturbed and in need of mental health care. Maybe he was a victim of the health care crisis like the recent shooter in Orlando Florida.
When it comes to men of color, there is little or no compassion from the justice system. The ongoing incarceration and death of black and brown men is alarming. Muhammad’s accomplish, Lee Malvo, will spend his entire life behind bars. He was given six life sentences. He was mentored and misled by Muhammad because he had no family system. No one cared about him. He was nothing more than a child but he espoused radical Islamic ideals which angered and frightened the government. Anyone who has survived puberty knows that the way you think at puberty changes drastically when you mature.
But even beyond the racist undertones of this episode is the moral issue of taking the life of another. God is the ultimate judge and he exacts his punishment in ways that man can only imagine.
Muhammad was put to death by lethal injection on November 10th in Jarrett Virginia despite his pleas of innocence.
Survivors of his victims witnessed the execution, a total of 26 individuals, but did it bring them any comfort?
November 16, 2009