John Allen Muhammad was recently executed by lethal injection for gunning down individuals pumping gas, mowing their lawns, and shopping, in late 2002. Jurors believed this inhuman act is worthy of legal retribution, in the form of the death penalty, and not many would disagree.
But although the punishment fits the crime, what are we really learning here about the man (or men) who performed this crime? Does sentencing the villains to death really help the victims families grieve, and move on? Are they in a better position of understanding now that the responsible party is underground, than they were before?
Sentencing someone to death for heinous crimes may be justice, but it’s not closure.
Closure can only happen when two things occur:
- The responsible party admits to, and shows remorse for their crime.
- The victims’ party forgives (or at least accepts the apology) from the responsible party.
Neither of these things happened last night, as Muhammad silently drifted from this world:
Meyers’ brother, Bob Meyers, said watching the execution was sobering and “surreal.”
“I would have liked him at some point in the process to take responsibility, to show remorse,” Meyers said. “We didn’t get any of that tonight.”
The victims’ families may not be feeling quite what they expected to feel, after taking Muhammad’s life.
It’s too bad that Muhammads’ reasons die with him, as the families will probably never feel true closure because of it. If only we could find out the real reasons, and get to the heart of what possessed him. Only Muhammad can answer to that.
But maybe he will now have to answer to a far greater being than victim’s families. Perhaps that’s the only closure we can extract from this.