Originally created 11/25/03

The worst of the worst



We're not sure lethal injection is a fitting punishment for sniper John Allen Muhammad.

But since the country is too civilized to force him to pump gas and wonder when he might be shot from nearby woods, as he did to others, a simple execution will have to be good enough.

Prosecutor Paul Ebert reminded jurors in Muhammad's Virginia trial that the death penalty should be reserved for the worst of the worst.

"We think Mr. Muhammad fell into that category," he said.

The jury agreed. Now, unless the judge takes the unusual step of vacating the sentence Feb. 12, Mr. Muhammad will no longer be a threat.

And, make no bones about it, this man is a terrorist. Anti-American and anti-social, he represents the worst of mankind: an animalistic predator killing innocent countrymen with neither cause nor reason.

Not even the indiscriminate murder of 10 innocent people in 16 known shootings was enough, however. Muhammad got further jollies out of terrorizing the whole of the populace along the Eastern seaboard. During his days of terror a year ago, people were afraid to go out, events were canceled, schoolchildren were running to their parents' cars and motorists were stooping behind their vehicles to pump gasoline.

Serial killer. Predator. Terrorist. One must go out of one's way to earn any of these titles. John Allen Muhammad, and his then-17-year-old alleged accomplice Lee Boyd Malvo, should he be convicted, earned all three distinctions.

Indeed, the worst of the worst.