In October, 2002, just a little over a year after September 11, 2001, the greater Washington, D.C. region was terrorized by indiscriminate sniper shootings killing ten people and critically injuring three others. Police soon figured out this rampage was being conducted by a serial killer or killers on the loose. For three weeks people within a hundred miles of the city feared to leave home or work place worrying the killer just might have them in his or her sights. Fearful people hurried from home to car to store or work place and then reversed the routine. No one knew where he or she might strike next. Many stayed indoors, TV shows recommended ways to avoid becoming targets, schoolchildren were kept inside at recess, parents covered their children on the way to the school buses and police officials declared no one was safe.
My wife and I live in that region and experienced this terror of random killing. Two shootings occurred in our town. A woman shopper was shot and permanently injured in the parking lot of a store near our home and a man from Philadelphia was killed at the same Exxon gas station where we have purchased gas. Every time I drive by this station now I think of the horror of that day. Just across the street is the parking lot where the killer selected his victim that morning. Eight days later another shooting occurred in Ashland, VA not long after my wife and I passed through that town on our way home from church services. Another shooting took place in a town where fellow church members live.
After many misleads and attempts to end this killing spree, police finally did catch up with John Allen Muhammad and his 17-year-old accomplice, Lee Boyd Malvo, at a rest stop in Maryland and arrested them. They were driving a 1990 Chevrolet Caprice with a small hole in the trunk created for the purpose of sniping at innocent passers-by.
Muhammad was tried and sentenced to execution in Virginia for the shooting murder of Dean Harold Meyers at a gas station in Manassas, Virginia. In Virginia also Lee Boyd Malvo was tried and sentenced to life imprisonment without parole. After exhausting his legal appeals, John Allen Muhammed was executed by lethal injection on November 10, 2009 before 27 witnesses at the Greensville Correctional Center. By coincidence, this was the same day President Obama participated in memorial services for the recent Fort Hood shooting massacre.
Consider this text from the Book of Genesis:
" Whoever sheds man's blood, By man his blood shall be shed; For in the image of God He made man." (Gen 9:6)
Not only does this warn an individual murderer but it also serves as a warning to any violence-prone society. In a society that glorifies violence in video games, television shows, and movies, is it any wonder that such atrocities are acted out in real life? Just notice how prevalent and graphically portrayed murder and mayhem are in our media.
How do we change this culture? Let me offer you two pieces of literature to wash our minds from this assault on our humanity. They present a plan for overcoming such violent behavior. Read our free article Break the Pattern of Violence by Phil Sena and Youth Violence - What Difference Can Parents Make? by John Ogwyn.