There is a great sense of relief here in the Washington, D.C. area, where the authorities appear to have apprehended the two guys responsible for the sniper killings. If the two are indeed the perpetrators, one hopes the death penalty awaits them. Maryland rarely executes anyone and currently has a death penalty moratorium. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend supports the moratorium; Bob Ehrlich, her Republican guberantorial opponent, does not. Willl this become a last minute election issue? Virginia has no moratorium and is not particularly bashful when it comes to the death penalty. One of the apparent participants is 17 years old. Death penalty opponents understandably take particular exception to the execution of teenagers. Depending on the facts, though, the case for executing this 17year-old might become compelling to those with an open mind on the issue. We still don’t know much about what motivated the alleged sniper team. If it turns out to be some combination of extortion and sympathy for Al Qaeda, many liberals may be reluctant to argue against the death penalty in this case.
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