Thursday, November 12, 2009

Memories of the DC Sniper

Yesterday’s news reported that the so-called DC Sniper, John Allen Mohammed, was executed at 9:11pm. There wasn’t much fanfare about it, at least not that I saw or heard. But it was a big deal to me.

In 2002, the American Society for Training and Development was having their annual International Leadership Conference in the DC area. I was one of the speakers. In the days before the conference, there was much concern in the ASTD organization about attendees cancelling their plans, how ASTD could best protect the attendees, etc. Personally, I had many calls with colleagues about our own concerns. My spouse and I had seemingly constant conversations about safety. One of my close friends asked me not to go. Of course I couldn’t cancel because I’d made a commitment. Still, I was as nervous about the travel as anyone.

On the day I was leaving for DC, police arrested Mohammed and his young cohort, Lee Boyd Malvo. Everyone breathed a sigh of relief. And while no one publicly made reference to the events, the fear of terrorism was spoken about privately.

When I heard the news yesterday, I didn’t think about the right or wrong of the execution, but instead thought about the people who were gunned down while doing everyday things: the women who was vacuuming her car, a guy getting gas and one who was mowing his lawn, the woman who was putting things in her car after leaving Home Depot and another just sitting on a bench reading a book. I thought about them and the others. For their families, I said a silent prayer.

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