This gives me the creeps:
Teenage sniper suspect Lee Boyd Malvo faced a disciplinary hearing in jail for allegedly scrawling the word "Muhammad" on the floor of his cell and writing on his shoes....
After Malvo was taken to a hearing Monday at the Fairfax courthouse, deputies searched his cell and saw the word scrawled on the floor with a blue felt-tip pen that had been issued to Malvo, Barry told The Washington Post. Muhammad is the last name of the second sniper suspect....
When I started this blog, I wrote a few times about my belief that Malvo, after effectively becoming an orphan in his mid-teens, was the victim of grievous psychological harm at John Muhammad's hands. Muhammad, I thought, took over Malvo's identity. Reports at the time said Malvo ate what Muhammad told him to eat, walked several paces behind Muhammad, and sat in cold cars shivering while waiting for Muhammad to finish odd jobs; Malvo also called himself John because that was Muhammad's first name. It seemed to me that Malvo's ego had somehow been destroyed and remade in Muhammad's image.
Later, as I began to read more and more reports that said Malvo was the triggerman in the snipings, and also that Malvo bragged about the killings, I found it harder to feel sympathy for him. And the report today also mentions a casual death threat by Malvo.
But graffiti-ing another man's name is weird.
I still think Malvo underwent some sort of soul-murder at Muhammad's hands. I think on some level he was killed by the events of his life -- obviously not in the vicious way he's said to have killed others, but not in a nice way, either. We don't have to be bleeding hearts -- we don't have to hold him blameless. But we ought to want to know what happened to him, so we can prevent it from happening to others -- and for the sake of the people those others might harm.