Our thoughts are with the families of the victims killed in the recent shooting at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church. Notably, yesterday's Knoxville News Sentinel has a story with the headline, "Church shooting gives victim pause on the death penalty." Here's an excerpt:
Three days after being shot at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church, Joe Barnhart's stance on capital punishment has weakened.
Barnhart - struck in the back by at least 20 pellets - had previously been a supporter of the death penalty.
But the injury to three of his family members, and the death of Linda Kraeger, a close friend with whom he co-authored books, has put doubt in his mind.
Kraeger, 61, opposed the death penalty. Now, Barnhart is recalling his friend's moral argument against the death penalty, and he's not sure he can support it.
"She might be right," Barnhart said of Kraeger's opposition to capital punishment. But the gunman "should never see the light of day."
Barnhart - in stable condition and recovering well at University of Tennessee Medical Center - said he was hit in the back Sunday by shotgun pellets while going to the ground to assist Kraeger.
"She was not getting up," he said.
Three of Joe Barnhart's other family members were injured by the gunfire, and co-author Kraeger was killed in the shooting at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church.