Rep. Jess Edwards: repealing the death sentence is the moral thing to do

While in Afghanistan in 2008, I got to know a young soldier of about 24 years of age. She was the turet gunner in the HUMVEE that I would ride in convoy between my Forward Operating Base and the headquarters in Kabul.

She sparkled when she interacted with people. Bright smile, friendly to those around her, she carried herself like a happy person.

A couple of months before leaving, I had another convoy to take and she was our gunner again.

She was sullen and drawn inward.

I asked the convoy NCO what was going on and he told me that on the previous convoy operation, she was the turret gunner. The vehicle got trapped in a crowd. A man began to climb up on the hood of her HUMVEE. She had to use her 9mm pistol and fired directly into him. The man fell back and off of the vehicle to the ground.

Because she was also a combat lifesaver, an additional duty that included some basic trauma training, she came out of the turret after a perimeter was established and began to try to save the man’s life.

In the space of a couple of minutes, she went from the person who had the duty to protect her vehicle to the person who had the duty to save the fallen man’s life.

I will vote to repeal the death sentence because I think it is the moral thing to do.

Once we have eliminated the threat, we then have a duty to protect.

If we can do that for an enemy that wishes to kill us, we can do it for a US citizen.

Rep Jess Edwards (R-Rockingham 4) is a retired military officer