John Piper has authored a poem concerning the deaths of the Newtown shooter, Adam Lanza, and the Boston Marathon bomber, Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Piper reminds us that their deaths did not deliver them from giving account of their crime. Death delivered them straight into the presence of the Almighty. They discovered they were not dead but alive and that the the pistol pops and bomb explosion were heard on the other side of time. They stood not before a jury of their peers but before the Ancient of Days who is all-seeing and all-just.
Adam, Tamerlan, and the Lady
Was Adam Lanza’s bullet to the head,
With all its millisecond length of dread
And suffering, a fitting recompense
For twenty children dead?
And the events
Of Boston’s bloody marathon—is one
Hour’s bullet-riddled dying how it’s done?
Is that the penalty for killing three,
And ripping off our legs, as if a knee
Can Tamerlan and Adam rob
So easily the State of its last job
Of punishing these crimes?
Perhaps. But not
The Lady Justice. No. In truth she got
Her verdict. Firm. And she is not so blind
That any criminal, by her consigned
To suffer suitably, could ever slip
Away through merest mortal stings, or skip
Her perfect rectitude through suicide.
Nor is her Ladyship so dignified
Among the cynical elite that she
Would bow to their philosophy,
And lose her right to judge—her sacred breath—
By not, at last, existing after death.
As if this bloody universe were one
Long empty triumph of injustice, done
By no one, leaping into nothingness
From dreams, where there is nothing to transgress.
No. Those last pistol pops in Sandy Hook
And Watertown pursued and overtook
Their prey, and echoed like a slamming door,
Heard on the other side of time, and tore
Away the fatal hope that they were dead.
They were not dead. Nor she, enflaming dread.
In her right hand the Lady held the chains,
And in her left the everlasting pains.
—John Piper, May 8, 2013