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Northwest Voices | Letters to the Editor

Welcome to The Seattle Times' online letters to the editor, a sampling of readers' opinions. Join the conversation by commenting on these letters or send your own letter of up to 200 words letters@seattletimes.com.

September 23, 2011 at 3:55 PM

Georgia execution prompts discussion of capital punishment

Posted by Letters editor

We hide from our shame

Editor The Times;

Here is the thing I do not understand about the death penalty [“Georgia executes convicted cop killer,” News, Sept. 22].

An unsecured load flew out of the back of a pickup truck, striking the windshield of the car behind, permanently blinding the woman driving the car. No one asked for the eyes of the man responsible, yet we sanction taking away not only the eyes but the brain and the heart and everything else the person is or owns when we condemn them to death for murder.

Why is the former unthinkable and the latter acceptable?

If the argument that the death penalty is a deterrent to murder were a valid one, then why are murder rates lower in states that do not have the death penalty than for those that do?

If we really want to use executions as a deterrent, then why not hold them publicly so that would-be perpetrators will see firsthand what awaits them if they commit the crime?

Instead, we hide the execution from the public because the truth is that we are ashamed of what we are about to do. We are about to terminate God’s creation.

So perhaps in order to bring about the end of this barbarism we should start calling it what it really is: very-late-term abortion.

— Marshall Dunlap, Kent

A high standard

The standard for execution needs to be changed from “beyond a reasonable doubt” to “proof.” That is, we know who did it and no one else could have.

Proof is too high a standard to function as a deterrence to crime, but capital punishment is irreversible and needs a higher standard.

— David Smith, Seattle

The company we keep

What do these countries have in common: China, Iran, North Korea, Yemen and the United States?

Well, excepting the U.S., you might guess authoritarian government is the common factor. But these are the top five countries for execution by death penalty for 2010. Meanwhile, our neighbors to the north and south and all of Europe have long abolished capital punishment.

With the recent executions of Troy Davis and Lawrence Russell Brewer, we are reminded that the U.S. remains on the wrong side of history, if we conceive that the future will be more civilized than the past.

Since 1964, we have had expanding definitions of what constitutes a hate crime. Yet it seems to me that the death penalty itself constitutes a hate crime, though one legitimized through government. For how much longer?

— Colin Wright, Seattle

Finding the correct answer

Many decades ago as a young student learning algebra, often I would get credit for applying all of the correct steps to solve the problem, even though I came up with the wrong answer. Later in life, I learned that the correct answer was what really mattered.

It seems to me that we as a society give ourselves the same credit in capital-punishment cases. As long as we follow all of the correct steps, the final answer really does not really matter.

— Gerald Anderson, Mountlake Terrace

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@ rightorwrong - That is actually a good question. I will be completely honest in that I am opposed to the death penalty in any case as I...  Posted on September 26, 2011 at 10:40 AM by christianbuddhist26. Jump to comment
"Wikipedia does not present facts, it presents opinions of like minded individuals that think their opinions are facts." You're...  Posted on September 25, 2011 at 7:48 PM by carrageenan. Jump to comment
I'm sure self avowed anarchist Julian Assange is grateful for your trust in the website he helped create. Wikipedia does not present facts,...  Posted on September 25, 2011 at 7:03 PM by Badidea. Jump to comment

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