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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Full of Myself!

Hah!  My letter to the editor appeared in today's Post.  That's two for two -- I'm pretty full of myself. 

The funny thing (not funny ha ha, but, you know . . .) is that I didn't used to be against the death penalty.  There was a great essay I used to teach deduction (The Penalty of Death by H.L. Mencken) about how execution eases grief for victim's relatives and serves the collective catharsis.  Since that time, I have changed my mind.  First, far too many times, innocent people are put to death.  Well, two times would be way too many, and, let's face it, we're waaay over that statistic.  Second, it is SO expensive, appeal after appeal, delay after delay, trial after trial.  Third, really, wouldn't perpetrators suffer more with life imprisonment?  I mean, I know that's a subjective call, but prisons aren't nice places no matter what exercise facilities or libraries they house.  Fourth, isn't time we tried to join the coalition of civilized nations?  Can't we leave the identity of that barbarous, young upstart country?  Other industrialized nations simply shake their heads at a penal code that not only allows execution of criminals but execution of minors. 

Even when I felt all right about the death penalty, however, I would not have thought justice was served by executing  poor, stupid Theresa Lewis [an almost retarded woman convicted with two others in the murder of her husband for (a low amount of) insurance money.  The man who pulled the trigger was sentenced to life imprisonment].  My letter follows to the editor follows. 

I read with great interest about Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell’s “error of haste and not of heart,” which resulted in changing Confederate History Month to Civil War in Virginia Month. I believe that was a good remedy for a poor decision.
If, in a few months, he regrets allowing Teresa Lewis to be executed, I wonder how he will remedy that poor decision.


  1. Yes, I really wondered about this Teresa Lewis case. It got reported a fair bit in the UK press.

  2. Your loving sister has always been against the death penalty...for all the reasons you state and because if killing someone is wrong its wrong for whoever does it...and "the state" doesn't actually do anything...a person paid by the state does it...and I can't believe that is good for them, for us, or for anyone.

  3. The essay by Mencken is excellent and extremely persuasive (well, it's Mencken), but that was before all the statistics came out on wrongly executed people. The practice is truly barbaric. As my sister says, if it's wrong for one, it's wrong. At one time my son quoted to me a famous Talmudic scholar whose name we would all recognize if I could remember it said (and I'm paraphrasing), for the State to execute a man once every hundred years would be excessive.