The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

Opinion & Letters to the Editor

February 9, 2014

Death penalty warranted in Boston Marathon bombing case

(Continued)

These arguments resonate with many people – they would not have become standard talking points if they didn’t – but I don’t believe they withstand scrutiny. Here’s why:

First, the fact that the death penalty will not bring back the victim(s) is not the point. Putting Bernard Madoff in jail will not bring back the millions he stole from investors. Does that mean he should go free? Of course not. Punishment is not meant to undo a crime.

The “death-penalty-costs-more” argument is equally irrelevant. It would be vastly cheaper simply to revoke Tsarnaev’s citizenship and deport him. He wouldn’t be a threat to anyone in America any more, and think of all the money we’d save.

Indeed, the entire American justice system is vastly more expensive than it would be if we didn’t go to such lengths to grant a fair trial to accused criminals. The economic argument was dismissed long ago.

To call the death penalty “cruel and unusual” is to turn those terms on their heads. Cruel and unusual is what the killers did to their victims. In virtually all death penalty cases, atrocity is also part of the rationale, beyond premeditation. That refers to horrific, unspeakable suffering of victims, who in many cases endured psychological as well as physical trauma as they were killed.

Contrast that with the efforts government makes to kill murderers quickly and painlessly. In some cases they are rendered unconscious before they die so they feel no pain at all, unlike their victims. That is humane, not cruel.

Then there is the “respect for life” argument: What do we accomplish by taking another life, when one or more have already been taken? Why compound the tragedy?

I contend that the death penalty, carefully and judiciously applied in extreme cases like this, shows profound respect for life – the lives of victims and their families. It tells them, and society at large, that their lives mattered. It tells those who contemplate killing others that they will forfeit their own right to life if they willfully take that from another.

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Opinion & Letters to the Editor
  • Doug Creamer Friends and contentment

    Last week I made my annual trip up the mountain to Sparta. My friends have a secluded home near a babbling brook. Their home and property are a haven for peace. It’s a two-plus hour ride to their home that doesn’t feel that long because I look so forward to my time with this great couple. When I arrive, the conversation seems to pick up right where we left it the last time we saw each other.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Thanks for the honest deed

    I would like to thank the person that found my wallet in the parking lot of Harris Teeter on July 23 and turned it in to the Albemarle Police.

    July 29, 2014

  • cleaning supplies Don't judge mothers with messy homes

    I was building shelves in my garage when a neighbor girl, one of my 4-year-old daughter's friends, approached me and said, "I just saw in your house. It's pretty dirty. Norah's mommy needs to clean more."

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • We need your help

    Hurray for the Albemarle City Council. Council plans to battle N.C. Department of Transportation’s ranking of all 13 projects in Stanly County to the bottom of their priority list. Council is setting up petitions in various city buildings for citizens to sign.

    July 28, 2014

  • Council asks veterans to seek office

    The terms of office for the leaders of the Stanly County Veterans Council ended June 30. A call is being sent to veterans council members requesting candidates for the four elective offices of the council. A meeting has been set for 6:30 p.m. Aug. 12 at the DAV building. All council members are urged to attend.

    July 28, 2014

  • Mike Walden The gains and gaps in our economy

    Twice a year, I pull out my cloudy crystal ball and attempt to make some predictions about the direction and pace of the North Carolina economy. I just finished my latest effort and, as usual, the results are a combination of pluses and minuses.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jason O. Boyd Yellow journalism takes on new form, people are dumber for it

    Time to get on the soapbox for a few minutes.
    Let me clear my throat. Eh ... hem!
    People are dumb.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Brent Laurenz Special election adds to the mix

    RALEIGH – A busy slate of judicial elections this November got even busier recently when Judge John Martin of the N.C. Court of Appeals announced his retirement.
    A special statewide election to fill Martin’s seat will be added to the general election ballot, joining the four N.C. Supreme Court seats and three N.C. Court of Appeals races already slated for this fall.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Patrick Gannon Fake news or sign of some more trouble?

    RALEIGH – Of the three situations I can recall where agencies receiving large sums of taxpayer dollars wouldn’t divulge employees’ salaries, two of them ended badly. The third – involving a group of charter schools in Southeastern North Carolina – is playing out right now.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Almost half of America's obese youth don't know they're obese

    WASHINGTON - The good news is that after decades of furious growth, obesity rates finally seem to be leveling off in the U.S.. The bad news is that America's youth still appear to be dangerously unaware of the problem.

    July 23, 2014

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