The death penalty

To the Editor:

When someone hurts us or someone we love, our first instinct often is to inflict immediate pain on him/her. Vengeance is a strong and natural emotion, but it has no place in our justice system. The death penalty sanctions killing as a form of "pay-back." We do not torture the torturer, or rape the rapist. Nor should we murder the murderer.

There are many reasons to oppose the death penalty. Since 1973, over 140 people have been released from death row after they were proven innocent. Go to "deathpenaltyinfo.org" to learn more about people who were executed but later shown to be almost certainly innocent. Of all the western industrialized nations, only the US has the death penalty.

Judge Bent sentenced Alan Prue to life in prison for attempted kidnapping, 50 years to life for murder and a five-year probated sentence for conspiracy to commit murder. Alan Prue may be eligible for parole when he is 80 years old. Mr Fortin calls this a "light sentence." Five decades in jail is not a light sentence.

Mr Fortin wrote: "...if one of these scum went out and hurt or killed someone close to me and I went and took the law in my own hands and made it right these liberal judges that we have in Vt would have thrown the book at me and would want to put me to death because I righted a wrong."

Examine Mr Fortin's words carefully. He would take the law into his "own hands and make it right." He's not talking about justice. He's talking about getting even! He's talking about revenge! If someone harms his loved ones, the wrong has been done; he can not "right" it.

Alan Prue was found guilty of heinous crimes. Nothing can undo his horrible deeds. Nothing can "right his wrongs." Lethal injection. Firing squad. Slow death by torture. Nothing can undo what he did. Some believe he deserves to be killed for what he did. That's revenge not justice.

In Mr Fortin's letters to the editor he has called people "useless," "scum" and "animals." This usually is an attempt to dehumanize fellow human beings. The truth is, all life is precious. All life has value. A society that respects life does not deliberately kill human beings.

Marion Mohri

Wheelock, Vt.

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