Death Penalty Is JusticeOnce again, the editorial staff at...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

November 28, 1993

Death Penalty Is Justice

Once again, the editorial staff at The Sun has presented readers with an excellent example of what Native Americans termed "speaking with a forked tongue." On the Oct. 27 morning edition's editorial page, the "Don't Bring Back Capital Punishment" editorial stood beside an overly large cartoon of the National Rifle Association shooting out the gun control portion of Clinton's crime bill.

If you want to portray the truth, then the cartoonist should have been petitioned by the editorial staff to have themselves represented by drawing the caricature with a Sun editor crossing out the death penalty section of the bill.

Maryland is not returning to capital punishment. Several death sentences have been handed down over the years and the state is not "bringing back the death penalty after all these years," as you have misrepresented. The John Thanos case is merely the first opportunity for the death sentence to be carried out in more than 30 years.

As I was reading the section of the editorial arguing against capital punishment (because of the "overwhelming evidence that it does not deter crime"), I was simultaneously listening to an ABC Radio news broadcast. Ironically, the radio announcer stated that Texas has executed more people in the last three years than any other state and that as a result, the murder rate in Texas has fallen over the last three years -- a fact that must please Texans immensely.

You state that you understand "the public's demand for vengeance." Nothing could be further from the truth.

The public is demanding justice, not vengeance. If the public's demand was vengeful than one would expect lynching mobs or rioting. The majority of Americans favor the death penalty for many logical, non-vengeful reasons. Life without the possibility of parole does not mean life without the possibility of escape or mistaken release, both of which have happened and are therefore justifiable concerns.

One statistic that is ignored by the anti-capital punishment side is the increase in the murder rate inside the prisons. It only stands to reason that a prisoner facing the rest of his life incarcerated in prison has nothing to lose by killing one of his or her fellow inmates.

I must also take issue with the statement that the death penalty cannot be administered without discrimination or emotion. If the majority of murders and other violent acts are committed by one segment of our society, then they should suffer the consequences. . . .

Perhaps the line that states that the United States retains the death penalty despite "the values of an enlightened community" should have read "despite the values of an elitist community." Obviously you are out of touch with the community. . . .

. . . Perhaps you need to step back and take a long look at where the state as a whole stands on issues. . . .

Marshall M. Currence Jr.

Havre de Grace

Poachers

I am disturbed by some misinformation supplied by your article of Oct. 26, "9 Hunters Arrested in Harford Co."

The headline itself is a lie. These men were poachers, not hunters. A hunter will follow the rules and regulations stated by laws governing the state in which they are hunting. A poacher has no regard or respect for such regulations and will take game out of season, whenever and wherever they please with whatever is their choice of weapon. They generally do their dirty deeds under cover of the night where they "spotlight" or blind the animal with a bright light. In the case of the white-tailed deer, the animal stops in its tracks and becomes an easy target.

I am a hunter. I have been hunting for more than five years and have always followed all the rules. As a result, I have never brought home a deer, but this does not mean that I will break the law to put meat in my freezer. I am insulted that nine people who were poaching and blatantly breaking the law have been compared to me.

I am aware that a segment of the population does not approve of the sport of hunting. . . . I would appreciate your news reporters being truthful in the future and calling a spade a spade.

D. V. Buchheister

Mayo

Smoke-Free

The new Coalition for a Smoke-Free Maryland has been formed to get the Maryland legislature, in the January 1994 session, to pass strong legislation to stem the tide of tobacco-related deaths in Maryland.

The coalition is made up of the state voluntary health agencies (the heart, lung and cancer societies), the state Medical Society, the Maryland Congress of PTAs, the Maryland State School Health Council, the Maryland chapter of the Academy of Pediatrics and others. However, the coalition needs the help of every group and individual who believes it is time to stand up to the tobacco lobby . . . and do something about teen-age tobacco addiction and environmental tobacco smoke.

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