Monday, April 18, 2011

Don't execute in our name

From Friday's Asheville (NC) Citizen-Times, this letter by Jean Parks, "Don't execute people in the name of victims' families":

There are lots of reasons for our great state to abolish the death penalty. The death penalty is not an effective deterrent. It drains our budget of millions of dollars more than life without parole. Innocent people have been exonerated after spending years on death row, and problems in evidence handling continue to emerge. State executions violate the sanctity of life.

Death penalty supporters often respond to these reasons with an emotional trump card. They say the murder victims deserve to have the killers executed, and their families want the death penalty. The conversation usually stops there.

But wait a minute. A growing number of murder victim family members oppose the death penalty. I know, because I am one of them. My sister was murdered in Raleigh in 1975. We believe that executions do not bring honor to our loved ones. Instead, executions continue the cycle of violence and create another grieving family.

Instead of arguing about the Racial Justice Act, legislators should repeal the death penalty. If they won't do that, at least let them stop supporting it in my name and the name of other victim family members.

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