LETTER: Victims’ needs should outweigh offenders’
To the Editor:
I disagree with Mr. Snedeker’s premise that a state-imposed death penalty is civilization’s original sin. To me, the original sin is the act by the offender that places said offender in the position of having the death penalty imposed in the first place.
Mr. Snedeker equates abolishing the death penalty as “seeing the light” and lists a number of purportedly “good” countries who have dispensed with the penalty, and then a number of “bad” countries who have not. This argument apparently is designed to make us all run toward Mr. Snedeker’s position.
I find this tactic rather sophomoric and scientifically irrelevant. What matters is the preservation of society. Will keeping the worst practitioners of criminal behavior alive and well help our country? Enthrall me with your acumen, and please be specific Mr. Snedeker. You also gloss over the needs of the victim’s family; are they to suffer in silence?
To me, the survivors of the criminal’s act are where your sympathies should lie, Mr. Snedeker. You mention an alternative, namely locking offenders away, out of sight. When has this ever been practiced? In the 1970s the average life sentence was 7.5 years. It has risen lately, thanks to more stringent sentencing, but even that is under attack. Surely you are aware that a “life” sentence is not in fact incarceration for life. I wonder how a victim’s wife/husband or children feel when the offender is released? It has happened many times in my 66-year lifetime.
Good people can disagree Mr. Snedeker, but you suggest advocates of the death penalty sold their souls in said process. I wonder if you have sold yours so you might feel “civilized”?