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'Agonies of Punishment'

September 17, 1985

Your editorial opposing capital punishment ignores the central issue. The major purpose of capital punishment is not vengeance, but the protection of society. Dead men commit no crimes. How can you possibly defend the rationale of feeding, housing, clothing and protecting the Night Stalker who, heaven protect us, may go on living for the next 60 years? Who will assure us that he will not be paroled at some future date for "good behavior"?

I am not familiar with the statistics on the cost of keeping one criminal in prison, but surely it can't be less than $10,000 dollars per year, considering the salaries of the guards and administrative expenses. In the case of the Night Stalker that could amount to more than a half-million dollars, not counting the interest lost on the money invested. Can this society afford such profligacy? This is as wasteful as the money we give the Pentagon for toilet seats and screws.

I say: Kill the Night Stalkers and give the money to the arts in the hope of creating a new generation with better values.

HENRI TEMIANKA

Los Angeles

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