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'Agonies of Punishment'

September 17, 1985

Thank you for your editorial. Our state needs leadership now! Strong voices must expose the death penalty for what it is--a remnant of primitivism unworthy of today's judicial system.

Californians need to have the facts:

1--The death penalty has been imposed unjustly in the past and will surely be so again in the future, because man can not have perfect knowledge.

2--The death penalty does not serve as a deterrent because most violent crimes are not rational acts, and therefore can have no practical effect on future irrational behavior of others. This has been statistically verified many times in country after country.

3--The death penalty is imposed disproportionately upon the poor and the ignorant.

Beyond these issues, however, is a more important reason why the death penalty should be abandoned. Capital punishment is an example of the very violence and inhumane behavior that we wish to eradicate from our society.

It is inconsistent with the goal of building a healthy and decent world. It promotes vengeance as an acceptable solution to human problems. It denies a reverence for life that respects all living creatures. It is a barbaric practice that appeals to man's baser instincts, not his most noble concerns. It is a testimony to our ignorance and our weakness as a people.

In order to promote civilization, we must be civilized.

KINTA HALLER

Los Angeles

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