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'Agonies of Punishment'

September 17, 1985

While I admire your forthrightness and integrity, and while I am in agreement with your opinions wholeheartedly, perhaps 90% of the time, I find myself at variance with your death penalty editorial.

My reasons for favoring capital punishment are:

1--A person who is a perpetual criminal and has lived this life for many years is no good for our society. A criminal of this type has used up his right even to exist in our society. He has contributed nothing to the public welfare and has cost us vast sums in trying to apprehend, reform, house, clothe, feed, provide medical care, etc. And who needs him?

2--You have erected a straw man by saying capital punishment doe not deter criminal acts. Of course it doesn't. If the common criminal had any brains he would realize there are abundant reasons for living a law-abiding life, which he has ignored.

3--So you think that putting the worst type of criminal out of his misery is wrong. How about the Americans who were sent to Korea, to Vietnam, to Beirut, to Central America? Thousands of good men were sacrificed supposedly for the good of our country. At the same time we were saving and protecting Charles Manson, Sirhan Sirhan (Robert Kennedy's murderer) and a whole raft of others too numerous to mention.

4--We have a court system whose purpose seems to be primarily to convict or to prevent from being convicted but not necessarily to find the truth. Under such a system lawyers from both sides wax fat and judges glory in a lifetime job.

GEORGE M. PURVIS

Oak View

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