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Death Penalty and Race

November 06, 1986

Your editorial reminded me of my own ignorance as a young white adult in segregated Arkansas.

Having been reared in a sparsely populated rural community where prejudice was not taught in the home, my education began upon moving to the city and into the job market.

A white man, who held some grudge against a black elevator operator, casually walked into the department store where the man was employed and shot him. I naively commented to my boss on the stupidity of risking the death sentence over such trivia.

My boss, deadly serious, asked, "Have you ever heard of a white man getting the chair for killing a Negro?" He was right; the man walked free.

The imbalance of our justice system is but one of the reasons I can never support the death sentence.

LOUISE SMITH

Tujunga

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