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Death Penalty Controversy

January 28, 1990

There are other things to be said about the death penalty and Harris that The Times failed to weigh in its scales:

* 45 more years of life for Harris means 45 years of risk for prison guards, other inmates, and anyone else who crosses his path if he escapes or is let go.

* Every day that Harris lives will be a fresh day of anguish for the families of the boys he killed. He will never stop trying to get out. There will always be sympathizers to plead his case. There will be no peace or certainty for the living victims he left behind until the day that Harris is dead.

* Life in prison isn't much of a punishment compared to what murder victims suffer. There are pleasures in prison: food, books, television, the companionship of others. These are things that he took forever from the boys he killed. They will be made available to him for the rest of his life, at public expense. He will be fed, clothed, tended to if sick, and protected from harm until he dies, at public expense.

The Times sees injustice in the taking of Harris' life. I see injustice in the sparing of it.

RICHARD HEALEY

Huntington Beach

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