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Death Penalty Controversy--Cruel Punishment or Justice?

April 01, 1990

Ted Rohrlich's article "Does Death Penalty Deter Killers? No Clear Answer" (front page, March 23) gives the clear answer that death penalty advocates and opponents are engaged in a futile and never-ending debate. The question remains as to whether such arguing is necessary.

Is deterring murder the only reason for the death penalty? Apparently the opponents choose to favor that as one of the (if not the major) reasons for their opposition. They completely ignore the fact that no penalty for any crime deters people from committing that crime. Is the world free from burglary, robbery, rape, speeding or parking violations? They all have penalties, do they not?

What then is the purpose of a penalty? The dictionary defines "penalty": punishment for crime or offense. The overwhelming majority of people believe that the death penalty is the appropriate punishment for murder. So be it.

HASKELL COLLIER

Whittier

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