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Death Penalty Controversy

March 24, 1992

After 14 years of endless, needless delays, appeals and former California Chief Justice Rose Bird, the time is long past due for Robert Alton Harris to finally pay the price for his crimes ("Countdown to 1st Execution in 25 Years to Start," March 13). With any luck, April 21 will be the day that California becomes a state with a death penalty instead of just a death sentence. We have had enough words; the time for action has arrived.

California criminals have no fear of the death penalty because it has not been implemented in 25 years. It is time to put them on notice that we will no longer tolerate their blatant disregard for the lives and rights of other people. It is time we began exacting the ultimate penalty for the ultimate crime. Harris murdered two 16-year-olds; today they would be 30. But, instead they have been dead for 14 years and their killer lives on. The courts have allowed Harris to fight for his life, but his victims never had a fighting chance.

The weak, soft, left-wing liberals at the American Civil Liberties Union and Amnesty International want to keep vermin like Harris alive at taxpayers' expense. We can save a lot of time, money and heartaches if we line up Harris, Manson, Richard Ramirez and all the gang members and pack them into the gas chamber until it is standing room only. Let's execute them en masse and get it over with.

The only problem with the death penalty is that it is not administered equally with respect to race; this matter must be corrected. However, I do not view this as a reason for delaying what must be done.

Just in case there is any problem finding someone to throw the switch on April 21, let me be the first to list myself as a willing volunteer.

EDDIE J. GAGE JR., Fullerton

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