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Anger and Grief Over Killing of an Innocent

July 21, 2002

The abduction and murder of 5-year-old Samantha Runnion made me angrier than any crime in my recent memory (July 18). It was a cold, calculated, brutal and senseless murder of an innocent child. Even as an African American, it strengthens my belief in the death penalty. For in crimes like this, children, the most innocent among us, haven't the capacity to defend themselves. One can only imagine the pain, suffering and agony she went through.

I found it almost unbearable to watch as her mother, in the depth of her pain, anguish and sorrow, pleaded for her safe return on TV on Tuesday, to no avail. One can only imagine the lifetime emotional devastation that she and everyone else connected with this young girl will experience from this heinous act.

I pray to God this perpetrator receives his just reward: death. For it'll be a sad day if we ever come to a consensus in this country that justice for a person who commits a crime such as this is three meals a day for the remainder of his life, all at taxpayers' expense.

Phil Jackson



In Texas, there is a system called Amber Alert [America's Missing Broadcast Emergency Response], named for a little girl who was a victim in 1996. Several children victimized in Texas have been found alive. The news must get out in those first few hours after a child is taken--while the dirty dog is on the road after taking his victim. Drivers listening to their radios can look around for a blue Camaro or a black Ford or a person fitting the description with a child in the vehicle.

Let's get a similar law put into effect. If even one or two children can be saved, it is worth the effort. Next time it might be your child, grandchild or neighbor who could be saved.

Virginia Gayl Salazar



Your July 18 editorial, "Tears, With No Answers," asked, "Cannot this nation able to detect a warm engine from space or an invisible planet from Earth devise some way to profile such a predator before a child's life is lost?"

A partial explanation as to why this nation can do one but not the other is that the ACLU has yet to see that it needs to protect the rights of warm engines or invisible planets. But hang on ... you never know.

John M. Davis

Menlo Park

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