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Death Penalty Isn't a Deterrent to Murder

January 19, 2003

I am the mother of a young woman who was murdered in a still unsolved crime not long ago in Orange County.

It is a profoundly horrifying experience, but I am still strongly against the death penalty. I am very intrigued at the suggestion made in "A Road Into Minds of Murderers" (Jan. 14).

Although all of the personal responses I've seen in the media are from families who seek death as retribution for their loss, there are many of us who do not seek justice based on an eye for an eye. You need to hear from us too.

Some of us belong to such national organizations as Murder Victims' Families for Reconciliation and Parents of Murdered Children. I would never tell a person who has lost someone to murder how to feel or respond, but I believe it is morally wrong to intentionally kill another human being.

This belief is shared by a majority of the societies in the world. Most are not aware that the United States is the only Western country that still has the death penalty. In fact, China, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United States are reported to be the most prolific executioners in the world.

Extensive international research has repeatedly failed to show that the death penalty deters crime. I found these and other facts on the Amnesty International Web site.

While I don't support all of the author's ideas, I think more research into why people commit murder would be valuable in solving and preventing these crimes. It would certainly be a more productive, humane and moral response to murder than more killing.

S. Sudweeks

Costa Mesa

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