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Fate worse than death

June 10, 2007

Re "Death to rapists?" editorial, June 5

I agree that capital punishment is appropriate in cases of child rape and that such a crime is second to, but not far behind, homicide. Rape causes irrevocable harm for a lifetime in an adult. To a child, it is in a sense murder.

We should allow states to execute such criminals, as this act equates to taking a human life.


Harbor City


The Times deserves rebuke on two fronts. First, the headline is misleading -- what is discussed is child rape (12 and younger) and therefore the headline should have read: "Death to child rapists?" Second, the editorial shows no courage of conviction. While stating correctly that "the rape of a child is an unspeakable crime," it still considers it erroneous to allow "states to execute criminals who do not take human life."

Rape in general has often been called "a fate worse than death," which may be hyperbole when it comes to adult victims, but in innumerable cases of child rape, it is literally true. Further, the threat of a death penalty may be more effective in the prevention of child rape than in the prevention of murder because child rapists are generally acting out sick fantasies, while murderers more often than not have an ax to grind (pardon the grisly pun).


Alta Loma

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