Voicebox: Responses to our Feb. 17 Commentary Page Fear, justice and the children

Posted: February 19, 2004

In the history of Voicebox, never has an issue attracted such an avalanche of comment as the death penalty for murderers of children. The videotaped abduction of Carlie Brucia in Sarasota, Fla., combined with the shooting death of third-grader Faheem Thomas-Childs in Philadelphia, obviously have galvanized the debate. We received more than 150 calls, running about 5 to 1 in favor of the death penalty. Here is a selection:

V. Weisman

Malvern

Any predators that pursue our children and instill fear in our lives and the lives of our children absolutely should lose the right to live. If they kidnap or kill a child, there's just no justification for it whatsoever. My life and those of my children have been significantly affected by this handful of predators. Wherever I go, whatever I do, whether I'm at the supermarket, or the playground, wherever I am, I am in fear at all times for my children's lives. My children are constantly in fear. They have to ask me every time they move even a little way out of my sight. It's horrendous that this small number of deeply, deeply disturbed people have managed to turn a country of 280 million people into a country of people who look over their shoulders at all times and can barely let their children out of their sight.

Frances De Bona

Plymouth Meeting

I was always against the death penalty. Now I am against it even more so. I think this man should be jailed for the rest of his life in an 8-by-10-foot cell. That's much more what is due him than quickly taking his life. Death is no punishment for him. Make sure he stays in a cell for the rest of his life and never leaves.

Rich Hallameyer

Collingdale

The death penalty should be enforced - and quickly. We have the killer of Carlie Brucia, and now this little boy, Faheem Thomas-Childs, killed in Allegheny West, and also now a man has just been charged with this 1998 Chester County slaying, where the body of 14-year-old Sarah Hindle was dumped in the sewer as if it were nothing more than waste. If these vermin are caught in the act, they should be killed right on the spot. If they are sent to prison, they should lose the right to appeal, lose their rights as citizens, because they're not citizens; they're animals. They should be in prison for the rest of their lives at hard labor. Hand them a hammer and a pile of rocks, and say, "Here's the prize behind Door Number One." Enough with this big-screen TV stuff, and the weight rooms, and the pools, and the basketball courts, and everything else. Hard labor, that's it. Tell that to the liberal judges out there who believe these men are worth rehabilitating. They just aren't.

Jim Welch

Mt. Laurel

So far in the United States, we have not found an efficient way to routinely or swiftly execute anyone, and thank God we haven't. There have been so many cases of errors and people unjustly accused who have been found, many years later, not to be technically not guilty but in fact to be innocent. I believe that the death penalty demeans us as a people. Our fellows and friends in democracy don't execute anyone. Why do we? To my knowledge, there is not a single, solitary fact that supports the benefits of executing murderers. Just some vague notion of retribution.

Seanne J. Schultz

Fort Washington

I think we should be using the death penalty much more aggressively than we do today. We live in a society in which we coddle the criminals and make the victims pay for the rest of their lives for the crimes committed against them. We could be sending a message to the people who are out for our children - and to the families of these victims - that as a country we will not tolerate this and will protect our children. I would like to see, rather than spending all this money keeping people alive on death row, a swifter enactment of justice, and that means the death penalty.

Molly Arrison

Atco

I am against the death penalty no matter what. I am for a second chance, but only one. This man should have been in jail. I think the murderer should be incarcerated his whole life without possibility of parole. He should be treated with kindness as the most eloquent test of our Christianity. We are in a civilized world, after all, and we should not be reduced to killing as he was. An old argument, but it never hurts to try it.

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