Fast Focus: 'What do you think of Gov. Inslee suspending the death penalty?' We can do better As a registered Independent, I applaud Gov. Inslee's decision and note that it does not surprise me. After all, even a stopped clock is right twice a day. -- Bre

February 23, 2014 

When a person is murdered, it is not uncommon for the family of that person to demand the death penalty for the convicted murderer. This is very understandable -- in that situation many people might feel the same way. In some primitive cultures the family of the victim has the right to take revenge by killing the murderer. Since that is not allowed here, the families often feel that the state should carry out the revenge for them. Is this any less wrong than letting the family do it?

Many centuries of experience have shown that killers are seldom deterred by the threat of a death penalty, even if carried out in really gruesome ways. They tend to act impulsively and do not think about consequences. This is part of their disorder. There is, therefore, little or no benefit to the state as a whole in having the death penalty. On the contrary, it is generally far more costly in terms of money and resources to actually carry out all the processes leading to an execution than to just impose a life sentence without parole, which is just as effective in removing the person from society. In addition, an execution is not correctable if a mistake is later found to have been made, which seems to occur with worrying regularity in our imperfect justice system.

I, therefore, applaud Gov. Inslee's suspension of the death penalty and I further hope that in the future it is permanently abolished in the state of Washington and in the United States as a whole.

-- DAVID HIMES, Kennewick

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