Fast Focus: 'What do you think of Gov. Inslee suspending the death penalty?' Leverage and deterrent 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.

February 23, 2014 

My initial reaction was the dishonesty that Inslee displayed on this issue. He obviously didn't just dream this up after arriving in Olympia: "What should I do as my first act as governor? Oh yeah, I think I will drop the death penalty!" No, this was on his agenda for some time, but preferred to keep this to himself.

Secondly, he is dead wrong that the death penalty is not a deterrent. Study after study confirm the deterrent effect of the death penalty; just Google "death penalty deterrent" to find out for yourself. An average of several studies reveals that the death penalty deters 10 other homicides. Illinois has had -- in just four years -- an additional 150 homicides since the 2000 death penalty moratorium. Simple extrapolation sets that at a whopping 500 homicides!

Thirdly, the death penalty, or more accurately the threat of the death penalty, is a key tool used by crime investigators and prosecutors. Gary Ridgeway, the notorious Green River serial killer, gave up vital victim information when offered life instead of the death penalty. What incentive would he have today to disclose that? The answer: absolutely none!

Finally, Inslee has given lifers the license to kill. You read that right, Washington state lifers now have the license to kill anyone they please because what can you do to them, put them into a corner for a time out? Nonsense you say; well you better go check your facts because Byron Scherf is on death row right now for killing Washington corrections officer Jayme Biendl.

I believe the death penalty should be reserved for the most heinous of crimes, those that show exceptional depravity -- and in the murder of any government official while on duty. Inslee has shown that he does not care what the people of Washington think. This is what his buddy Obama does.

-- TOM SEIM, Richland

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