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JUSTICE: Crime & Scandal | May 24, 1990



An Unpublished Letter to Los Angeles Times

Does capital punishment act as a deterrent to murder? If it does, then states with the death penalty should have lower murder rates than those without.

According to the Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics - 1988 (from the U.S. Department of Justice), there was an average of 6.6 arrests for murder and non-negligent manslaughter for every 100,000 people in states with the death penalty but an average of only 5.1 arrests in states without: If anything, capital punishment "backfires", producing states that are not "kinder and gentler" but meaner and more violent!

We have the right to use deadly force in defense of ourselves only when we have no other choice.

Executing the sick minds who commit cold-blooded murder has never brought a single victim back to life. Wouldn't it be better to try to prevent the murder of...a loved one than to try in vain to avenge it?

The best way to fight crime is to fight poverty. Although most poor people -- like most other people -- are law-abiding citizens, desperate people are more likely to do desperate things. It's no secret that there's more crime in ghettos than in suburbs or well-to-do neighborhoods.

Sometimes giving mercy is tougher -- and more effective -- than taking revenge.

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