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Abolish the death penalty

State executes child killer | July 2, story

We should abolish death penalty Despite my opposition to capital punishment, I too would have stood outside the death chamber wearing a T-shirt asking for justice. Mark Dean Schwab's crime appears so heinous as to overwhelm my capacity for forgiveness.

And this is the very reason why capital punishment should be abolished. One of the government's functions is to keep us from hurting ourselves when we lose control of our best judgment.

Schwab's execution has two unwanted consequences for society. The first is the delusion that there may be closure from death. It is impossible not to sympathize with a grieving mother who has lost a young child, yet it is naive to think that Schwab's death could bring closure to her grief. As an old physician who experienced many deaths in his personal life and professional capacity, I learned to see the death of a loved one as an interrupted letter, whose end will remain one of life's mysteries. The only way to cope with death is to learn to live without closure. The politicians who espouse the death penalty as a form of closure are not different from the drug peddlers who promise few moments of relief from our daily pains.

The second consequence of Schwab's execution is the denial of the very principles at the foundation of a civil society. Once the government sanctions the cold-blooded killing of a person, it implies that people in power have the right to exterminate anybody considered undesirable. And it sanctions, together with capital punishment, abortion, euthanasia and eugenics. The foundation of a civil society is that life is something of value by itself, something that cannot be eliminated for somebody else's convenience!

Lodovico Balducci, Tampa

It's about vengeance

The United States, China, Iran and Vietnam are among the few countries that still use the death penalty. What a sad commentary on our justice system.

Scientific studies have consistently failed to find convincing evidence that executions deter crime more effectively than imprisonment without possibility of parole. That leaves vengeance as our only reason for executions.

We need to ponder the question: "Why do we kill people who kill people to show that killing people is wrong?"

Jean Lersch, St. Petersburg When idealism yields to ambition | June 29, Philip Gailey column

Campaign gives us

the same old politicians

It is rare indeed to find myself in agreement with the St. Petersburg Times. But I must agree with Philip Gailey in his column last Sunday.

Both Barack Obama and John McCain are moving with warp speed toward the center in an effort to attract the maximum number of voters. The "flip-flopping" in both camps is record shattering, although as Gailey noted, a little greater in number in the Obama camp.

Sowhat we have is more of what we have always had, self-serving politicians seeking power. I take my hat off to you, Mr. Gailey.

Lew Reed, St. Petersburg

Crist's net worth is up, but he's low among peers | July 2, story

We get beauty contestants

Having spent the last 15 years of my career as an executive in various corporations as well as the public sector, I was always impressed with the personnel people. They were able to take a dispassionate view of potential employees up front and weed out the ones who did not qualify, or just did not fit in.

In choosing a governor, for example, they would recognize that someone of seniority who has an insignificant net worth and who missed the run-up in property values as a renter, would never be able to deal with major financial issues such as home insurance rates or a falling economy.

Similarly, in the current presidential race, both parties have sent us a candidate without senior statesman experience and little knowledge of financial matters, health care, energy conservation, etc. The debates and campaign rhetoric have been inconsequential to the issues facing our nation.

Who sent us Bush and Cheney as a choice?

Let's face it. Both parties have been sending us candidates who might win the beauty contest, but without a thoughtful regard for the long-term consequences.

Mark E. Reinecke, St. Petersburg

For true disbelievers, the facts are just not enough | June 29, Perspective story

Identity can hang on belief

The refusal to believe facts in this and other instances may run deeper than just simple fear, hatred or partisanship. Perhaps some people invest so much of themselves into a certain political, religious, philosophical or scientific viewpoint, that their identity, their sense of self, becomes bonded to it. The bond is so strong that any fact that disproves even a small part of their particular viewpoint is interpreted as a direct attack upon their own self-identity. This can lead to retaliation in the form of wild accusations or character attacks upon the people promoting such facts (i.e. stop the message by killing the messenger).

If this is true, then you can probably never prove any disagreeable facts to such people. They've traded introspection and reason for the security, comfort, and certainty that their viewpoints, and thus their identity, are always 100 percent correct.

Bret Coffman, Brandon

For black parents, some life-or-death advice June 29, Bill Maxwell column

Home is the key

I feel Maxwell has again "hit the nail on the head." It's true that children need to be taught respect for their parents and need parental supervision, but they are taught by what they see and what is done in the home. Attitudes are learned from parents.

We must teach constructive attitudes and not let our children fall under the control of peer pressures that teach unsavory behavior. Education is the answer, but children have to learn about this at home — the teachers can't do it all!

Bravo, Bill Maxwell. Keep up the good advice and encouragement that your column always gives (and not to just black parents!)

Dolores Heinrich, Treasure Island

For black parents, some life-or-death advice June 29, Bill Maxwell column

Advice for all

Bill Maxwell's open letter would have been equally effective if the word "black" had been removed. I understand that he wrote in response to a specific incident, but all parents, regardless of race, would do well to heed his advice.

Heather Kosinski, Largo

Winning is the thing

There's nothing wrong with the present location or the facility for baseball. When will people wake up and see the problem was the lackluster team? There's a winner now; attendance is up. No problem.

Don Gregoire, Gulfport

Abolish the death penalty 07/04/08 [Last modified: Monday, July 7, 2008 6:23pm]
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