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How 'humane' can the death penalty be?

To the editor: Philosophers and medical professionals can debate whether it is more humane for the state to kill the condemned via firing squad, as U.S. 9th Circuit Court Chief Judge Alex Kozinski suggested, rather than by using lethal injection. ("Federal appeals court refuses rehearing on Arizona execution case," July 21)

Either way, as long as killing murderers remains public policy, the state should not attempt to conceal the brutality of an execution from the public. Killing behind a curtain only serves to stoke ambiguity, such as in the recently botched Arizona execution in which two observers saw the same thing differently.

To ensure that the public is fully informed of how capital punishment is meted out, executions should be recorded and made available for public viewing. Whether or not we like what we see, at least we will know.

Mark Shoup, Apple Valley


To the editor: Just who are those complaining about murderer Joseph Rudolph Wood III's nearly two-hour execution representing? That criminal was, according to some witnesses, feeling no pain, even though he was snoring loudly. My late husband used to snore.

Why should we worry about a criminal whose execution takes longer than expected? There was apparently no suffering, and he was sedated while waiting. To him, it was a restful sleep.

I can't believe some people are getting all worked up about the length of time a murderer rests, snoring, before he finally goes permanently to sleep. Instead, let's use our energies for something that really helps us.

Catherine Titus, Glendale


To the editor: Execution by beheading: uncivilized. Execution by stoning: barbaric.

Execution by lethal injection....?

Marshall Barth, Encino

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