Opinion: The death penalty kills voters’ sanity
To the editor: As I turned the pages of my newspaper Wednesday morning and reached the op-ed section, my eye initially caught a colorful photograph of what looked like a row of mint-green suitcases on a conveyor belt. What a pretty color, I thought; I’ll have to read that piece. (“The more we confront the death penalty, the less we like it,” Opinion, Nov. 23)
My heart sank when I realized that it was in fact a photo of the gurney inside California’s lethal injection chamber. It was accompanying the op-ed article by law professors Carol Steiker and Jordan Steicker on California voters’ disgraceful decision to reject Proposition 62, which would have banned the death penalty in the state.
Voters’ knee-jerk reactions to symbolism and the abstract appeals to “law and order” are sinking us. Well, OK: At times they’re literally killing us. What happened to our process of critical thinking and what the authors wisely refer to as “engaged decision-making”?
Jane Faulkner, Santa Barbara
To the editor: The authors of the op-ed article against capital punishment make some questionable claims.
In addition, the authors cite the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences report of 2012 and conclude that there is no reliable evidence that the death penalty helps deter murder. However, the authors don’t tell us that this very exhaustive report actually states there is no reliable evidence either way on this issue.
Distorting the results of this report and demeaning the average voter as impulse-driven will not persuade many Californians to change their minds on the death penalty.
Robert Newman, West Hills
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