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Death penalty is not a deterrent

Oklahoman Published: May 7, 2014

How does one respond to the news of a “botched execution”? The implication is that something went terribly wrong, which it did. But the words imply that the issue is the process and not that someone was executed in the first place. I hope we can never say that the intentional taking of a human life “went well” or it was a “smooth process.”

Executions are not a deterrent to crime. Inmates on death row are disproportionally black and poor. Even so, many see execution as a well-deserved punishment for violent crimes. Some say it brings closure and is justice for families. I’m not naive. I know that crime can't be ignored; accountability for actions is important. And yes there are those whose crimes are so heinous that they should never see the light of day. That's called life without parole. But none of us has the power to give life. Exactly what don’t we get about “Thou shalt not kill”?

Edith Guffey, Wichita, Kan.

Guffy is conference minister for the Kansas-Oklahoma Conference of United Church of Christ.


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