Death Penalty and Death Row in USA

Fight the Death
Penalty in USA

Comments from visitors - 2000

Date: Thu, 14 Dec 2000 19:19:04 -0800
From: Sara, USA

bravo on your web site. IT provides both sides, on a highly controversial subject, something not done usually, as one side tries to blind their disciples to the other. I appreciated reading your comments, they were without anger or irrtionality which is something to be appreciated on subjects at such high stakes. living in the us I have had many a conversation on the death penalty, and persons should take in the corruption of the legal system. Think O.J. he was as guilty as sin, but got off because his lawyers got jury members who couldn't understand genetic evidence. The people on death row may not be considered people and souls by some, but they are still on this countrys conscience. we are the ones who watched them slip into crime with out helping them out of it. We are the ones who raised them, it takes a village, we promote violence ridden media, we pay the taxes meant to improve thier enviornments.
Regardles of their worth they are ours, they are on our! soil and in our blood. just like the most prominent members of society, they are products of our actions, words and the things we ignored. They cracks they slipped through were on our land. taking responsibility is vital, if you are going to proclaim them as cretins, then are not all americans cretins to some degree, aren't we all murderers and haven't we all cheated? I am not comparing this to the taking of a life, which is immesurable. As it is immesurable we can not determine the loss of one life will replace another. All religions promote unity, and that is what we are stuck with. SO be fore some one condemns they should think of the place where they live. That condemning a citizen of that place is condemning the country itself. One more interesting tid bit : In oregon if you plead guilty you can't be put to death, which means that all inmates pleaded innocent, yet another flaw.
Thanks for your mail
It looks like you're a bleeding heart liberal like me :-)


Date: Sat, 25 Nov 2000 12:01:49 -0800
From: Hans Vockner, Louisiana

For a starter, you are bemoaning the death penalty and that is your right. You live in a country, where they don't have that tool and that is fine, but you have no right to tell us how we have to punish criminals. It is none of your business, how we run our justice system, after all, you are not a taxpayer in this country, hell you don't even live here, what's up with that? Here in Louisiana, we used to have the electric chair, now we have lethal injections, because some bleeding heart liberals find the chair cruel. Personally I prefer a nice BBQ, more cost effective and you don't have to corrupt the medical profession, by having them give the injection. Those doctors sure charge a lot. A simple flick of the switch can accomplish the same and it's ways cheaper. Why burden society with costly executions. Now let's get to your protegee, Mr. Penry. And I quote your writing

"At 21, he pleaded guilty to rape. 2 years later, in August 1979, he was released despoite a parole report full of warnings.
In October 1979, he went to the Livingston home of Pamela Moseley Carpenter. He forced his way in and raped her. Ms Carpenter, a well-liked member of a prominent local family, apparently tried to defend herself with a pair of scissors she had been using to make Halloween costumes. He grabbed the scissors and stabbed her. She identified him before dying at the hospital.
Mr. Penry voluntarily went with police, confessed and signed the police-typed statements, even though he could not read or write.
A jury sentenced him to death."

As you can see, this man had his chance back in 1979, when he got out only after being in prison for 2 years for rape. (Here in Louisiana, rape gets you life, period). He turns right around and rapes and this time also murders. And you claim he is retarded, because his IQ is under 70. Well he wasn't too stupid to murder and rape and therefore he should get his just deserve....the death penalty.
I do agree with you on one thing, they should show the execution live and in living colors on every Tv, Satelite and Cable station round the clock for seven days and no matter how often you switch the channel, you'll see it. But it should also be the electric chair and no hood on his head. Let people see, what it looks like to die in the chair and I guarantee you, murder and rape and all the other crimes will drop drastically, once they see (yes even the potential criminal) eyes popping out of the sockets and the head starts smoking and so on. That's when the death penalty will be a true deterrent. Right now, people have no idea about it, especially the criminals, but once they see live executions, they think about murdering others twice, if they know what is coming to them. But that will never happen, because the bleeding heart liberals will never allow a live execution, becaus it might hurt someones feelings. So lets get on with executions, because every day they sit on deathrow, it costs us taxpayers a fortune to feed and house them. A flick of the switch is cheaper, so lets do it.

Comment from Niels:

You claim that i have no right to tell you how we have to punish criminals.
First, with a justice system as corrupt as yours you don't have any idea if the people you are dealing with are criminals at all, if they are guilty of the crimes they are being punished for.
Secondly, I have exactly the same right to interfere as you have as a taxpayer in the US. Human rights are international - exactly like the treaties un human rights that have been signed by the US.

The US invaded Grenada, tortured and killed civilians in Vietnam, sent CIA agents to Chile to support Pinochet in his killing and torture of political opponents. And now you are telling me not to deal with your affairs. Most people would call that hipocrisy.

You believe that "the bleeding heart liberals will never allow a live execution". I have not heard about any politicians - liberals or not - who will allow it.
The explanation for that is rather simple: The politicians fear that this could offend the voters, because the majority have a mind much less primitive than yours.
And they are probably right.


Date: Fri, 6 Oct 2000 20:52:26 -0500
From: Marsha A. Mahaffey, Illinois

To me, the worse punishment a human being could receive, would be spending the rest of your life in a cage (cell).
Being executed would be a relief. All you need to do is think about that to realize it.
Perhaps it would be an idea to ask those who sit on death row what they prefer.

Date: Sat, 12 Aug 2000 22:40:04 -0400
From: Ulrich Tillmann, Bonn, Germany

The actual message carried on this site is more than sad. The US seems to be the only semi-civilized country that puts those to death who fall through the cracks by the very nature of this sytem.
There is no assuruance whatsoever that a defendant in this country will ever get a halfway intelligent jury who is intellectually up to snuff to make a decision of this magnitude- namely whether to sent him to a death penalty or not. What is more and outrages the rest of the civilized world is the fact that Americans don't care about these issues. How stupid do you have to be to realize that within a heartbeat your own rights could be on the butcher block whether you committed a crime or not.
It does not matter whether the action is in your backyard or not or wether you think you will not be in conflict with the LAW or not. It is a matter of humane treatment of others that Americans do not subscribe to because of convenience. In a way it is nice to always have somebody to blame everyting bad on. It's the American principle, it's what makes this country great. Nevertheless the foundation of it all is unjustice and it shines through, no matter how hard you folks try to cover it up.
Let's face it: A country that has this kind of judicial system does not deserve to be treated as a member of the family of civilized countries.
You are pariahs at the outskirts of human existence and I guess it is not getting better when you elect an ultra-conservative dimwit to be your next president.
Comment from Niels:

Thanks for your mail


Date: Thu, 10 Aug 2000 15:49:41 EDT
From: Weldon

I guess to you that the word consequences means nothing.
The law is written and everyone has free access to it. Which means they have access to know what is right and what is wrong and what happens if they don't abide by the law.
Then they make the choice. If they choose to take a persons life then they know that they could be issued the death penalty. So if they know all these things and still choose, I repeat CHOOSE, to take someones life why should we cry for them.
As far as inhumane you seem to forget what the final stage in the trial is called PUNISHMENT phase, That is right not rehabilitation phase.
This is a punishment and when someone takes away the rights of others they have no rights. They have givin them up. That is the Consequence. I am sure you don't see it this way but I don't expect you to. You keep crying for these theives of life. While I stand here and understand that they knew what they were getting into.
Comment from Niels:

You're completely right that I do not see it this way.
What I am looking for is a reduction of the number of killings. And what you seem to be looking for is the most efficient way of getting revenge.
The US also has a choice: To issue laws in accordance to international human rights principles or not. The US choose the latter. History will judge about that.


Date: Thu, 22 Jun 2000 18:55:08 -0500
From: Michele Davis, Texas

You've done an AWESOME job on this website and I'll be showing it to everyone I can.
I'm just watching tv on them attempting to kill Gary Graham - another person murdered in our country and my state (TX) - embarrassed to say that!!!
I'M SICK of watching this happen and want to do something to change it!
Anyway, just wanted to compliment you on this website.
God bless you in your work, Michele
Thanks for your mail - happy to hear you like the site


Date: Tue, 6 Jun 2000 08:47:25 EDT
From: Frank, Austin , Texas

Where to begin? Let me try this.
The death penalty rules as our justice officials have set up is , well.......wierd. We pick and choose, somewhat randomly, as to whom we kill and who gets life.
There are people doing life in prison who's crime was just as vicious, some even more so, than those that we have executed.
You rarely see anyone with money in the bank on death row. The row is comprised almost entirely of poor people even though the rich have been known to commit the crime of murder. Then we play a wicked, evil game with the condemned.
We hang death over there heads each and every day for as long as 20 years.(Torturing most of them each and every step of the way, both mentally and physically)
With some we like to get really sadistic. After maybe 15 years on death row we bring them to the death gurney. And then at the last minute we say " Just kidding. Go back and sit in your cell. We will come for you again soon."
Not to bible thump but those who have set up this system that tortures these human beings really can not believe the rules the Dear Lord has passed on to us for living our lifes.
I know there are some decent men guarding the condemned. They realize there job is to keep the prisoners inside the prison and try to keep the peace as these men and women are marched one by one to their deaths. On the other hand there are guards that get a weird sort of pleasure inflicting mental and physical abuse on the inmates. These thug guards will hear the bell toll for them eventually.
The case of Darlie Routier is as good as any to discuss the death penalty issue. The evidence all points to Darlie Routier being guilty. There are some problems.
No murder weapon. No eye witness. No real motive-prosecutors claimed it was money problems that led her to kill her children. They implied her vanity drove her to commit the crime. They said she could be strict with her children and that added to the crime. The state definitely did prove she was not a perfect human being.
O.K. , vanity , money troubles , strict parent, not perfect. Sounds like at different times a majority of the population. The silly string adds to another part of our weird death penalty. It was said that the silly string was a major factor in finding Darlie guilty. What a joke. I saw the string as just the opposite. If someone had murdered their children you would expect them to carry out the act for years to come. That includes being the totally grieving parent at the grave sight. At any rate the silly string was up for conjecture. The death penalty is weird. Yes the evidence makes Darlie look guilty.
If she did murder her children then we are all the lesser. But the death penalty in this case is not justified.She had no criminal record or history of violence.It was possible she snapped for 5 minutes of her life (which I agree we as a society can not tolerate )The states said she had been thinking about this for some time.Yes we are mind readers and yes we are all knowing and perfect. I think someday soon all of us as members of the human race will find out we were wrong about a lot of things. But not me. I am all knowing and immune from making mistakes.With no eye witness, no real motive, no criminal background the Routier case shows how we have crossed the line playing God.
This isn't justice. It's pure vengenance. The murder of these two beautiful children was horrendous and if we want to kill her (if she did it, by reading the trial transcripts yes she appears guilty but I could not say for sure at least not sure enough to send her to her death. It would have taken the strangest of occurrence for someone else to have committed these senseless murders. As I see it there are a some hateful nuts running around this world who's criminal actions can not be explained. If an insane intruder committed this crime the state would want to know what was his reasoning, his motive. Well the insane fools of the world defy logic) If we want to kill her for vengeance well let's just say that is the reason. Let's not play all these games with so called mitigating factors to help ease our collective conscience. We as a decent society know we have to have a system for dealing with violence and murder.
WE HAVE TO DEAL WITH THESE PEOPLE ON THEIR OWN LEVEL. But the death penalty as it is now is not right. If we decide that our only answer is to execute murderers, then maybe it should be if you murder, and we are right at about 100% sure you are guilty, you are murdered.
Not well ok you only stabbed your victim to death with 5 slashes so you get life in prison. But hey you over there you slashed your victim 20 times so we will kill you. Weird. I don't claim to have the answers. But there has to be those in high places who can figure out something is not right. If we find the only way to deal with murderers is to execute them we should just do it within a short period of time. (I am on the fence concerning the death penalty - my believing in a higher power has not been a factor in this writing but precludes me from passing final judgment on the condemned ) But I can readily see the death penalty as set up now is heavily flawed. I read where one official said"
If by accident we execute a few innocent people along the way, well that's the price of war."
I think most of us know we will all in some way pay for executing the innocent.Yes most all on death row are guilty and need to be dealt with.But the death penalty rules as set up now are....... well....... weird, hateful, sadistic....... and maybe that's what we as a society are slowly becoming. But I don't think so.
Thanks for your mail


Date: Thu, 18 May 2000 09:58:04 -0400
From: Mary Colangelo, Pennsylvania

Why don't you show the photos of the murder victims these people are responsible for killing -- the police photos of the bodies at the murder scene?
You live in a different country. Why don't you come and live in the US if you care about the death row prisoners here? Pick a large city where you can have a good chance of having murderers for neighbors.
If you need a cause so desperately and you want to choose to be compassionate for another country, why not Ethiopia? Your energy would be much better spent helping people who are suffering and dying through no fault of their own.
Or you could actually spend your energy on yourself and get a life.
Comment from Niels:

I am not interesting in having murderers for neighbors. That's why I choose to live in a civilized country with a public health system, a decent social security system, decent housing system, efficient child care system and a correctional system which intends to rehabilitate people instead of humiliating them - all of which is much more efficient in reducing crime than you barbaric system.
I choose to deal with the American death penalty because I exepected that an alleged civilized country like yours would be open for arguments, but I agree that most Ethiopians would probably be more oopen for arguments than you.
If it is so important for you to see police photos of the bodies at the murder scene at the web, then I don't understand why you don't make a website for that.


Date: Thu, 20 Apr 2000 23:35:57 -0400 (EDT)
From: Linda Quast, USA

Thank you so very much for your page. I really enjoyed reading it and being able to get the links that I needed for a report I am doing on the death penalty.
You have openned my eyes to alot of things. I do hope that you do not mind me quoting you (with your cites and web page) Maybe we all can get a little more educated on the Death Penalty to realize that Murder is Murder no matter who does it.
Again Thank you,
Comment from Niels:

Thanks for your mail. I'm glad the website could be useful for you.
I am only glad to be quoted, and I sure would appreciate to read your report if is ok - perhaps the inspiration could be mutual?


Date: Sat, 29 Jan 2000 20:56:46 -0600 (CST)
From: Brian, USA

After perusing your website and reading most of your (and your supporters) views, I have a couple of questions. First things first, how old are you? Do you have any children? I say this because as a man approaching 30, and also a father, I have alot of strong views about crime in the US and how it affects my family. The majority of my thoughts these days are regarding my 4 year old son, his safety and well-being. Do you know this feeling? Have you ever thought, "I would give my life for my child" or "I would gladly see another person harmed before I see my child harmed"? I have.
Another question, and an important one, I think. Do you live in , or have ever lived in the US? I say this because of your emphatic anti-US statements. It's obvious you are not a US citizen, due to the location of the website and numerous comments you make throughout. Although I find most of your ideology laughable, it's your anti-US statements that really show your ignorance. You have no clue what its like to watch the news every night, seeing the aftermath of violent crimes and learning that most (if not all ) of the "people" committing these crimes have a long violent history. Recently, a "man" here in town had assaulted and violently beat a woman, attempting to rape her, telling her he would kill her all the while. Luckily, the woman lived, and even better, the "man" was caught. It turns out he has a long history of violent crime and had been in and out of jail for years. I suppose this woman's rights to live her life and NOT BE RAPED AND MURDERED were less important then that of this "man". What say you? Would you like your mother to come live here?
The point to all this is ending the belief that capital punishment is meant to be a revenge or even a deterent. The point is that capital punishment does that which no other punishment will do: guarantee the safety and well-being of innocent people from these monsters. If the "man" that had killed poor Polly Klaas had been on death row for his previous crimes, she would be alive today, flourishing and living her life. I say this because I think her death is the most tragic and avoidable of all. How many innocent children, not even old enough to have an opinion on capital punishment, will be murdered or scarred for life by someone that should have been in prison, awaiting their own death for their incredibly terrible life and deeds.
Yes I would rather see someone die rather than see my son hurt.
I know these comments arent going to change your mind, I know youre bound to have some smart-ass response. Thats fine, it just shows your inexperience with life and your maturity level. Just please consider that you DONT know everything. Consider that every "person" you support on your website is a cold blooded murderer and should be taken out of the human race to save lives. Consider that some day you may have children and have the same views I do.


Comment from Niels:

Thanks for your mail.
You're right, you did not change my mind. Actually, I become almost deaf when dp-proponents start blaming me for not caring about the crime and violence. I think it is embarassing to see how dp-proponents claim to be the only ones caring about these problems - especially because they do not offer any efficient solution to it all.
Even if we supposed that the USA would be middle-aged enough to execute thousands of its own citizens every year it would be the least efficient way to provide more security for your children. The number of executions would only increase every year.
If you really want to do something for the future safety of your child you cannot avoid to start dealing with the underlying causes for the violence.
I am fully aware that in the USA you will be called a bleeding heart liberal if you deal with the causes instead of the symptoms. But nevertheless that is what you have to do - unless you want your children to live in a society where everybody are locked up - the privileged (what a bleeding heart liberal, using an expression like that) protecting themselves in their castles with high fences and armed guards - and the unprivileged in max security prisons or in their graves.
But if you look at the causes and the facts you will find that the vast majority of these killers and rapists meet many of these criteria:
they come from poor homes where the authorities have not done anything to support their parents to give them a good life
during their childhood they have been deprived of the possibility of positive experiences, like good playgrounds, cultural experiences etc.
they have been abused my their parents or others in their family - and the authorities have done nothing to support them
they have received insufficient and ineffective education in bad schools
they have have not been offered relevant and sufficient for mental and other diseases
they have grown up in unsafe neighborhoods, because police and other authorities have been more concerned about improving the safety in the neighborhoods of the priviliged
they have been subject to racism
the first time they have commited a minor crime they have been subject to police violence and corruption and perhaps given sentences wildly excessive compared to their misdeed
they have spent time in overcrowded prisons where it was more important for an incompetent staff to treat them like animals than to try to rehabilitate them
they have felt that nobody cared about them
But if you insist on wasting the tax-payers money on executing people instead of solving the underlying causes it's ok with me. Just realize that then your kids will have to live in a society much more unsafe than the one you're living in.

PS: Your remarks about my anti-US statements on the website are probably difficult for new readers of the website to understand. I have replaced these, not because I do not mean them anymore, but because they made people ignore the real mission of the website.

Date: Wed, 23 Feb 2000 11:58:35 -0800 (PST)
From: Mazel Star, USA, Silicon Valley

First let me state, that I am an American.
Second, let me state that I am 100% AGAINST the death Penalty. The underlying point of web site is wonderful. However I do have a question for you. Why do you bring McDonalds, and 90210, and Bay Watch into this? Why is America always criticized by Europe for Mickey Mouse, Levis, and Coke?
If you look at Germany, they try just as hard to sell BMW, Mercedes, and German Beer....
My point is, I totally agree that America is wrong when it comes to the Death Penalty....but, what is the correlation between as you put it "garbage like McDonalds, 90210 and Bay Watch" and the death penalty?
Yes, people do like to copy America, and American things, but, I do not see any part of Europe copying the death Penalty.
Thank you for time,
I hope you post ALL voices on your web site.
Mazel Star


Comment from Niels:

I cannot tell you why Europeans criticize US for Mickey Mouse etc.
The reason I mention McDonalds, 90210, and Bay Watch is that to me they symbolize superficiality, lack of reflections and the wish to live in a world which does not reeally exist.

Just like the death penalty: Most Americans must have realized that it does not solve any problems at all - but "we have to do something about the crime". Of course you have to do something about crime and violence - but that does not necessarily mean that you do not have to think before you act.
It is true that so far no European countries have copied the dp. But for me the issue is not only the dp. The dp is only one example of an uneffective and inhumane way of dealing with societies problems - and I hope that Europeans who see the website will understand that the dp is an example of how bad things can go when you don't use your brain to solve problems.
Besides, I regard the dp as an example of lack of democracy, where the politicians to cover the facts so they can go on using the dp as a stepstone for their own career - instead of making US a more safe country to live in.
Yes, I do post all voices here, but it happens that I am too busy to do it right away - like with yours.


Date: Mon, 09 Jan 2000 9:46:32 -0500
From: Claire E. O'Connor, US (I grew up in NY, I now live in VA)

Thank you for this web site. I think one of the best articles is about why the anti-DP movement has "failed".
I am adamantly opposed to the death penalty, even though I think most death row inmates are horrible people. No matter how horrible they are, we should not sink to their level and kill them.
I am also opposed to abortion.The death penalty and legalized abortion are both very bad for society, because we become more brutal when we kill people - whether those people are innocent (as the unborn are) or guilty (as the majority of death row inmates are).
I am Catholic, and I am distressed at how many Catholics I know support the death penalty. Your web page has given me some ideas about trying to persuade my fellow Catholics (as well as those of other religions) that the death penalty is wrong.
Thank you very much -
Claire O'Connor

Date: Mon, 10 Jan 2000 11:52:56 -0500
From: Claire E. O'Connor, USA
Dear Niels: I sent a comment yesterday complimenting your web site but I am not sure that I submitted it properly.
I would like to add that I am appalled and disgusted that Margaret Holmes [see letters from 1999/niels] called death-penalty opponents "criminal centered filth".
What about families and friends of victims who think that the death penalty is wrong? Ms. Holmes is saying that these families and friends are "criminal centered filth".
I am fortunate in that I have not lost a loved one to murder. So I haven't been in the shoes of those who have.
But it's clear to me that executing the criminal won't bring the loved ones back, and won't even provide a deterrent effect.
It only works as "revenge", and it costs more than keeping someone in prison for life. Revenge is not a good basis for public policy.
I am a pro-life Catholic, and I believe my stance on abortion is consistent with my stance on the death penalty: human life is sacred (whether or not the person is innocent), and only God has the right to take a human life.
Thank you for your website.
- Claire O'Connor


Comment from Niels:

As you, I don't like abortions. But that does not mean that I think it should be prohibited.
There is a similarity between abortion and the death penalty:
The majority of women who want an abortion do so because they lack the economical or personal ressources to give the child a decent life - and society do not provide the necessary support to make them able to do so. So instead of blaming these women I would blame society for not supporting them and giving them and their children reasonable conditions.
The majority of death row inmates have also been subject to the missing willnes among the politicians to ensure good conditions for them and their families, so in these cases you could also regard the execution as a 'delayed abortion', only decided by 'the people' instead of the mother.
These are the similarities.
The difference is that the problem for the women wanting an abortion is UNABILITY to live up to their responsibility - while the problem about 'the people' is UNWILLINGNESS to live up to its responsibility.

So just as I think that the real efficient answer to crime is not punishment but responsibility towards children and families I believe that the answer to abortion is not prohibition but an improvement of the conditions and options for young mothers.

For hundreds of years, the USA has tried to moralize and punish itself out of its problems - isn't it about time to realize that it does not do any good - apart from improving the self esteem of the moralizers?
For instance it could be a good idea to listen to people like Wayne Scott, head of the correctional system in Texas - see the frontpage of this website.


To comments from 1999