Death Penalty and Death Row in USA

Fight the Death
Penalty in USA

Comments from visitors - 1999

Date: Tue, 2 Nov 1999 04:11:08 -0500
From: Philip L. McCleary, United States
I have read this web site and find it poor taste.
The one fact that you can not disagree with is that not one of the persons that received the DP will ever again hurt anyone.
People that receive the DP earn it, they are the trash that we can find no other cure for.
I am feed up with hearing that they were poor, abused, or whatever. They still knew what was right and decided to do the wrong thing damn the punshiment.
Find another cause, one that will help real people. Help us protect the public and make the world safe for those that decide to do whats right.
Quit wasting your time on the trash that has never done anything positive in their entire lives.

Comment from Niels:

If you leave it up to me how I spend my time, I promise to leave it up to you how and whether you use your brain.


Date: Sun, 17 Oct 1999 00:56:08 -0400
From: Margaret Holmes, USA

Death penalty opponents are criminal-centered filth.
You value the life and continued existence of malignant human garbage above that of the innocent human beings excrement such as this has butchered. Death penalty opponents have chosen indecency over decency, and have the utter gall to assume that they can forgive and excuse the destruction of the lives of others they have absolutely no connection to.
The rare number of executions of murdering garbage is incredibly humane compared to the horrific brutality these vermin exact upon their 'prey'. True acts of barbarism lay in their acts of homicide, not in the application of legally administered, monitored, and regulated euthanasia.
Death penalty opponents have chosen to align themselves with the advocacy of the killer because they dismiss and devalue the life of the victim. Their assessments are made from bases other than value based moral and ethical judgements that maintain stable and rational societal structures that reinforce collective integrity and personal responsibility.
In short they are irresponsible contributors to the degeneration of collective relationships and the social contract that binds civilizations together as structures worthy of human habitation. In short, they are moral degenerates and ethical cripples; who while decrying mass murder, human bondage, and the extermination of millions in death camps, nevertheless excuse and mitigate the slaughter of a single human life.
They are both hypocritical and intellectually dishonest. Again, in short they are diseased and their sanity is in question. The plague of random murder and homicide is a direct result of their refusal to rid society of the garbage that stalks it.
C.L. Pepper, Chapel Hill, NC
(A proud defender of the innocent and nemesis murdering excrement and their advocates)

Comment from Niels:

Thanks for your comment. You really brought new perspectives into the discussion.


Date: Wed, 14 Jul 1999 07:27:07 -0700
From: A. Giaretta, Canada
This is only a brief note of appreciation that there exists organized efforts to develop an alternative to outdated, ineffectual and barbaric methods of conducting the judicial system. The rational argument against death as a penalty for crime is so substantial that I think it is deeply chilling that capital punishment can even be considered seriously, much less defended by a civilised country's leaders.

Comment from Niels:

Thanks for the mail.
I do not believe the word rationality is in their vocabulary.

Date: Tue, 3 Aug 1999 18:55:22 +1000 (EST)
From: Trisha Erfurt, Australia

Your page was extremely informative about he death penalty and it's impact on people.
It was a tremendouse help for an assignment...
Comment from Niels:

Thanks, glad you could use it.

Date: Tue, 06 Jul 1999 10:28:58 -0400
From: Arthur Durnan, Canada

Your soft-on-murderers contribution completely overlooks the plight of each POOR VICTIM lying a-rottin' in their tombs. Why? Why is it that abolitionists can name all the convicted killers - but NEVER name slaughtered VICTIMS?
That doesn't strike you as symptomatic of the abolitionist position: support for the guilty, unconcern for the innocent?
Pray tell, what VICTIMS' RIGHTS do your Web Site propose?
Where can one peruse your stand on behalf of BEREAVED FAMILIES of the slaughtered INNOCENT citizens? Does your Web Site & its directors harbor a DEMOCRATIC CONSCIENCE?
If so, please publicly support the VAST MAJORITY of Canadians who have LONG FAVORED the return of capital punishment, the keystone of the judicial system. Will your democratic emphasis be "on line" on your Site shortly - or would we be well advised to not hold our breath?

How can ANY punishment deter anyone at any time if it is "on the books" but NEVER IMPLEMENTED?
If 25,000 murders are committed annually, but only 100 or so are ever executed, we should have greater fear of, let us say, Donald Duck, yes? And if, in your view, the supreme penalty, capital punishment, does not deter - and now we have just understood the reason why - how is it that your organization does not call for the abolition of ALL LESSER penalties for any law-breaking ON THE BASIS THAT IF THE GREATEST DOESN'T DETER, HOW COULD ANY OF THE LESSER DETER at any time?
If traffic signals do not prevent all traffic accidents, WHY DON'T YOU IMMEDIATELY CALL FOR THE SIGNALS' FULL ABOLITION?
If security lights & door-locks do not prevent all break-ins, WHEN WILL YOU BE CALLING FOR THE FULL ABOLITION OF ALL SECURITY LIGHTS & DOOR-LOCKS? Any time soon?
Probably not, eh, what? Your organization sorely needs to straighten up & fly right!
Adios, & let the anthem swell!
Arthur Durnan.


Comment from Niels:

Thanks for your mail
You seem to be very concerned about democracy, so I assume you agree that it is my democratic right to concentrate on whatever I feel to on my own website - just as I respect your right to make all the websites you want to about about whatever issues you prefer. This right also applies for the alleged 'vast majority of Canadians who have long favored the return of capital punishment'. But if they prefer to visit and criticize others websites instead of making their own they are also welcome to expose their attitudes her - just like you have just done. Or they could go to some of the pro death penalty websites that you will find on my link page.

Having said that I can strongly recommend you to read the website before you criticize it. It seems that you are very concerned about democratic conscience, so I assume that you are also aware that this concept implies the obligation to listen to other peoples argumentation before you flood them with capital letters.

If you had done so you would have found several writings from my hand concerning the right of the victims.
You would also have learned that, contrary to you, I am concerned about the relatives of the victims and their right to having sufficient help to start a new life. And as long as you have nothing to offer them than a new murder, I can only regard your alleged concern as hypocrisy.

I don't know how you got the idea that I should call for abolition of all penalties. I would never dream of that, even though I strongly question the deterrent effect of penalties apart from in a minority of crimes.
Your comparison of penalties and traffic signals, security lights and door-locks is so stupid that I will not comment on it.
Instead I will concentrate on the issue of this website, which is death penalty, and I am sure that you with your democratic conscience will respect my democratic right to do so.

And finally: I visited your website. Where is my democratic right to express my opinion on your website?


Date: Tue, 6 Jul 1999 09:40:10 EDT

I would like to thank you all for speaking up for the "victims", but I think I can do a better job for myself. Maybe when I finish writing this you all might be a bit surprised, because there are many of us who don't see things the same way that you do.
Nine years ago, I was in a Tx Restaurant having lunch. A man so enraged he felt revenge was his only recourse, drove through the restaurant with his truck and began firing at us. In a period of twelve minutes, 21 people were killed. One died a few days later. Twenty three people including the shooter were murdered. I laid under a table as did the other patrons, scared out of my mind. The shooter pointed the gun at my head and only God knows why I'm alive today to write this. I was no different than most of you afterwards. I despised anyone who inflicted this same terror on me or on anyone else. When I read about inmates complaining that their rights were violated, my reaction was no different than what most of you have written.
But things change. You see, even though the shooter at this restaurant shot himself, there was no closure. There still isn't for many who were in that restaurant that day.
Watching on the news as one DR inmate after another has been murdered by the state has done nothing for my own pain. But not long ago, I decided to surf the web, somehow I found the web page Niels made for Martin and I began to read it. I read everything Martin's shared with us. Just recently I realized this was a part of that web page so I've been reading what you've all written.
In reading Martin's letters, I didn't interpret them as soliciting sympathy from us. I didn't read he was declaring his innocence, I didn't see that he was seeking money for legal aid. I did see that he openly admitted his guilt, he wasn't even asking to be kept alive, he was merely sharing with us,what life is like on death row.
Martin very articulately shared his feelings about life, about religion, about his crime, and how he wanted so badly to be able to contact the family of the person he shot, but how he couldn't find them. I began understanding that he wasn't the animal I once thought anyone on the row was, but that he was no different than a lot of people I knew.
I finally decided to write him personally. I shared with him what I'd been through. Surprisingly, he was more compassionate and even awed that I of all people would be writing him. He felt of all the letters he'd received, I was one who had the right to hate him and to want him dead. But that's not how I feel.
After reading all the letters from you all, most or probably all of you who've never been victims, have never been raped, have never had a gun held to your head, I couldn't help but wonder what gave you the right to talk about "What about the victims?" I actually found more compassion from a death row inmate, that I have from you...the "self appointed victim advocates".
It's been nine years since the massacre at Luby's. It's also been nine years since the shooter died. Yet, until recently, the affects of having been there still exist with most of us. We still are unable to sleep a complete night without waking up from a nightmare. Many of the people there that day still refuse to go out to eat. Although I'm no longer a prisoner of my home, when I am out in public, I'm still anxious to get back to the house where I feel safe.
I've reached out to folks such as yourself. I've tried to talk to you, and in return I get responses such as, "Boy I know how you feel, I was "almost" there that day." Or more than anything I get responses such as "Man, you need to get over it!"
Isn't it amazing, I watch as Tx murders death row inmates, and I've found no closure. Knowing the man who perpetrated the 22 murders I witnessed is dead, provided me no closure. But when I was able to find forgiveness in my heart not only for the shooter at Luby's but all death row inmates, THEN I found closure.
Hating, wanting revenge, was eating me up. Loving, understanding and forgiving is the only thing that has set me free.
I've also had a chance to talk to families of people on death row.
Like many of you, I didn't think to much about them. But after talking to them, I realized they're hurting as much as I was. They will grieve their loss and much as I did my friend who's life was taken that day. I'm sorry but I don't want anyone else to go through what I went through.
This time however, we do have a choice. We can stop this pain. We can stop this killing, we can start making sure it doesn't continue, not by building more prisons and killing more people, this is only putting a bandaid on the problem. The death penalty will never be a deterrent because by the time a person becomes so advanced with mental illness, or so enraged with hate, or so filled with hatred for women that they begin to act out by raping or murder, it's too late.
Most people on death row exhibited signs back when they were kids. That's when this should have been dealt with not after they've acted out. These folks on death row are "society's mistakes".
Many of you have said "I'm tired of using their abusive childhood as a reason to murder." Well, as a victim, then I say, if you're tired of hearing about it, then do something! Quit telling yourself when you sense a child's in trouble or showing signs of having a problem, "Thank God it's not my kid". The shooter at Luby's wasn't my kid either, but this "someone else's kid" changed my life. In other words, that kid you keep ignoring because he's not your problem, may be the adult who murders your parents or your sister, or even you years later.
Please, don't add to the problem, solve it! Take the energy you've spent seeking revenge and put it where it'll do the most good.
I'm begging you. I've seen enough killing in my lifetime. I watched enough families suffer, I don't want to see anymore. The death penalty is NOT the answer!

Comment from Niels:

Thanks for your mail.
My guess is that the hardcore supporters of the death penalty would claim that the reason that you didn't find closure is that you did not experience the pleasure of seeing him being executed by the state.

Date: Sun, 4 Jul 1999 01:28:10 +0100
From: John Kinghorn, England E-mail:

About 2 weeks ago my wife and I returned from a month's holiday to the USA. It was our first visit and it won't be our last. Amongst many other things we did over there, we visited penfriends on death row in Florida and Ohio.
What I simply cannot understand is how a number of states that can be so courteous and polite to visitors (as we found everywhere) can treat it's own citizens the way they do with their persistence in maintaining a death penalty.
Furthermore, when the UK was barbaric enough to kill people in the perverted logic of proving killing is wrong, at least it was all over in 4-6 weeks from sentence (appeals included). Twenty years or more waiting to be killed by the state - what could be more cruel and unusual? Yet cruel and unusual punishment is banned in the USA!
We had contact visits in Florida, which was better than the dehumanising segregated visits in Ohio, but to the day I die I'll never forget seeing a mother in her 70's weeping at a table with her son, in his 50's, who I later learned had been there more than 20 years, or a young man and his wife and child holding hands in prayer all day. I reminded myself I was in the company of up to 26 people the state wanted to kill.
Yes my heart goes out to the victims too. But they include that 70+ year old mother weeping at the visiting table. What was her crime?

Comment from Niels:
Thanks for your mail which I don't think needs any comment

Date: Tue, 1 Jun 1999 23:35:57 -0500 (CDT)
From: "Skogen", usa

i feel that the people on the page have got the right idea on the subject but if you realy talked to them and ask them if they had a friend or a family member who was killed by a person then they might have something else to say or there mind set would be different they would want that person or persons to die but you could be someone that if this happen to you then you still wouldn't change your mind but you never know until it happen so before you say things put your mind set on a person that had it happen to them and you might think different even if it dosen't change your mind.


Comment from Niels:

I have discussed that question in earlier letters, the last one being from January 31, 1999.

But it seems to be very difficult for many americans, not least politicians, to understand that in a modern society politics should be based also on intellect and facts, not only on personal feelings and prejudices.

Date: Wed, 26 May 1999 23:46:10 +0200
From: Madelene Ryskåsen-Jacobsen, Sweden

I think that the deathrow is totally wrong!
I mean don´t we teach our children not to fight voilence with voilence?
Don´t we say that one death won´t bring the life of another human being back?
It is all so wrong, I can´t believe that it is legal at all!
This punishment can take lifes from innocent people, how can we allow that?
Feel free to mail me cause I would like to know more about this, and I am searching for a homepage on Miguel Martinez that his brother made, could anyone please give me the address if you find it?
He was sentenced to death in Texas, and that case was as wrong as anything can be, he and every1 else on deathrow are humanbeings, they deserve to live nomatter what! And if they really need a punishment, then why not settle with prison? Think about their family, it isn´t just taking a life, it is taking someones son, someones daughter.
How can the judges have that on their mind and still give them the death penalty?
So please mail me and let me know what you think! Together we can fight it!

Comment from Niels:

Thanks for your mail.

Date: Wed, 5 May 1999 02:50:56 EDT

Food for thought
Revenge is a negative thought, a useless emotion, that may only lead to further destruction.
Justice represents truth, honesty and the right to be treated as a human being.
The law which states "Innocent until proven guilty" seems to have been lost somewhere along the way. What constitution or specific law states the prison system's right to treat all prisoners in the same, inhumane way?
Why, with all the politicians that work for us, are paid by us, to amend laws, and make things work better (such as the prison system) paying attention to this issue?
Isn't the prison system also designed to help to rehabilitate criminal offenders as well?
Yet, the prisons are overflowing.
M. King


Comment from Niels:

Thanks for your mail.
I am afraid that you have only seen the beginning of this.
As long as the US has no other answer to violence but violence and revenge, as long as the US is more concerned about populistic calls for revenge and degradation and humiliation of offenders, as long as the us is not at all concerned about the reasons for crime - I believe that the prison population will increase faster and faster. And so will the crime and the number of murders of innocent people.
The american politicians have the choice, and it seems that they decided that their personal political careers built on manipulation, lies and populism is more important than serving the interests and the safety of the people who elected them.

Date: Thu, 22 Apr 1999 11:21:58 -0700
From: Dan Gallagher

I agree that there is no place in a civilized and enlightened world for the death penalty. It is a sure sign that humanity has a long way to go before we can be considered humane.
I have seriously considered leaving the US due to the backwards criminal justice system in this society.
The 1980's were particularly frightening due to Ron and Nancy Reagan and zero tolerance. Most states now have taken away judicial discretion in sentencing. This means that judges are, when it comes to their most important and relevant duty, impotent as a justice meter.
Many judges have resigned due to this dilemma. One of our state (Washington) Supreme Court judges resigned a few years ago due to his concern over the death penalty. "Utter" is his name. It is morally reprehensible and inconsistent and hypocritical to our stated morality of "thou shall not kill".
Why people are willing to live with this barbarity is beyond me. What message does this send to our youth? But we hide away the harsh truth from our young because we know that, in reality, the practice of killing our own because we feel justified is wrong.
Most of the homicides committed are done by people who feel justified.
If not, then they have a mental disease which needs treatment. But we are a bloodthirsty society, raised on blood sport with both television and contact sports, wars and competition.
Survival of the fittest is nature, they say, let the weak die.
Oh, the horror.


Comment from Niels:

Thanks for your mail.
Talking about what kind of message this brutality sends to the American youth, I think the message is that you do not have to respect human lives.

This message was quite well understood by the two teenagers at Columbine High School, Littleton, Colorado, the other day when they killed 15 persons. And as long as the American states continue their state sanctioned killing of their own citicens the message will probably be understood by an increasing number of people, including juveniles.


Date: Thu, 6 May 1999 17:10:44 -0700 (PDT)
From: Dan Gallagher, USA

Hey Niels,

Thanks for having the balls to tell it like it is and answer all the bloodthirsty "pro-murder" citizens of this world. How some people can get so confused about what's good for the survivors of murder victims is confusing to me.
How can it possibly be OK to murder the murderer?
What does this evidence about the logic of the thought processes involved?
First, you need to take a moral stand on whether murder is OK under any circumstance.
I say "No!" Th only time that killing is justified under my belief system is when it is in defense of one's self or another from being maimed or killed.
If you agree, then you cannot support the death penalty.
If you agree and still support the DP, then you are illogical.
The massacre at Columbine High School is an example of the results of teaching our children that it is OK to kill as long as you feel justified. Those kids felt justified in what they did. Knowing that the State would take their lives for what they did, they killed themselves.
Why else? They were no more mentally unstable than the average 17 year old, according to friends. We reap what we sow.

What message does our government send to children when we kill our own?
These are the questions you must ask if you wish to resolve this DP issue so you can live with what your government does to its own. This is because what you authorize your government to do, you are doing. You are killing those on death row. You are.
Are the Serbians not responsible for the actions of Milosovich? Take responsibilty.
Finally, it is clear that we kill innocent defendants wrongfully convicted. DNA science is allowing individuals on death row to walk free, not just get a life in prison.

Can you live with the knowledge that even 1 person is wrongfully executed by your government. What is that person was your own father, brother, son? I hope not, for if you answer "yes" then I am more afraid of you than the murderers who kill openly, because you kill with silent approval and endorsement, having others do it for you.
There is no ethical, economical, logical purpose or reason behind the DP. It is simply blind vengeance, frequently misplaced, costing us our very souls.
Isn't that reason enough to rid ourselves of this putrid behavior?


Comment from Niels

I don't like to say this. But quite honestly I do not believe the majority of dp proponents give a damn about the feelings of the victims and their relatives.
The politicians who support the dp do so because they have nothing to offer but a populistic pandering to the lowest instincts among their voters.
And the man in the street has been raised to believe that the wish for revenge is part of a desirable and proud character, partly due to the influence of his elected politicians.
We often hear about victims relatives waiting for the execution of the murderer, expecting that it will bring them releif from their pain. And the politicians leave them with this hopeless and perspectiveless feeling and sick way of dealing with their grief.
But the politicians never tell us about how these people feel 1-2-5-10 years after the execution. Nobody has - to my knowledge - ever made a research about which impact the execution of the murderer had on the lives of these relatives.
Why not?
Because nobody cares.
These people made the headlines at the time of the execution and contributed to the popularity of the prosecutor who provided the death penalty sentence, the popularity the governor who rejected the plea for clemency, and the popularity of the politicians who claim to be tough on crime.
These relatives did their job making the headlines - and now nobody cares about them.

I agree with you about the problem of silent approval and endorsement of state sanctioned murdering. I remember a death row inmate saying that the worst about his coming execution was the anonymity. He would prefer to be tied to a pole and stoned to death by the members of the jury who sentenced him to death - so at least he could see the faces of those who killed him.
But the problem is that these pro-dp people who still live in the past of the wild west, they do have the same primitive minds as did the heroes in the westerns, but they lack the guts that the westerns intended to show.
At least it was an argument at this time that you had to execute a cold blooded murderer to protect society against him. But you have to be sick to say that for a nation that can send people to the moon it is necessary to protect itself by killing people who are already shackled and behind bars.


Date: Wed, 21 Apr 1999 22:24:59 -0700
From: Ben Corcell, usa (washington state)
E-mail: Robert Corcell,

I feel that the death penalty is one of the greatest inventions and ideas of all time.
If some one commits a muder and is convicted in a court of law that person deserves to die. No matter what race they are, no matter what color they are, and no matter what gender they are, they deserve to die for the crime. once they take a life, they have no rights as a human. they took away someones brother, or husband, or sister, or son/daughter.
they victim's family wants to see justice. a lot of convicted fellons get a hugh sentence and tehn they get out because of parole. thats bullshit! they deserve to die for their crime.
if we take a stand now and increase the death penalty and start killing all the people on death row, we can not only open up jail space but victim's families could see justice. this would also have a toll on the crime. if criminals see that we are executing people for their crimes, then that makes them think twice before comitting a crime. i feel very stongly about the death penalty and i think it is a great idea. if you could please write me back and give me some input on what you think of my e-mail, i would be very appreciative. i am only 16 years old and i am doing a big report on the death penalty. thank you for your time and i will be looking forward to hearing from you.


Comment from Niels:

Thanks for your mail.
I am glad that you say that you "feel" that.....
That leaves a little hope for what could happen if you start to think about the issue.
If death penalty is an 'invention' I think there are other primitive inventions that are just as great - how about breathing for instance?

I think you overestimate the killers. Most of them have the same habit as the majority of death penalty proponents: They do not think, they just kill - and see what happens.

When your report is completed, I'd be happy to place it on the website, if you send it to me.

Date: Tue, 20 Apr 1999 16:34:13 -0400
From: Walter O'Hara, Washington DC USA

Love the page, and agree with your basic point - I've always been anti-capital punishment. However, I can't say that I admire your approach to people who might have a dissenting viewpoint.
Your contempt for Mr. Baker's position (which supports victim's rights) is evident, and your praise for Dr. Robinson (who enthusiastically supports your point of view) is also evident.
I guess you don't feel obligated to present an objective view... sometimes that's what being passionate about an issue is all about. Just don't pretend to be objective.
Walter O'Hara

PS: We should all pray for ARTHUR LEE JENKINS (I.Q. 69, repeatedly sexually abused in prison and by relatives, taken off medication and set free just prior to committing 2 grisly murders). He is scheduled to die in the electric chair tonight. I just sent the Governor of Va... probably won't do a lick of good, but it doesn't hurt to try.

This message is from Walter O'Hara (Burke, Va) and Audrey Dorfman, Sr. (Lorton, VA)

Dear Governor Gilmore:
We are writing to protest the pending execution of Arthur Lee Jenkins. Mr. Jenkins, who is mentally ill, was found guilty of the murder of his uncle and his uncle's associate.
We cannot express in sufficient terms how distressed we are at the cruelty of executing Mr. Jenkins. Even the state admitted that Mr. Jenkins was forcibly taken off of his medication just prior to committing what is certainly a grisly crime. I know that I'm not qualified to judge the capacity of Mr. Jenkins to discern right from wrong at the time of the murder, but his actions at least cast doubt as to his sanity at the time of the murder. Any reasonable person can come to this conclusion based upon the evidence presented:
Mr. Jenkins has a 65 IQ and definitely is a victim of systematic sexual and drug abuse from his jailor, Robert Clendenen (based upon Mr. Clendenen's testimony).
Naturally, I believe that Mr. Jenkins did a horrible thing and must be punished.
However, can you in clear conscience put this man to death, knowing that the State has a large portion of the burden of blame for his actions? Perhaps this will never be proved in a court of law, but can we as a society say, *beyond a shadow of a doubt*, that this man is 100% responsible for his actions on the day of the murder? Are you willing to make that judgement, sir?
Mr. Jenkins is a broken man, a castoff-- a victim of horrible actions taken against him by his relatives and by the State penal system. We cannot in good consicence kill this man.
To do so makes us a worse kind of monster. We cannot judge him without having been in the same places that he has been.
I beg you, sir, to reconsider taking Mr. Jenkins life. It is in your hands to do so.
Walter O'Hara
Audrey Dorfman


Comment from Niels:

Thank you for your mail.
I do not think I have ever pretended to objective - and I do not trust people who claim that they are.
My contempt was not directed at Mr. Bakers position, but at his critisizing a website which he had not even read. Besides, I am dead tired of all this hypocritical victims rights nonsense - and feel I have the right to express that on my own website.
I cannot see that I have praised Dr. Robinson. I agree with him, and I feel I am entitled to express that.

Date: Mon, 12 Apr 1999 18:33:47 +0100
From: Nickie Blest, U.K.

Having just watched the most obnoxious programme about the execution in Oaklahoma of a young man, Sean Sellars, for a crime committed when he was 16, I feel obliged to write. I find it totally incomprehensible that a "civilised" country such as the u.s.a. could punish juvenile criminals in the same way as is seen only countries such as Nigeria and Saudi Arabia... certainly nowhere else in the western world. His execution was pure revenge - if not then why deny him the chance to commit suicide by putting him on suicide watch every 15 minutes. One of the relatives of the victims stated after the execution, which was by lethal injection, that he felt that the whole process was too peaceful and that more pain should have been involved. Is that the comment of someone who merely wanted to "prevent him killing again" or the words of someone out to relish the pay-back time. This ritualistic killing of people, whom I know have committed atrocities in their time, in the name of justice surely has no place in a civilised society, and I am proud that we in Britain have turned our backs on capital punishment.
many thanks for listening.

Thanks for your mail

Date: March 17, 1999
From: Jesper Hansen, Denmark

I'm a boy, 16 years old. I live in a country, where we don't have deathpenalthy. Although I think, that if you kill a person you should pay with your own life...
Then other people who would like to kill, they would consider it more seriously.. if they have to "pay" with their own life, don't you think so?
I would like to know your opinion about this, so pleas mail me.
Thank you
Jesper Hansen, Denmark


Comment from Niels:
Thanks for your mail.
You ask for my opinion about the death penalty. I am against, no matter what the crime is.
One of the reasons that it has no deterrent effect is that most of the capital murders are committed by people in a situation where they do not at all consider the consequenses.

Date: Wed, 17 Mar 1999 18:03:10 +0700
From: John Baker

If you really want to allow your readers to make an informed decision about the death penalty, how aboutt giving us the full details of the horrific crimes for which these people have been convicted.
I see that you have created a web page for one such prisoner, I spent about 5 minutes in vain trying to find details of the crime for which he has been sentenced to death. Who did he kill? What were their names? How did he kill them?
Perhaps it is in there somewhere, but it should be right at the top. Also, on your list of impending executions, why not have next to the name and date the crime(s) they are being executed for? Are you trying to hide something? If you want people to make a decision, give them all the facts please.


Comment from Niels:
If you would use more than 5 minutes to read the website before you comment on it you would find out that I do not intend to suppress the fact that most of the inmates on death row have committed heinous crimes - at least those who are guilty.
You would also find out that Martin shot and killed a man, but claims that he did not do it on purpose.
I cannot see what relevans the name of his victim has.
At the list of people who have been executed you can find lots of links to newspaper articles about the crimes they committed.
I am not trying to hide anything, but I do not feel responsible for people who can or will not read.
If you do not like my website, I have a page with links, including links to pro death penalty websites, which will probably satisfy your desire for superficiality.

Date: Thu, 18 Mar 1999 02:31:15 +0700
From: John Baker

I was rather surprised at the vindictiveness of your reply. I politely stated my belief that in asking people to make up their minds on the appropriateness of the death penalty we should be provided with the details of the crimes for which these people are on death row. I feel that it shoudl be right up there in front. You don't--but you don't have to be rude about it.
Your comment that the victims names is not relevant is very telling.
Although it is not important to you or to the people who killed them, the names and what happened to them are very important to their relatives and loved ones. If I am being asked to decide whether or not the death penalty is appropriate, I want to know all the details of the crime, etc. Only then can I weigh the facts and decide if it is right or not.
I happen to know someone whose sister was killed by a man executed in Illinois yesterday.He and his friends killed a total of at least 18 young women in Illinois. Please let me list some of the positive benefits of this man's execution:
1. He can never, never kill anyone again, in or out of prison
2. His victim's relatives never have to hear him gloat about his crimes, or read interviews with him, etc.
3. Nobody will have to fear this man's escaping from prison.
4. Locking up a man for the rest of his natural life is no less cruel than putting him to death. A number of death row inmates must agree, and they have opted for early execution.
You don't have to agree with me, as I am sure you don't, but belittling people who do not agree with your point of view will not gain you any followers!
By the way, you can cross Andrew Kokoraleis' name off your list.


After you have criticized a website which you have not even read I do not think you are in a position to decide who is rude.
I do not know where you got the idea that the identity of the victims are not important to the murderers - at least it is not based on facts.
But it is not important to me in a discussion about the death penalty.
No matter who the victims are the death penalty is barbaric and has no other purpose than to satisfy the urge for revenge and bloodthirst - and demonstrate contempt for international treaties and human life.
I am not at all impressed by your alleged concern for the relatives of the victims as long as you have nothing else to offer them than to hurt the family of the murderer.
If you really are so concerned about previous and future victims, I suggest you do something to fight the crime instead of dehumanizing the criminals. I think most criminologists will agree that the American penalty system - from probation to death penalty - serves no other purpose than to humiliate the offenders and make them even more bitter and helpless. Instead of trying to rehabilitate them like it is done in modern systems.
If you really are so concerned about what is most cruel against the inmates on death row I suggest you ask them about their opinion. It is correct that some of them have 'volunteered', but nobody who knows a little about how they are being treated like animals can be surprised by that.

Date: Febr 21, 1999
From: Nigel Baldwin, United Kingdom

Since the last hanging was carried out in my country in 1964, one of the foremost opponents of the restoration of capital punishment until his death was Albert Pierrepoint, our last official hangman, who said: "I am certain that none of the executions I carried out ever prevented a murder".
Yours sincerely
Comment from Niels:

Thanks for your mail.
Yes, it seems that it is easier for the professionals than for the politicians to grow wiser. Or you could suspect the politicians of having other motives.

Tue, 23 Feb 1999 13:03:09 -0500
From: Dr. Matt Robinson, USA

I want to thank you for constructing perhaps the best anti-death penalty web page on the Internet today.
While people continue to argue about the death penalty as if it was an issue that could be solved by putting forth opinions, the facts are still very clear.
Even when controlling for prior convictions and seriousness of offense, the death penalty discriminates against men, minorites, and the lower class.
The U.S. Supreme Court has stated that, to the degree that the death penalty is biased against any group, it constitutes cruel and unusual punishment and the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and is therefore, UNCONSTITUTIONAL.
For that reason and that reason alone, no real American can support the death penalty despite the sometimes logical reasons to do so.
If something violates the U.S. Constitution, it cannot and should not be supported by American citizens.


Comment from Niels:

Thanks for your mail - and for your comments concerning the website _blush_blush_
I do agree with you that it is 'Un-American' to support the death penalty.
But I think it is important to stress that it is not only a constitutional issue.
I have been criticized by many americans for interfering in American affairs. I would agree if it was only a question of whether the death penalty is constitutional or not. But no matter what the Constitution might say, the death penalty is still a violation of UN's Declaration of Human Rights, which the US has signed and it is a violation of general human dignity - which gives me and all other members of the international society not only the right but also the obligation to protest.

Date: Sat, 30 Jan 1999 22:15:47 +0000
From: Craig Tock, University of Western Ontario

When will people realize that the rights of the victim are more important than those of the criminal? Why is it okay to allow serial killers, rapists, and child molestors the chance to reoffend.
Why do you believe it is important to defend the rights of these people who have CHOSEN to violate the rights and lives of others? Defend the victims and the future victims, not the criminals who degrade society.
I will grant that there are people who kill in certain situations because there is no other choice, but unjustifiable homocide, rape and child molestation can have NO excuse.
Many of these types of criminals have very low chances of rehabilitation and are a threat to society. The expense that the government and the tax payers must endure to support this scum is unreasonable.
There are much more useful and productive areas that those funds could be applied to.
I have been associated with victims of rape and molestation and have seen the emotional and physical scars that they have endured, aren't their rights more important, and what about their closure.
When someone committs these types of violent crimes upon another in society with NO regard for their rights why should the state or the people be asked to respect the rights of the criminal?
Asking such a thing is ridiculous.
When these criminals committ these crimes they are forfitting their own. They should be eliminated from society, not carried by it. They do not deserve a second or third or fourth chance, the victims of their crime will certainly not get one, they are either emotionally scarred for life or dead.
If you want to defend someones rights defend theirs and the right of others in society to live securely from these criminals.


Comment from Niels:
When will you realize that this is not a question of defending the rights of the victims OR the offenders - but to defend both?
I cannot tell you why it is okay to allow serial killers, rapists, and child molestors the chance to reoffend, as I don't think it is.
I think we should defend the right of these people as well as the rights of everybody else because splitting up the members of the human race into different categories with different human rights is a threat to our civilization, which reminds me of periods in the history which I do not like.
I grant that there are certain situations where the killing is justifiable, for instance if a rapist or murderer is caught in the act and cannot be stopped by other means, but the killing of a person who is handcuffed and behind bars can have NO excuse but cowardness.
I fail to understand how pro-dp'ers can claim to be more concerned about the closure for the victims than abolitionists - as long as all you can come up with is the killing of another human being. I am still waiting to hear how you will bring closure for the victims in the long term instead of providing a short sighted revenge for them.
Until I hear that I can only regard your alleged concern as hypocrisy.
I agree that the offenders did not offer their victims a second chance. Treating the offenders in the same way is an efficient way to degrade our society to the same primitive level as the one of the offenders:
An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.

Date: Sun, 31 Jan 1999 18:44:48 +0000
From: Craig Tock, University of Western Ontario

In response to your previous reply I would like to ask what you think we should do with violent offenders?
I have not heard one reasonable idea other than capital punishment.
Rehabilitation is often cited, however the statistics regarding violent sexual offenders are not in favour of their release back into society, little need be said for serial killers.
Incarceration and institutionalization are simply to much of a financial drain on society, particularily when funds are needed in so many other areas, education, environmental concerns, etc.
Perhaps the money spent on violent offenders would better serve being alotted to feeding and sheltering the homeless and hungry rather than criminals?
The point here is that there are other areas and people in need that are more deserving and only a limited amount of funds.
Secondly concerning incarceration, studies have shown that prison is merely a breeding ground for further crime. Criminals don't become rehabilitated in prison, they become better and more aggressive criminals.
As far as long term closure for victims, that is a slow and painful process and often never becomes a complete reality. I believe punishment of the offender is often a substantial aid in that process call it justice or revenge as you will, it is human nature and no matter how "enlightened" or "civilized" we claim to be this will never change.
Lastly, degrading society to a lower level is hardly the case. The removal of violent criminals from society will only benefit society, increasing security for everyone, I believe when implemented correctly (and remember this has never been done), decreasing crime rates, and of course allowing for the overall improvment of society through better use of finances.
As for human rights, they are deserved only by those who respect the rights of others, I believe that when an offender initially and brutally violates the rights of someone else he is no longer entitled to those rights himself.


Comment from Niels:
What you should do with violent offenders.
In the first place you could try to prevent the development of them - for instance by establishing an educational system, a social welfare system, a public health system etc. that makes all people feel that they are being treated with dignity.
Of course there will still be violent offenders, but I have heard too many stories of mental sick people who have been denied psychiatric treatment if they could not pay for it themselves. So there is another task.
And the violent offenders who remain after that: Lock them up and tell your politicians to provide the necessary funding for their treatment until they are sane - and keep them behind bars if you don't succeed.
I agree with you that too much money are being spent on incarceration, so how about stopping the completely childish circus locking people up for years for minor offenses. This has nothing to do with crime prevention - it is merely a result of populistic and unserious politicians strugle to look tough on crime. A lot of money could be saved there. Probably more than enough to take care of the 750.000 americans who spend the night in the streets. And if not, rich americans could start paying tax. You have one of the lowest tax rates in the civilized world, which can hardly be said to reflect concern for the underprivileged.
Of course criminals don't become rehabilitated in prison as long as they are being treated like animals. Who would develop a better moral if they feel that nobody respects them?
I don't know how you know that the struggle for revenge is human nature. I believe the first reaction for most victims would be to want revenge, but still looking for revenge many years after is sick, and it is irresponsible and cynical for society to support this feeling instead of providing real help for these people.
No matter how many offenders you remove from the street you will still be a degraded society if you do so by the same means as they used to remove their victims.
If you mean that human rights apply only for certain people I suggest you start working to have the American signature on the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights removed. I am aware that you have a tradition in US to reserve human rights only for certain groups of citizens. But this is not the case in the declaration, which takes the human rights seriously. And if US claims to have the right to have its own definition of human rights I suggest that it grants the same right to other nations and stop using force towards them and imposing its "human rights" on them.

Date: Tuesday, Jan 19, 1999
From: T. Russell, Florida, US

It seems as if most of the comments, at least for 1999, seem to be criticisms from the typical homegrown, backwoods sadistic americans that this country has a tendency to cultivate.
As I write this message, I sit less than 20 miles from Starke prison, home of the infamous "old sparky" -- the electric chair which got its name from the sparks it throws when being used and, more recently, its uncanny ability to set the unfortunate inmates' hair on fire.
This particular instance happened in September of 1997, which drew some public criticism.
The state's response to this was to propose an amendment for the 1998 election that increased the state's power over the federal government's power to intervene in capital trials, denied the postponing of executions in instances where the equipment is malfunctioning, and finally, made it so that a form of execution had to be deemed "cruel AND unusual" as opposed to "cruel OR unusual" for it to be unconstitutional.
Of course, the amendment passed with something like 70% in favor.
All of this I see as pure sadism, forgetting that capital felons, as reprehensable as their actions may be, are still human beings and are subject to their environmental conditions.
Also, people like 'Hannibal Lector' use the spread between theory and reality to push their point through.
On one hand, they say, the justice system is perfectly fair in choosing fair and impartial attorneys, judges, and juries, and is blind to race.
Yet, on the other hand -- look at how corrupt our system is in letting prisoners sue over peanut butter. The two are completely different worlds.
In conclusion, I would like to commend the efforts of the civilized people of Denmark and the rest of the global community in putting pressure on the US to make our governments aware of the western standard of human rights. Thank You
T. Russell


Comment from Niels:

Thanks for your mail.

I cannot speak on behalf of the people of Denmark, but I promise that I will keep on with the pressure.
And it is my impression that there is a growing awareness in Denmark and the rest of Scandinavia of USA's violations of basic human rights - and most people here find it completely ridicilous and childish when they hear about the maniacal American system of sueing people for just about anything, including lack of peanut butter.
I am happy to live in a part of the world where the majority realize that most problems are best solved outside the courtrooms.
But unfortunately there are also people here who can think of nothing but punishment as an answer to the problems - and this is also one of the reasons that I put up this website - to show how bad things can turn out if you choose this "problem solution method" as in the USA.

Date: Thu, 7 Jan 1999 22:23:11 -0800
From: Hannibal Lecter

Dear misinformed web master,
Contrary to what you may think you know about the U.S., we are not a biggotory nation, nor do we endorse racism in any manner.
There are some racists, but there are racists in every country. You must also know that the deciding factor in an execution case is the jury, which is composed of 12 non-bias people chosen by BOTH lawyers and screened for bias views.
Any jurors deemed to be bias or those who may be affiliated with the defendant are thrown out. If 12 people can decide a person has done something horrendous enough for the death penalty to be implemented just from the evidence of both sides, the prosecution and the defense, I find no reason not to execute them for their crime.
China's treatment of the Tibetan people cannot even be compared to America's treatment of mass murders and convicted felons. You may think we execute people left and right every chance we get, but the fact of the matter is that we don't.
Most people in murder trials get life in prison or a 10/20 year sentence which they get paroll for in 5 years. Our justice system is too leniant on criminals.
I see it every day on the news and in my own life experiences. Your knowledge of jailing conditions is also lacking. The majority of prisoners live a fine life in jail. They get TV, good food, and a place to stay as opposed to being out on the street commiting some sort of felon.
I have a step brother in jail and he doesn't complain about the conditions what so ever. Infact, not too long ago, a prisoner sued for not having the right kind of peanut butter and won. What does that tell you, my friend?
It tells you that living in jail can be better than some of the living conditions of middle class families. Web sites based on hollow information really irk me. As such, yours gets under my skin more than any I have ever come across. Lastly, USA is it's own independent nation and we shall appropriate our justice system as we see fit. If you don't like it, come to America and run for the Senate or the House and maybe you can do something about it.
Otherwise, become more informed on your subject matter before you go through the elaborate means of setting up an Anti-American Justice system web site.
Your little propoganda excerpts are cute, but you need more than just quotes to backup an opinion. Lastly, if you want to focus on violence in America try targeting parents and youth groups instead of anti-death penalty groups.


Comment from Niels:
Thanks for your mail.
I don't think I have said that you endorse racism.
What I have said is that the justice system works in a racist way.
Statistics show that the risk of being sentenced to death is many times bigger if you are black and kills a white than if you are white and kills a black.
I do not give much for your talk about "12 non-bias people chosen by BOTH lawyers and screened for bias views." There are numerous examples of trial cases with black defendants where the prosecutor has succeeded in striking all - or most - of the black potential jurors from the jury without giving a "non-biased" explanation for doing so.

It is correct as you mention that the death penalty is imposed in only a small part of the capital cases.
But the decision about who shall get the death penalty and who shall get another sentence is arbitrary - or rather: It depends on whether the defendant is lucky enough to get an effective defence, or has the money to pay for it.
As far as I remember about 98% of the people of death row are indigent. Isn't that strange?

I agree with you that I need more than just quotes to backup an opinion. That is why I have placed a lot of factual information on the website too - and you are welcome to read more than the front page.
And I could ask you: Don't you think that you need more than a story about your step brother and a story about a prisoners sue to claim that the majority of prisoners live a fine life in jail?

I agree that USA is it's own independent nation. I can recall a number of occasions where the US has used military force to interfere in other independent nations affairs - but you cannot accept that I critisize the US for not respecting basic human rights in it's justice system.
It seems to be ok for you that your president travels around the world giving lectures about human rights - at the same time as his only country executes people because they could not afford a decent defence.
I have only one word for that: Hypocrisy.

Your suggestion that I should run for the the senate or the house shows two things:

That you have not understood that democracy and politics do not belong only in parliaments, but also among ordinary people who are engaged in political issues and use their possibilities to express their opinion and present their argumentations.
That you do not have much knowledge of my private financial situation as a poor teacher. I would have thought that you as an american had found out that it is extremely expensive to buy your way through an american election process - exactly as it is excpensive to buy your own life back if you are being accused of capital crime.

I agree with you that it would be a good idea to target parents and youth groups. Perhaps you could tell me how that should be done. And perhaps you could tell me where it is being done.
Is it in your great public school system?
Is it in the great offers you give to counsel indigent parents who have problems with their kids?
Is it in your great public system for treating indigent mental persons?
Is it your great drug treatment system?
Is it in the great cultural offers you give to indigent persons?
Is it in the great community services you provide for the poor people?


Date: Sat, 09 Jan 1999 01:07:51 -0800
From: llama jones

"And I could ask you: Don't you think that you need more than a story about your step brother and a story about a prisoners sue to claim that the majority of prisoners live a fine life in jail?"
I resent that comment. I find no facts to support your statement that prison is just a beating ground for prisoners. I merely noted one story to show how prison life is for inmates. That is not a rare and isolated incident. I could list a dozen, but I don't feel like going into details for a mere comment to a website.
As far as blacks and whites are concerned, you never will have the same amount of Whites and Blacks convicted and sentenced to death. This does not mean that there are racist ways in the justice system, it merely indicates a difference between various people as far as crime is concerned.
I agree that America is a hypocritical nation in many respects. Our president is not a man I respect and if I saw him on the street I would spit in his general direction.
His foriegn speeches are merely photo opportunities and chances to get away from the American press.
You are right about some issues in particular such as requiring money to get into politics. I find it horrendous that our system preaches democracy yet the candidates are practically owned by the people who fund their campaign. I don't claim to have all the answers, I'm only 16, but I do think that more funds could be thrown in the direction of after school programs and other programs which endorse parent teacher association. I find that in most cases, involved parents usually have more productive less violent children as opposed to those who choose not to take part in their child's life.
I don't agree with your all of your opinions but you do, however, put up quite an arguement and I find your intellect higher than that of the majority of web masters and for that I respect you.


I find your way of arguing quite interesting. You note one story, claim that this one is not a rare and isolated incident, that you have many others but don't want to share them with the rest of us. Where did you learn this way of "logical argumentation"?

I have not claimed that prisons are just a beating ground for prisoners. But I claim that in general american inmates are being treated in a way that is not worthy for a civilised society - and does not serve any rehabilitation purpose at all.

I have never said that you could expect the same amount of whites and blacks being convicted and sentenced to death.
The crime rate among blacks is considerable higher than among whites - not because blacks carry more "criminal genes" as many americans seem to believe - but probably because the blacks in general are poorer and less educated. So of course you can expect a higher rate of convictions among blacks.
What I have said is that the risk of being accused, indicted and sentenced to death for the same crime is bigger if you are black than if you are white - and especially if the black kills a white and the white kills a black.
And the reason for that is obviously partly racism - among police, prosecutors, jurors and witnesses - and partly the fact that blacks in general do not have the same possibility to buy themselves a decent lawyer.

Surely it is a problem that the political candidates are owned by the people who fund their campaign. But it is an even bigger problem that the same goes for the elected state judges, who tend to be more concerned about their next election than about ensuring a fair trial for the defendant. Probably all democratic systems suffer from populism among politicians - but I cannot think of other countries than the US where you can experience the same among judges who are supposed to be impartial and bound only by the law.
"those who choose not to take part in their child's life":
I don't think the US will never solve any of its crime problems as long as you don't realize that there are people who virtually do not have a choice - because they are poor, addicted, have terrible housing opportunities, bad intellect, bad friends, lousy neighborhoods etc.
As long as you prefer to waste money on more prisons, longer sentences and more executions instead of trying to support these people to gain a position where they feel they have a choice your problems will increase.
But when you have a president who intends to solve at least some of these basical problems you impeach him for a blowjob.
What kind of country is that?

Date: Sat, 2 Jan 1999 12:00:45 -0600 (CST)
From: Ronnie Turner, U.S.A. Texas

You welcomed comments so here it comes. I do not understand why everyone comes to these cold blooded convicts aid. They obviously commited murder and took someones life to get in there so what gives them the right to live and have a choice in thier lives. They didnt give their victims any choice.
When everyone comes to their aid think of all the victims families and the ppain it must cause them. They just spent another christmas without their loved ones, and most of the killers are still alive and now supposedly finding religon. That is not fair nor is it right or just. Please feel free to submit this as you please these are my views on the situation, since thier views are so widely publicisded why cant mine be.


Comment from Niels:
Thanks for your mail.
Of course your views can be publicized.
Even if you express nothing but the usual "how about the victims".
Even though you apparently have nothing to offer these victims but the killing of another person.
Even if you have not told what YOU have done to support these victims, for whom you claim to be so concerned.
Even though you have not told why treating the murderers as human beings should keep us from supporting their victims.

Date: Sat, 2 Jan 1999 18:43:15 -0600 (CST)
From: Ronnie Turner, U.S.A. Texas

I just read your response to my comments.
So what you are saying is if i dont do something for the victims i dont have a right or say so in victims rights.
Hello.... this is america. I have a right no matter what i do or dont do. I am not the one who took someones life or loved ones away and now whining that i need a second chance at life. Who gave the victims their second chance. But i am sure you are going to say its all about the victims. Well buddy, it is all about the victims. Obviously it seems you have never been a victim. You dont know what is like to be one, so how can you say that its all about the victims. How would you like to spend a holiday as wonderful as the recent ones without your loved ones, that were so selfishly taken from them. I am sure you wont admit it but i'll bet you would not like it at all. Back to victims rights, i feel that by me keeping them in my prayers is doing more for them than most people. And until you have to go and talk to the families as my proffesion requires, and see and feel all that unneccessary pain and anguish, dont say its all about the victims - it is all about the victims
Ronnie Turner


Comment from Niels:
Of course we have to be concerned about the victims - and offer them much more support than is being done in America, where all you can offer them is simple and primitive revenge.
And it surely would be interesting to know know what kind of professional you are since you don't seem to be able to suggest anything else than revenge for them.
Where I come from we don't need "professionals" for that.
And since you are so concerned about the victims rights: How about the rights of the relatives of those being executed? Are they alse to be regarded as animals without rights?

Date: Sat, 2 Jan 1999 21:04:10 -0600 (CST)
From: Ronnie Turner, U.S.A. Texas

Dear Niel:
In response to your comments to my letter.
There are a few things that i am unclear about.
First of all the comment of simple and primitive revenge.
I would remind you that these folks our on death row for a reason, which in Texas is murder, which i would define as simple and very primitive. So you try to redirect the comments of people by using these words, is it an attempt on your part to in fact redirect the blame here, or is my imagination, did 12 people not find these people guilty and sentence them to death. So, these are the same people offering simple and primitive revenge, nothing more, lets forget about the law and throw it out while we are at it. I think that would be better personally, since we are now going back to our basic needs. That way when we catch these people we can take them out into the woods that take care of business or is that to primitive. Let's keep going here, simple, the word implies basic, such as a need, or at least that's what our comment implied.
A basic need for simple justice, an eye of an eye. That is all we can offer. But that to is primitive right. If it was justice we would do unto the killer what was done to the victim. Burn them alive, take an axe to them, shoot him, rape and kill them, should i go on. I think you get the idea. For you to ask for comments and then step on them as you do deserves these type re-responses. As far as the comment about the killers families, since you have my letters on full display, i would like you to take another look at them. Not one time did i ever refer to them as animals or imply that they should be.
The profession comment really set me off, if you must know, i work in law enforcement and deal with victims everyday. Which i would suggest you try for some time. It is easy for you to say what you do, take your liberal rear and try spending a extended period of time answering the questions, doing the follow-ups, and making sure that these people know they are not alone. When you have done this, please e-mail me back and tell me that these people do not need everything the law has to offer. I would like to see what would happen if all those men and women carring badges throughout our great state were to throw them aside and then lets see how justice is served. You decide which you would like, our simple and premitive ways or the way it used to be. I am sure you have read stories of the old west, lynch mobs and taking the offender out and just shooting him. Now that you know my view on this subject, i eagerly await your response. Besides, in comparison to the laws and punishments of other countries, i would say our criminals have it pretty easy. Should we chop off the hands what steal or sentence them to time served and a couple hours of community service. And this is the American Way, the only way if you choose to live in it, and if you do choose to live in it, abide by it.
Ronnie Turner


Comment from Niels:
I don't know if it is your American or my English, but I don't think I understand all you're writing.
Anyway, I'll try to answer.
Of course the inmates on death row have committed heinious crimes. At least those who are guilty of the crimes they have been sentenced for - and that should be more than 90%.
But no matter what they have done there can be only one explanation for killing them: Revenge.
Not one single survey has demonstrated a positive impact of the death penalty - while some have indicated that the death penalty might even increase the murder rate.
In my opinion we must accept that some (most) individuals feel the need for revenge if their loved ones have been tortured and murdered.
But this does not mean that society should provide revenge.
Society should provide safety for the citizens - which also includes the obligation to try to reduce the number of victims in the future.
And for that purpose you could use your ressources in a much more efficient way than on punishment and revenge.

And it is your right to believe that you support the victims by providing revenge for them. But have you ever heard a victim for instance 10 years after an execution saying that the execution brought him or her relief? I doubt you have.

So I do not have to take my liberal rear (which, by the way, is socialist) and spend "a extended period of time answering the questions, doing the follow-ups, and making sure that these people know they are not alone".
I can fairly well sit on my rear where I am and understand that as long as you are talking about revenge you are indeed leaving these people alone - alone with an urge for revenge that will take them nowhere.
Instead of inviting them to use all their ressorces in 10-15 years (from the murder till the execution) for seeking revenge, you'd better help them find ways to live with their losses and their feelings, and to survive in spite of them.

Talking about the american way: It is your right to prefer the american way - with one of the worlds highest crime rates, spending more money on prisons than on education, a lousy health system, a lousy social security system and a lousy educational system, treating criminals like animals and believeing that punishment is the only answer to all problems.

But then you also have to accept being critisized from people who believe in human rights - and believe that they also apply for individuals in America.


To comments from 1998