How many innocent people are we willing to kill?
The one question that we, as citizens, have to answer with regard to the death penalty is this: How many innocent people are we willing to kill to preserve the capital punishment system? One a year? One a century? [“Restart the conversation on the death penalty,” Opinion, Feb. 11]
When the state kills a killer, it acts in our name: we are responsible. We might be comfortable with that if we could be certain that everyone put to death is a monster who deserved to die.
As long as human beings are running the system, however, it will be inconsistent and unequally applied, as Gov. Jay Inslee has noted. The Innocence Project consistently proves that there are innocent people on death row, convicted on flimsy evidence or trumped-up charges. How many of those are we willing to execute in order to destroy the true criminals?
As a society, we want to punish those who have committed heinous crimes, and we want to provide justice to the families of victims. But even the ones with the most emotionally urgent need for retribution have to ask themselves if they can tolerate the thought that an innocent person will inevitably be killed by the system that distributes justice for them.
Jay Rubin, Bellevue
Wash. is better than capital punishment
My stomach knots every time I cross the Washington-B.C. border. The reason: I’m entering a state where killing others is legally sanctioned.
This sense of palpable dread flies in the face of my experience of folks across Washington. The people of the state are generally friendly, kind and helpful. Your land is beautiful — breathtaking even.
As I drive down Interstate 5, I conclude that the death penalty has nothing to do with the needs and wishes of the people to our south. Killing others — even those who commit terrible crimes — is murder. State execution is a historical relic leftover from a bad time that, like Jim Crow laws and racial profiling, should be relegated to the dustbin of the past.
Please stop state murder. You’re better than that.
David Roy, Vancouver, B.C.