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Van Horn Advocate


Wednesday, July 30, 1997


Cara Alligood

Death penalty justified
for convicted killers

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The June 16, 1997 issue of "U.S. News and World Report" contained an article on the role that vengeance plays in sentencing convicted killers with the death penalty. The interviewers, Shannon Brownlee, Dan McGraw and Jason Vest, talked to many surviving family members who have witnessed the executions of the murderers who killed their loved ones, and to family members of some of the people who died in the Murrah Federal Building bombing in Oklahoma City.

Many of the survivors expressed the feeling that the executions turned out to be somewhat of a letdown, after all the emotion they had stored up waiting for their moments of retribution. Some recounted the torture that their loved ones had endured before their deaths, and didn't feel that the murderers suffered much in their relatively quick executions.

A lot of points were brought up, from religious views on execution to racial statistics. If you have strong feelings on the death penalty issue, this would be a good article to read.

As most people know, Texas executes more convicted criminals than any other state. How do you, as Texans, feel about that?

Personally, I support the death penalty in cases where there is no doubt that the person convicted is the killer. Sometimes a person is convicted of a crime on the testimony of only one person, and there is always some chance that person could be mistaken. Convicted serial killers who describe their crimes and show authorities where they buried the bodies or who are caught red-handed are another story.

The appeals process should be limited, as should frivolous jailhouse lawsuits, but that is another topic for another time. If there is compelling evidence which might clear the accused that was purposely withheld or not available during the original trial, I can understand granting the convict's appeal, and think they deserve a new trial. However, I don't agree with allowing them endless appeals. If they have arguments about the original trial, let them bring all of their arguments up at once and get it over at once, but don't let the process run on indefinitely.

Also, I don't believe vengeance against the convicted killer is proper justification for executing someone. In the article mentioned above, family members often did not feel vindicated upon witnessing the executions of their loved one's killers. Their healing processes required their freedom to mourn their loss, and many of them held those feelings in check during the trials they had to endure.

Execution is a just punishment for cold-blooded killers, but not because the victim's families want to see them die. I think capital punishment must be a deterrent to at least some would-be criminals, and it is certainly the most effective way to keep a killer from repeating their offense. The death penalty punishes a killer aptly, and often in a more humane fashion than what their victims went through.

Editor's Note: Cara Alligood is an Enterprise writer and advertising administrator.


Pecos citizens praised for help at center

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Dear Editor:
The VA Medical Center in Big Spring, provides medical services to thousands of West Texas veterans in a 74,000 square mile area. You may already be aware that veterans from Pecos are recipients of such services. However, you may not be aware of the generosity made to this medical center by the citizens of West Texas. They provide each patient comfort items, recreation activities, holiday gifts, van transportation to and from medical appointments in some communities, clothing and food. They even provide temporary lodging for female loved ones of veterans hospitalized in Big Spring VA Medical Center.

For the past several years, we received thousands of pounds of Pecos Cantaloupes through assistance from a Pecos veteran MacArthur B. Pineda. Therefore, I want you and your readers to know his efforts are greatly appreciated. Moreover, on behalf of the staff and hospitalized veterans of this facility, I thank another Pecos citizen, Roger Jones of Sun-Up Shed for his generosity in donating the cantaloupes.

Community Relations Coordinator

Pecos Enterprise
Mac McKinnon, Publisher
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
Associated Press text, photo, graphic, audio and/or video material shall not be published, broadcast, rewritten for broadcast or publication or redistributed directly or indirectly in any medium. Neither these AP Materials nor any portion thereof may be stored in a computer except for personal and non-commercial use. The AP will not be held liable for any delays, inaccuracies, errors or omissions therefrom or in the transmission or delivery of all or any part thereof or for any damages arising from any of the foregoing.

Copyright 1997 by Pecos Enterprise
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