Daily Kent Stater

Abolishing the deathpenalty can save billions

Dear Editor:

In Tony Cox’s column last week, he said he was tired of the “same litany of pathetic excuses … stated (by death penalty opponents) with such unyielding moral superiority.” Morality is a personal issue, and if you want to disregard the argument on “legal homicide” (that is how the cause of death is noted on an executed person’s death certificate), then let us look beyond that and look at the rest of the system.

We can look at the humanitarian aspect of the whole thing. The three-drug combination most states use in executions is illegal according to federal regulations to euthanize animals due to the violent and painful nature in which they bring about death. The first drug works to paralyze the body so that it can not react to the slow suffocation caused by the other drugs.

On average, states pay $500,000 to keep one person in prison for life. To execute a person costs an average of $2.5 million, five times that amount. Considering there are more than 3,000 inmates currently on death row, by abolishing the death penalty, we could save a minimum $4.5 billion.

Cox claims that there are “plenty of outside studies to suggest” that the death penalty works as a deterrent. Please show me just one that does not come from a pro-death penalty organization. Studies around the world have proven this to be false. In the United States, only one death penalty state has a per capita murder rate lower than states without it. The per capita murder rate in the United States has risen since the death penalty’s reinstatement in 1976.

Cox is correct that DNA evidence is beginning to reduce this number of wrongful convictions. Unfortunately, only a handful of states require it in death penalty convictions. In the past five years, both Missouri and Texas have refused to allow the testing of DNA evidence as a last minute halt to executions where such evidence may have proven actual innocence.

There is a litany of other problems surrounding the system. For more information on the death penalty, go to www.deathpenaltyinfo.org.

Jeffrey Fuller

Master’s student in history


U. S. outsources brutal interrogation tactics

Dear Editor:

I am writing in response to Tony Cox’s claim that “torture is not the American modus operandi; it has been the result of poor judgment by a handful of low-ranking American soldiers.” I would like to ask Mr. Cox whether he is aware of “Extraordinary Rendition,” a CIA program which began under an executive order signed by President George H. W. Bush in 1992, has been vastly expanded under the current President Bush and was defended days ago by U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

For your information, the program consists of sending prisoners for interrogation to countries like Afghanistan, Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Uzbekistan. You might wonder why the CIA would bother to send people to those countries, instead of interrogating them right here in the United States. Let me give you a hint. Craig Murray, a former British ambassador to Uzbekistan, has said in an article by ABC News that he knew a case where an Uzbek prisoner was boiled to death. He reported also that other interrogation techniques used “very regularly” by Uzbeks include: breaking of limbs, smashing of limbs, smashing of teeth, pulling away skin with pliers and pulling out fingernails and toenails. When the CIA station chief in Uzbekistan was confronted about whether they obtained any information under torture, he replied that “it probably was obtained under torture, but the CIA does not see that as a problem.”

So I agree with you, Mr. Cox, incidences of American torture are extraordinarily rare and isolated, but the “outsourcing” of these activities unfortunately seems to be quite common. I am sure that you will find a way to reconcile these practices with your strong moral values, but as far as I am concerned, the march of freedom and democracy is taking dangerous shortcuts through savagery and barbarism worthy of the Inquisition.

Emil Kiriloff

Senior business management major