Justice is the purpose of the death penalty

This letter is in response to the letter written by Lisa Gartner regarding the death penalty (Nov. 8 issue). She has chosen to address a difficult and divisive issue, and I appreciate her willingness to share her thoughts on capital punishment.

While I happen to be an advocate for the death penalty, I am encouraged to see the value that she places on the lives of convicted criminals and trust that she places that same value on the lives of unborn children, the elderly and the mentally/physically handicapped.

The primary purpose of the death penalty has never been to serve as a deterrent, but rather as a form of justice-which it does. Justice is a virtue of social institutions (government) that enables that institution to establish and maintain order in society.

Behavior that is conducive to maintaining structure is rewarded while behavior that is destructive is disciplined.

Every individual born in the United States, or that has citizenship here, is entitled to “unalienable rights” as set forth in the Declaration of Independence.

If an individual chooses to participate in socially unacceptable or morally reprehensible behavior as defined by that institution, they forfeit those rights -this is why prisoners aren’t allowed to vote-and subjugate themselves to the consequences of that choice as established by the judicial system of the United States.

Taking a person’s car has different consequences than taking a person’s life. Yet, Ms. Gartner fails to make the distinction between taking the life of an innocent person by an individual, and taking the life of a convicted murderer by an institution.

The death penalty is reserved for individuals who partake in the most destructive of societal behavior, namely murder.

When an individual chooses to devalue life to the point that they take someone else’s, they forfeit the value of their own life and submit to the consequences established by the government-which has the right and responsibility to carry out the consequences of that individual’s choice.

Joel Smith


Death penalty should be prompt and harsh

In regard to Lisa Gartner’s letter about the death penalty, I would like to explain a few things she may be too young to realize.

Lisa, you are partly right that the death penalty should at least be handled differently. First, when someone commits a capital crime and is given the death penalty, it should be carried out the very next day. And, instead of going ever so gentle with them, they should be treated in the same way they killed their victim.

Letting them sit around and be babied for 15 to 20 years-now that’s inhumane. Punishment is not only to deter others, it is to pay for your crime.

The U.S. Constitution was mostly taken from the Bible. It is written: “God said when someone commits a capital crime, send them to me and this will cease to happen.” That does not mean to pack their lunch and put them on a bus. Whether you are a believer or not has no bearing on the fact it will stop that person from doing it again.

It doesn’t matter whether a person is white, black, brown, red or purple, if they commit a capital crime and get the death penalty, they should die. Racism has nothing to do with it.

One last thing, Lisa. Maybe you should try to get all the inmates on death row paroled to take home with when you return (to your home in Germany). Then you could give them whatever it is you think they deserve.

James Hoffner


United Way supports Joyful Noise ministry

It’s no secret that quality child care is a concern for many Marion County families. The 2004 Kansas Children’s Report Card gave Marion County a “D+” grade in the child care category, in which the county was graded in areas of child-care quality, cost to parents, capacity and subsidies.

Joyful Noise Community Child Care in Goessel is working to improve that grade. Since Joyful Noise opened its doors in 2001, children from Marion, Hillsboro, Moundridge, Goessel, Canton and the surrounding rural areas have received care through the daycare and school-age programs.

Joyful Noise strives to be a stable, nurturing environment for the children who attend, often providing developmental, educational and emotional support that is unfortunately too often neglected in the home.

High-quality child care that Joyful Noise seeks to provide is associated with better cognitive, language, and social development for children-an advantage that may be particularly significant for children who are at risk for school failure.

Joyful Noise would not exist but for the generosity of those who provide financial support for this ministry.

United Way is a vital part Joyful Noise’s support system. In contributing to United Way of Marion County, you contribute to the improvement of child care for families right here where we live-for your children, your children’s friends and classmates, your neighbor’s children, your grandchildren.

United Way is not just a fund-raising organization raising money for far-off, obscure causes. It is a group of dedicated people committed to making our own community a better place to live and a better place to raise our families. That’s what matters. Please give to United Way.

Sheri Schmidt, board president

Joyful Noise Com. Child Care


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