Letters to the Editor

 Vol. 10, No. 22

May 30-June 5, 2002

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Cheaper Rock

Dear Bay Weekly:

I enjoyed the article on rock fishing in the latest Bay Weekly [“Classic Rock”: Vol. X, No. 21, May 23]. This was a good format to promote fishing in the Chesapeake. But I find the quoting of Capt. Jim Brincefield’s six-passenger trips inappropriate. The going price for a six-passenger trip on a Deale charterboat is $390. Cost was kept to last year’s prices because of the economy.

— Capt. George Prenant, Deale President. AAA Charterboats

Death Demands More

Dear Bay Weekly:

Bill Burton, in his column on the death penalty [“Weighing Death”: Vol. X, No. 20, May 16], manages to fill four newspaper columns with homespun chat on the death penalty, a subject that deserves some serious thought. He comes out strongly in favor of the death penalty as a deterrent without once offering an argument to support his point. He does offer the following:

  • A long-gone ancestor of Burton’s (Cousin Hawley) did someone in and was hanged for the crime. Too bad for Cousin Hawley, but so what?
  • Burton covered executions as a newspaperman. It was probably difficult to watch, but what’s the point?
  • Burton is of the opinion that the death penalty is a deterrent. Burton has a right to his opinion. Again, so what?
  • Like most people, I would be glad to personally pull the switch, drop the trap, inject the lethal stuff or whatever in order to rid society of a really wanton killer. But I’m not willing, in the name of deterrence, to execute someone who may be innocent, nor am I willing to execute anyone found guilty of murder without looking at the circumstances. There have been too many cases where overzealous prosecutors or police — or both in collusion — have destroyed people’s lives for reasons other than the guilt of the accused.

Burton concludes with the statement that he “will provide favorable consideration” to any politician who supports the death penalty. That’s just fine; we should all take some kind of political position. But once again (I know — I belabor the phrase): So what?

If we accept that a guilty verdict is in itself sufficient reason to execute a person, regardless of other considerations — and that’s the way I read Mr. Burton’s column — then we assault our own humanity. As for deterrence, the death penalty has never been proven one way or the other. Maybe it is a deterrent. But if deterrence is the be-all and end-all, then why not whack everyone involved in a killing? Why not do like Stalin did? He is purported to have said something like, “Better to execute 20 innocent than let one guilty go free.” I’m sure he did deter someone, but at what price?

— Dick Wilson, Chesapeake Beach

We welcome your letters and opinions. We will edit when necessary. Include your name, address and phone number for verification. Mail them to Bay Weekly, P.O. Box 358, Deale, MD 20751 • E-mail them to us at [email protected].

Copyright 2002
Bay Weekly