Letters to the Editor — May 8, 2015

Vietnam veterans to get Welcome Home on May 9


The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7234 in Ocean View is hosting a Welcome Home to honor and thank all Vietnam veterans and their spouses and families on the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War, on May 9 at noon.

We would like to ask a few favors of the community on May 9. To our business partners who have provided food: Thank you!

I would like to ask all businesses with an outside changeable sign to display “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans.” For our friends in the community, could you fly a Flag?

We will be providing satellite parking at James Farm and the former Harris Teeter lot. The whole community is invited to participate in this event. Sen. Thomas Carper, a Vietnam veteran, will be our guest speaker.

Please take time to thank those who served and sacrificed for our freedoms — both the veterans and their families. God bless our veterans, God bless their families and God bless America!

Fulton Loppatto, Commander
Veterans of Foreign Wars 7234
Vietnam Veterans of America 1105

Reader urges action on death-penalty repeal


The Delaware General Assembly, once again, is considering a Senate bill (Senate Bill 40) which would repeal the death penalty in Delaware. Last year, despite substantial public support for this repeal, the House Judiciary Committee again refused to take up the measure, thereby preventing its consideration by the full Legislature.

Meanwhile, two years ago, on May 12, 2012, our neighbor state, Maryland, abolished the death penalty, leaving life imprisonment without possibility of parole as the maximum penalty for any crime. The trend in our country is clear. The death penalty must be abolished.

According to U.S. Department of Justice statistics, from 1973 through 2011, approximately one in three persons sentenced to death in the U.S. were released from prison for various reasons. Only 1,277 (16 percent) were actually executed during this 38-year period.

These data — particularly the percentage of the sentenced that were subsequently exonerated — clearly indicate that the death penalty in the United States is a seriously flawed, mistakenly applied, unjust punishment.

Recently, the U.S. Justice Department found hundreds of cases for which the FBI provided flawed forensic testimony. The cases now in question include 32 persons sentenced to death. Of those, three men are now on death row in Delaware. While these men may be guilty of the crimes for which they were sentenced, how can the State execute them under such circumstances?

Many studies completed over several years have shown that capital punishment is not a deterrent for homicide. In fact, according to DOJ statistics, murder rates are higher among states that have the death penalty than among states that no longer have it. As of 2012, 140 nations have eliminated this penalty. Delaware is among the smallest states in our nation, but at 16 executions since 1977, ranks 10th highest.

Here are some additional factors to consider in making up your mind about Capital Punishment:

• Capital punishment is unfairly and unjustly applied, imposed more upon the poor, and dependent upon the skill of the lawyer, the race of the victim and the location of the crime.

• It has no public safety benefit, it does not deter crime, yet costs more than life in prison due to the cost of multiple trials and appeals.

• In view of the relatively high percentage of pardons, acquittals and case dismissals for cause, there is a very high possibility of innocent people being executed.

• A death sentence greatly limits the possibility of positive or redemptive behavior by the condemned.

• The Supreme Court is now considering whether one of the drugs used for lethal injections has the effect of “cruel and unusable punishment.”

When we hear about or see a person or persons who have been deliberately murdered, it is completely understandable that we may become enraged and may even want the individual(s) responsible put to death. It is even more difficult when a member of one’s own family or a neighbor has been killed.

But what is accomplished by this sanctioned murder to redress a murder? Doesn’t such action perpetuate violence as a solution? Is it justice or simply retribution? Is that what we want?

Consider this: when a convicted person dies by execution, their suffering is ended. Some would say that, through God’s mercy, they may even be in heaven!

Consider the alternative. What would it be like spending 30, 40 or even 50 years locked up for your crime? Some would say that would actually be the greater punishment.

The Delaware Repeal movement hopes you will support abolishing the Death Penalty in our state. If you want to help do that:

• Join the lobby day at noon on Wednesday, May 6, at Legislative Hall. Advocates will be there to meet you and provide resources for meeting with your elected officials.

• Come to the SB 40 Committee Hearing on Wednesday, May 13, to show your support for repeal. We will meet at 10 a.m. in the basement and go as a group to the hearing.

• Write or email John Mitchell, chair of the House Judiciary Committee, or contact your own representative to convey your views. The Senate bill deserves an up or down vote!

For Sussex County, you may contact Sen. Gerald Hocker and Rep. Ronald Gray. Their emails are Gerald.Hocker@state.de.us and Ronald.Gray@state.de.us.

Howard Boyd
Ocean View