Kitzhaber made the right decision
To the editor:
On Nov. 22, Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber announced that he has suspended execution of prisoners on death row as long as he is governor.I believe he's made the right decision. Following is the email I sent Governor Kitzhaber:
Dear Governor Kitzhaber,
I completely support your suspension of executing death penalty
convicts. Having spent 15 years working in the criminal justice system
in Baker County, I am convinced that it's a popular myth that the death
penalty is a deterrent to murder.
All of us who've worked in the system know that the cost to the state
in administering the death penalty cases is much higher than for
convicts spending life in prison. Finally, morally it makes no sense
that the state commit murder in response to murder. Thank you for your
Here are the statistics supporting my assertion that it's a myth that
the death penalty is a deterrent to murder. In every year for the past
20 years, the nationwide murder rate in death penalty states has been
significantly higher than in non-death penalty states. Additional cost
in death penalty cases comes mostly in trials and appeals, which can
cost eight times more than in non-death penalty cases.
School policy puts children at risk
To the editor:
This is in response to the Oct. 19 article in the Baker City Herald
regarding the school board's discussion concerning the advisability of
barring school employees with Right to Carry licenses from having guns
on school property and Superintendent Walt Wegener's letter of Oct. 24
attempting to put the matter to rest.
There appeared to be two separate safety motivations driving this
discussion. The smaller group, with which I strongly agree, are
concerned for the safety of the children and teachers. The larger
group, including legal advice, seem to be concerned mainly regarding
their personal liability.
History has shown many times, in schools and other places, that it is
the unarmed who become the victims of those who disregard the law. It
appears obvious that the students and teachers would be safer if we had
a policy encouraging teachers and employees who have concealed carry
permits to be armed. This should be made known publicly so that the
criminal-minded would be aware that they too would be at serious risk
if planning a gun crime on school properties.
Superintendent Wegener wants safe schools, not admitting that those
without protection are at risk. His application of the Chaos Theory
doesn't quite fit this situation.
First, the real danger comes from outside the "system," from criminals
importing guns. And second, were it applicable to all people, our
police departments and military would be bathed in blood.
Any public area where lawful guns are prohibited is an open invitation
to those who disregard rules and laws and have lethal harm to persons
in mind. History, some very recent, clearly shows that unarmed
potential victims have no protection at all.
Mr. Batchelor's statement at the recent school board meeting that "It
is the elephant in the room and it will not be going away," is true and
those officials who would put our children at risk needlessly should
listen carefully. Those of us who speak up are few, but those who agree
are many. Please protect our children!