Up to the criminal, right?

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This is in response to Leah St. Hilaire’s letter, printed April 12. She was concerned about capital punishment and made the statement that “No one should have to die for a mistake they made.”
My husband and I had a childhood friend whom we had known most of our lives. He was murdered in Lewiston in October 2005. He had just turned 30 years old. Two men beat him with a baseball bat, in the woods, in the middle of the night, in cold blood, with no mercy. It was intentional and vicious. It was anything but a “mistake.”
Crimes such as negligent homicide and manslaughter are considered death-by-mistake crimes. They are usually committed out of ignorance or severely unfortunate circumstances. I agree that no one should have to die for those crimes because they are, indeed, mistakes. But murder is not a death-by-mistake crime, and capital punishment is, in some states (like it or not) the punishment for that intentional crime.
I would hope that St. Hilaire can understand that capital punishment is not just a punishment, but serves also as a deterrent to some criminals. It is handed out only to the most deserving of violent rapists and murderers, not mistake-makers.
I don’t believe capital punishment is the problem; the people committing the crimes are. No one has to die. Capital punishment can be avoided, but that’s up to the criminal, isn’t it?
Linda Clukey, Oxford