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Letters: Death penalty for bombing suspect

This photo shows Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar

This photo shows Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. (April 19, 2013) Credit: FBI

It is interesting that you question Attorney General Eric Holder's decision to seek the death penalty for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, but you don't question the timing of Holder's decision ["Death penalty and Tsarnaev," Editorial, Jan. 31].

Tsarnaev is half Chechen. Was the Obama administration looking to incite the Chechens further just one week before the Olympics begin in Sochi? I don't believe that President Barack Obama has the interests and safety of American athletes and citizens attending the Olympics as a priority.

Rosalie Smith, Island Park

Your editorial was a fairly typical response to the Justice Department's decision to seek the death penalty in the Boston Marathon murders. However, as a Catholic who believes that life from the moment of conception to natural death is to be respected, I agree with you for once.

Pope John Paul II, soon to be canonized, made it clear that the death penalty should be used only when there is no other means to ensure the safety of the public. Obviously, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev does not qualify for the death penalty under that moral standard.

However, as a retired member of law enforcement, I understand that the threat of the death penalty is a powerful tool in securing a guilty plea.

I find it frustrating that many death penalty abolitionists do not seem to be morally conflicted about the innocent unborn babies who have been aborted in this country since the Roe v. Wade decision.

Robert Olson, Baiting Hollow

I could not disagree more with your editorial that the death penalty is not an apt punishment for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. You state that capital punishment cases are costly. So would be the incarceration of Tsarnaev for 60 years. You also claim that little would be gained by putting him to death.

Execution in this case is not about deterring others from a similar act. Our society has no problem exterminating rats infected with contagious disease or vermin deleterious to the public health. Tsarnaev has proved to be a virulent infection in a civilized society. He has earned and deserves the death penalty.

Harold Goldman, East Meadow


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