• February 24, 2017

Death penalty is justified, moral, especially for killing police officers

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Posted: Sunday, May 18, 2014 4:30 am

To the Editor:

In the Herald of May 12, the tragic gunning down of another Killeen police officer in the course of carrying out his duties is coldly reported on the front page, while the editorial page declares the death penalty is, among other things, immoral.

Centuries ago, civilization decided that each member of the community should not be responsible for law enforcement — obligated to join the “hew and cry” — and paid agents were enlisted to carry out that duty, a system that has morphed into the police system as we know it today.

Police officers and other first responders, never paid to adequately compensate for the level of personal risk assumed, are looked to by the community for protection of life and property. The community is quick to criticize when glitches in that system occasionally occur, but seldom look to honor those who are performing this critical function as expected.

With each loss of a police officer, or any first responder, we are greatly diminished as a community.

Sadly, there are abscesses within our community that threaten safety and well-being, and we look to the police to investigate and operate within the stringent requirements of the criminal justice system, i.e., follow the rules, to cope with them.

Unfortunately, the criminals huddling in the darkness of those abscesses do not “follow the rules,” and the result is one dead police officer and others wounded while trying to meet their oath of office. That, I submit, is what is truly immoral.

No, the death penalty, nor even the threat of fine or jail, seldom acts as a deterrent to the criminal element. Offenders generally don’t think three minutes ahead of their next activity, and their remorse later is that they were caught, not that they did the crime. But, even absent a deterrent effect, there is a right of a society to protect itself against certain criminals who are predisposed to follow a criminal career and whose crimes are so heinous that the threat of their possibly being loose again constitutes an on-going, imminent threat. The cold-blooded murder of a police officer is one such offense that justifies taking the life of the offender ... after all, his constitutional rights are protected, unlike those of his or her victim.

Rick Miller

Harker Heights

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Welcome to the discussion.


  • Roody2 posted at 12:39 pm on Fri, May 23, 2014.

    Roody2 Posts: 847

    "What about the police officers who kill unarmed civilians should they also get the death penalty???"

    That depends...

    Did the police officer kill someone (whether on or off duty ) in an effort to rob them, for gang initiation, over a drug debt, to steal a car, just because he was bored, to eliminate witnesses, etc?

    OR, did the officer shoot and kill someone because the "unarmed citizen" was a perceived threat to him and/or others. And, since the officer had no way of knowing positively that the citizen is "unarmed" and can only ASSUME it's an "unarmed citizen" and therefor had to make a split second judgement based on the actions of the supposed "unarmed citizen" breaking the law, knowing in the back of his mind "IF" it turned out the supposed "unarmed citizen" had a gun and he (as an officer of the law) failed to act, things could go terribly wrong resulting in even more deaths... and all because he ASSUMED it was an "unarmed citizen" ???

    Please clarify if you really want an answer and aren't just using asinine questions to advocate against the death penalty.

  • DWinston posted at 7:50 am on Thu, May 22, 2014.

    DWinston Posts: 4

    What about the police officers who kill unarmed civilians should they also get the death penalty???

  • Gary Caraway posted at 5:24 pm on Tue, May 20, 2014.

    Gary Caraway Posts: 72

    Murder is murder. When the mentally ill kills, or someone is killed during the commission of a crime, or someone is killed from unrestrained hatred, we as a society, rightly, must punish the behavior as aberant and unacceptable. When 12 jurors, a sober judge and the state executes a criminal, the murder is considered acceptable and just. The state absolves itself of any guilt of murder. And when the state has made a mistake, oops, sorry about that. We have the capability of locking criminals up for life. We don't have to murder them. Murder is murder. There is no situational ethic that makes murder moral.

  • Eliza posted at 9:13 pm on Sun, May 18, 2014.

    Eliza Posts: 1093

    @Maybe we aren't as civilized as the we give ourselves credit for?

    Disagree with you Pete on everything you've said but especially the above.

    Maybe its the ones who have committed the crimes of taking another's life for absolutely no reason, are the ones who are the uncivilized.

    Did you also think Major Hasan didn't deserve the death penalty ?

  • Eliza posted at 9:06 pm on Sun, May 18, 2014.

    Eliza Posts: 1093

    Agree and I read today as a matter of fact --- Utah is thinking strongly about bringing back their firing squad for the death penalty .

  • Pete posted at 5:18 pm on Sun, May 18, 2014.

    Pete Posts: 224

    Mr. Miller - all men are create equal, so why would the tragic death of a police officer be weighted any greater than any other citizen? Yes, police officers put their lives on the line to protect others, what they signed up to do. Others put their lives on the line too in order to earn a living. Miners, fisherman, truck drivers, oil rig workers all of whom die at a higher rate on the job than police officers and first responders.

    And haven't there recently been police officers found guilty of preying on young women? To make a blanket statement that every police officer life is worth more than the average citizen's is in contravention with "all men are create equal" doctrine our country was founded on.

    And as a fiscal conservative, the dollars of the death penalty don't add up, well in fact they actually add up real fast. One death penalty case costs us tax payers how much more than keeping the convicted in prison the rest of his/her life? We are supposedly the most advanced country in the civilized world yet the only one who still does capital punishment. Maybe we aren't as civilized as the we give ourselves credit for?

  • Fran posted at 11:01 am on Sun, May 18, 2014.

    Fran Posts: 76

    I believe, that there are many people out there who would agree with what I
    shall write but do not out of political correctness gone wild. I say, that these sub-human cop killers do not deserve years and years in jail with appeals. There existence
    on this planet should be terminated quickly in the same callous way that they chose
    when to be judge jury and executioner of a police officer. These criminals made
    their own decision. They deserve to be shot by a firing squad, not to go to sleep and
    pass into the next world.

  • Eliza posted at 9:07 am on Sun, May 18, 2014.

    Eliza Posts: 1093

    @ there is a right of a society to protect itself against certain criminals who are predisposed to follow a criminal career and whose crimes are so heinous that the threat of their possibly being loose again constitutes an on-going, imminent threat

    And the only way to protect society at least against this one guilty element, is to destroy them (and it would be preferable to the majority, not to have to wait through the 10 + years at times of appeals) in order to do so.