Friday, January 04, 2008

A distraction, not a solution

We recently were pleased to see a letter to the editor published in the Kansas City Star. The letter was signed by Renny Cushing, head of Murder Victims' Families for Human Rights, an NCADP affiliate. You can visit their blog, For Victims, Against the Death Penalty, here.

A Distraction, Not a Solution

New Jersey legislators recently voted to abolish the death penalty and New Jersey’s governor signed the legislation. As someone who has suffered the pain of losing a loved one to murder, I salute the state for its actions — and I wish Missouri would follow suit.

When my father was murdered, my family and I did not feel that an execution would give us peace. We did not believe that another killing would honor our father’s memory or the values he instilled in us. Since that time, I have met and worked closely with hundreds of other murder victims’ family members who agree that responding to one killing with another killing doesn’t help anyone.

The death penalty offers a false promise of closure to victims’ families, who are led to believe that an execution will bring relief. While families wait through the lengthy, roller-coaster appeals process, reliving our original pain again and again, the focus remains on the murderer rather than on the victims or on our own anguish as surviving family members. The death penalty is a distraction from victims’ real needs, not a solution.

Renny Cushing,
Executive director, Murder Victims’ Families for Human Rights
Cambridge, Mass.

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