The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


November 23, 2012

Readers' Forum 11-23 | Bring back capital punishment

JOHNSTOWN — Here we go again, an execution stopped an hour or so before it was to take place.

Hubert Michael Jr. pleaded guilty to fatally shooting a young woman in 1993. That was 19 years ago. I think taxpayers would like to see more justice done the right way.

They say it cost more to execute someone than to keep them alive until they die, which may take 20-40 years. They say Michael’s rights have been denied. What about the rights of the person he killed? Was it OK for her to die?

Here’s another one: In Tucson, Ariz., Jared Loughner was sentenced to life in prison for killing six people and wounding 13 others. The sentence he should have received was to be put in a pit with a dozen  rattlesnakes, then covered up.

Other murderers who only got life are  Ernest Simmons, Shawn Williams, Stephen Edmiston, Christopher Johnson, John Gerholt, Nicholas Horner and Larry Christy. This is only a few.

It’s time for the laws to change. Death-row inmates should only be allowed one appeal within 30 days after their death sentence has been handed down, then the execution should take place.

Go back to the old ways, it was a lot cheaper. Cyanide gas can’t cost that much; a box of rifle shells is $20; and a rope can be used more than once. Start executing one or two a week. This will do away with death row.

Dennis Reighard

Richland Township

We must advance love over hate

Since the dawn of civilization, humanity has crept forward. Year after year, our society has advanced liberty and freedom, allowing love to triumph over hate. Now, it is our generation’s turn, for we, like so many others before us, must choose equality over oppression and tolerance over suspicion.

If we ignore this opportunity, we won’t turn back the rising tide of freedom, we won’t dramatically change what humanity’s future looks like, but we will show those who look back on us that, in this crucial time, we were unwilling to bring forward the torch of liberty.

We will show that when challenged to move the process of creating “liberty and justice for all” forward, we faltered. It is not immoral that we have taken considerable time to examine the prudence of altering society’s most basic unit.

We’ve already looked at this for a long time, but we have seen no proof that homosexual families are inferior members of society. It would be going too far to force churches with theological objections to recognize gay marriage, but giving all couples equal rights does not require this. It only requires legal recognition.

We must end this discrimination and finally admit that the more than 4 million homosexual Americans are equal citizens. Otherwise denying our own citizens the right to pursue happiness will become an American principle, and can we really allow that?

We must fully legalize this important expression of two people’s commitment and love for one another. We must legalize gay marriage.

Kieran Spencer


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What is the biggest key to reducing gun violence in Johnstown?

Tackling the area's drug problem.
Controlling folks moving into city housing.
Monitoring folks in treatment centers and halfway houses.
Tougher sentencing by the court system.
More police on the streets.

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