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Thursday, Dec. 2, 2010 01:55 am

Letters to the Editor 12/02/10


Randy Steidl spent 12 years on death row before being proven innocent.

It is time for Illinois to abolish the death penalty. In addition to being against many major religious traditions, the death penalty is a violation of common sense. When we know the death penalty doesn’t deter crime, costs millions more than any other punishment, and risks that we will kill an innocent person in the state’s name – how can we possibly consider keeping it? Mistakes are made in government, so how could we give the state the power to decide who lives and who dies? I hope Illinois will abolish the death penalty once and for all; 10 years has been too long to have this important issue go unaddressed.

Sr. Marcelline Koch

I was glad to see your article about the efforts to repeal the death penalty [see “A big push to end capital punishment,” by Patrick Yeagle, Nov. 24]. I agree wholeheartedly with everyone in this article who points out that it is absurd for us to continue to pay for the death penalty in Illinois. If we had simply abolished the death penalty in 2000, we could have saved tens of millions of dollars. Instead we’ve had 10 years of the moratorium, found more innocent men on death row, and are no closer to having a safe and fair death penalty system. As long as our death penalty system is run by human beings we can’t guarantee that we won’t execute an innocent person. Let’s stop wasting money on such a broken system.

Kay Henriksen

Your article [see “From the heart: Nonprofits ask you for a helping hand,” Nov. 25] about donating bathroom products, money or our time is a worthwhile reminder to community residents to get involved in helping others. Along with those choices, food in particular comes to mind.

Springfield is home to a state business society whose members are involved in their community. It is the Illinois Society of Association Executives, an organization that represents many of the nonprofits headquartered in the capital city and state. Members are reminded to bring along a bag of food to their monthly luncheon meetings to be delivered to our local food banks.

Once when I delivered a load of food to the Central Illinois Food Bank (I had purchased mac&cheese to add to the delivery), Kristy Gilmore, manager, observed that after the most requested food, meat products, mac&cheese was the second most desired food. Ever since then, I’ve donate boxes of good ol’ mac&cheese.

Let’s hope for a healthy response to your pleas to give to others and to “put the giving in Thanksgiving” and beyond.

Stan Zielinski

This past weekend our area was saddened by the loss of three young people in car crashes. Tragically, none of them were wearing seatbelts. Our society has tried to limit the damage done by people not wearing seatbelts when driving. We have even passed a law that makes it illegal to not wear a seatbelt while driving, but, sadly, too many, for whatever reason, refuse to wear them.

I have a proposal that I believe might be worthy of consideration: pass legislation that would allow insurance companies to not have to pay on any claim if the victim was not wearing a seatbelt. It could also be made to apply to motorcyclists and bicyclists who were not wearing helmets at the time of any crash they, or their estates, seek to make a claim for medical or death benefits. Statistics have repeatedly shown the increased safety for drivers, riders and cyclists who wear helmets. It’s time to stop losing lives needlessly.

Chris Babb


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