Letters: Death penalty is no deterrent
REGARDING Robert Boyden's op-ed ("The Mumia factor in the killing of cops," June 2): His analysis is surprisingly misguided and callow, especially coming from a former police officer and, ostensibly, professional consultant in the criminal- justice system.
REGARDING Robert Boyden's op-ed (
"The Mumia factor in the killing of cops," June 2
His analysis is surprisingly misguided and callow, especially coming from a former police officer and, ostensibly, professional consultant in the criminal- justice system.
He asserts a direct connection between Mumia Abu-Jamal's continued incarceration and the death of at least three police officers here in Philadelphia in recent years. The conclusion is not just a gross oversimplification, it is also unsupported by the facts behind violent criminal activity.
As any prosecutor or defense attorney can tell you, the majority of serious, violent crimes are not pre-planned or meticulously arranged by the perpetrators. They are the result of spur-of-the-moment decisions, often arising out of fights, arguments, surprise, or other conditions characterized by immediacy.
Most murderers are not even thinking about consequences of the crime they are about to commit, let alone will they stop to consider the quality of the punishment for those crimes.
Under those circumstances, the argument for the death penalty made by Boyden - that swift, certain executions would act as a deterrent to the homicide of police - fails utterly.
Boyden contributes another false note: He plays on the well-founded fears we have of street-roving murderers, especially those craven enough to shoot at the police.
But any attempt to assuage that fear with appeals to speedy executions isn't a solution.
It is only an invitation to create more problems in our already overburdened and under-resourced criminal justice system and to risk executing innocent men and women.