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Good Afternoon, I am honored to be here, and I thank you for having me.
Today I would like to speak to you about a very controversial issue-
capital punishment. What do those two words mean to you? To most
people they mean a murder victims family receiving justice for their
deceased. Let me see a show of hands. How many people in the audience
believe in the death penalty? I conducted a weeklong survey of two
hundred people of all ages. The purpose was to see how many people
believed in the death penalty and how many opposed it. My results are
shown on this overhead.
As you can clearly see, 98% believe in the death penalty. 57% believe
that the death penalty is a deterrent for murder. A high of 97% of the
people favor capital punishment, where 1% think that our justice system
should not be more lenient on death row inmates. Only 89% think that
once convicted of murder, an inmate should be sentenced to death
I would like to take this time to tell you a story. On August 15,
1997, the Reverend John Miller preached a sermon at the Martha Vineyards
Tabernacle in New Hampshire. He told his congregation, which included
the vacationing President Clinton and his wife, that capital punishment
is wrong. I invite you to look at a picture of Timothy McVeigh and to
forgive him, said Miller. If we profess to be Christians, then we are
called to love and forgive. Once the sermon ended, Rev. Miller,
Clinton, and their wives got together for brunch at the Sweet Life Cafi.
What the Rev. did not know was that 24-year-old Jeremy T Charron; an
Epsom New Hampshire police officer was gunned down in cold blood just
hours before Millers sermon on forgiving murderers. That Sunday marked
Charrons 44th day as a full time police officer, the job he dreamed of
since he was 6 years old.
Jeremy Charron leaves behind his parents, two sets of grandparents, two
sisters, two brothers, a wide circle of friends, and a girlfriend whose
engagement ring he had begun to shop for. Maybe the Reverend Miller
would advise those grieving for Charron to look at pictures of Gordon
Perry, the robber accused of pumping the bullets into Charrons heart,
and 18 year old Kevin Paul, the accomplice, and forgive.
The state of New Hampshire has opted not to forgive, but to prosecute.
Perry has been charged with capital murder. If he is convicted, the
state will seek the death penalty for the first time since 1939.
Jeanne Shepard, the democratic governor, says a capital murder
prosecution will put criminals On notice that if they kill a police
officer in New Hampshire, they will face the death penalty. What if
they kill someone other than a cop? Should criminals not be put on
notice that they will face the death penalty if they kill a cashier in
cold blood? A farmer, or a schoolteacher? They should- but the law
says otherwise. In New Hampshire as in all states with the death
penalty, murder can be punished with execution only in specific
circumstances. The murder of an officer in the line of duty is one of
them. Among others are murder combined with rape, murder for higher,
and murder in the course of kidnapping. First degree murder is not
punishable by death. One who willfully murders a cashier is no less
evil then the murderer of a police officer. Both have committed the
worst crime. Both should be subjected to the worst possible
punishment. That is justice.
Standing in the way of that justice, however, are the likes of Rev.
Miller, who brim with such pity for criminals that they have none left
over for the victims. Forgive Timothy McVeigh, he says, as if we have
that right. Absolve the man who slaughtered 168 innocent men, women,
and children in Oklahoma City. Pardon the killer of Officer Charron.
Nothing could be more sinful and indecent. How sad that Miller,
enjoying his brunch with the president at the Sweet Life Cafi, should
lack compassion for the sweet life of others.
Executions at U.S. prisons reached a 40- year high last year. There are
going to be more executions in the future as these cases are speeded up,
as a result of federal and state laws shortening the appeal process. I
would now like to direct your attention to the overhead.
The following chart shows statistics of the number of executions per
state for the 1997 year. Currently there are only 12 states without the
death penalty. Those states are Hawaii, Alaska, West Virginia,
Washington D.C., Rhode Island, Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, Michigan,
Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, and North Dakota.
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Penology, Capital punishment, Murder, Timothy McVeigh, Capital punishment debate in the United States, Capital punishment in the United States, death row inmates, murder victims family, epsom new hampshire, jeremy charron, timothy mcveigh, reverend john, hampshire police, time police, show of hands, controversial issue, john miller, sweet life, cold blood, good afternoon, death penalty, capital punishment, murderers, justice system, sermon on, two sisters
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