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Is execution the right solution for Texas?

I am usually very pleased with the way the Monitor relates statistical data to key points of its articles. However, in your recent article regarding the death penalty and the high rate of executions carried out in Texas ("Why Texas is execution capital," Dec. 14), I believe that you were unfair in your presentation of data.

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First of all, you point out that since 1976 Texas has put to death more than 3 times more people than the next closest state, Virginia. An analysis of population statistics for the above mentioned time period will reveal that in those same years, the population of Texas has been between 2.5 and 3 times higher than that of Virginia. It only makes sense that the number of people it puts to death would be higher.

Secondly, you point out the disparity that exists between the number of people being put to death in California and Texas and the number of people on death row in both states. It appears to me that California is simply not following through on court judgments - ones that I am sure were hard to make.

Perhaps people should read the case files of the 163 people you mentioned who were put to death in Texas since 1975 and talk to the families of their victims before casting judgment on a state that is simply following the decisions of juries that have courageously decided that these criminals deserve to be put to death for their crimes.

Tony Pozeck

Austin, Texas

Killing people - especially when a handful are found innocent after being executed - leaves societal ailments intact. We need programs that address criminal behavior, so that as a society we can stop cycles of violent behavior. No one is born a murderer. So it must be our job as citizens to find and begin to understand what causes people to become murderers.

Furthermore, many people on death row are there because they lacked funds to get an adequate defense against well-paid and wellstaffed state or federal prosecutors.

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If the Fifth Circuit of Court of Appeals is unwilling to interfere with Texas's ties to the Confederate South, by blocking executions, there is something fundamentally wrong with that court. Maintaining a legacy of the Confederate South puts Fifth Circuit judges in a questionable position on their morality.

Opposing capital punishment is by no means condoning criminal acts without consequences. It is realizing that the solution to crime is stopping the process that creates criminals. People need to deal with the consequences of their actions, but "an eye for an eye" leaves us all blind to true justice for all.

Desta Habtemariam

Somerville, Mass.

The phone tolls for you

This morning I read the Homefront article on telemarketing ("For whom the phone tolls - reader's respond," Dec. 16). This afternoon I received a call from a telemarketer and used Linda Keenan's response: "No thank you and please put me on your do-not-call list." It worked (even in Canada).

Nigel Daley

Victoria, Canada

I was quite shocked to see how many readers lie to telemarketers. It seems lying is quite acceptable in today's society. I was a telemarketer once, for a few short months. So I know that anybody who will quickly give you a reason to get off the phone and on to another cold call is appreciated. Today, when a telemarketer calls, and then identifies him-self or herself and the company, I simply say, "No thank you," and hang up. No lies. Very polite. Very fast.

Nancy S. Cheung

Ogden, Utah

The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. Because of the volume of mail, only a selection can be published, and we can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. All submissions are subject to editing. Letters must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number.

Mail letters to 'Readers Write,' and opinion articles to Opinion Page, One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, or fax to 617-450-2317, or e-mail to

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