The Times West Virginian

Opinion

August 11, 2013

Death penalty gets strong support in poll

An attack nearly four years ago at Texas’ Fort Hood military base left 13 dead and 32 others wounded, and the man military prosecutors say is responsible for what is being described as “a holocaust” is Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, a former Army psychiatrist stationed at the base.

Hasan has essentially “fired” the three defense attorneys and is representing himself in military court. The problem with his self defense as his own attorney is that there doesn’t really seem to be any defense at all. That’s serious considering the fact that the death penalty is on the table.

“He’s looking to be a martyr,” professor Glenn Sulmasy from the Center for National Policy said on NBC’s NewsNation Friday. “His reasoning for not actually questioning, or cross examining, or examining any witnesses ... are evidence that he really isn’t putting on a defense.”

Hasan’s case is one of the high-profile cases in the country where the words “death penalty” are being used. As is James Holmes, the man accused of killing 16 and injuring 17 in a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., last July.

The death penalty, a controversial subject to say the least, has not been used in West Virginia after 1959 and it was abolished in 1965. In 1949, West Virginia was the last state to adopt the electric chair as its method of execution. State Delegate Robert C. Byrd was a witness to the execution of the first two men in the electric chair. He described it with very few words, though he was a man known for using many. “It’s not a beautiful thing.”

But for the past 27 sessions of the legislature, Delegate John Overington, a Republican, has introduced a bill to reinstate capital punishment in the Mountain State. And for 27 years, it’s never made much progress in the statehouse.

“You want to live in a just society that is fair, and capital punishment, if somebody is murdered, I think there’s a perception that you have fairness if that person is put to death,” Overington told The Associated Press in March. “It sort of adds to the fairness of our society and helps make it work. If you feel that our justice system is fair, it helps you believe in it.”

Following the murder of Mingo County Sheriff Eugene Crum in April, Overington told the (Beckley) Register-Herald that 80 percent of the state’s residents supported the death penalty. So we decided to ask our readers and see whether that statistic fell in line with those who come to our website, www.timeswv.com, to follow all the news of North Central West Virginia.

In our online poll last week, we asked “A few high-profile mass-shooting cases have brought the death penalty issue into the public debate. What are your thoughts?”

And here’s what you had to say:

• We should focus on forgiveness and rehabilitation for convicts — 1.28 percent.

• I don’t have strong feelings one way or the other — 3.85 percent.

• Completely against it. It targets minorities and lower-income individuals — 12.82 percent.

• Completely for it — it’s a crime deterrent and saves taxpayers’ money — 82.05 percent.

Well, Delegate Overington, you may be on to something with that statistic.

This week, let’s talk about a program being launched by the U.S. Attorney’s office to educate teens about the use of drugs and alcohol mixed with social media in the wake of the Steubenville, Ohio, rape case last year. How effective do you think it will be?

Log on. Vote. Email me or respond directly online.

Misty Poe

Managing Editor

mpoe@timeswv.com

@MistyPoeTWV

 

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • Time is now for Tomblin to support King Coal Highway

    U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., is asking Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin to add the King Coal Highway project to West Virginia’s six-year highway improvement plan. It is a logical request, and one that Tomblin should act promptly on.

    July 29, 2014

  • United effort to keep NASA in Fairmont is essential project

    The high-technology sector is obviously vital to the economy of North Central West Virginia.
    That’s why a strong, united effort to keep the NASA Independent Verification and Validation Program in Fairmont is absolutely essential.

    July 27, 2014

  • COLUMN: Calling all readers: Be heard

    I love to talk to readers.
    I love to hear concerns they have about stories we’ve written, things they think should be included in the newspaper and things they think shouldn’t be.

    July 27, 2014

  • Korean War veterans are deserving of a memorial

    NEEDED: A total of $10,000 for the Korean War Memorial this year.
    And a good man has been placed in charge of the funding. Charlie Reese, former president of the Marion County Chamber of Commerce, is now director of the Marion County Development Office. His task was to make a recommendation as to what steps are necessary to keep the project moving.

    July 25, 2014

  • Roll up your sleeves, give blood and you can save lives

    It takes up to 100 units of blood to save the life of someone who sustains life-threatening injuries in a vehicle accident.
    We’re hoping that the number of people who come to Fairmont Senior High School on Friday for and American Red Cross blood drive will exceed that amount.

    July 24, 2014

  • Vehicles and motorcycles must share the road safely

    The days are long. The weather is superb. There’s plenty of leisure time in these lazy days of summer.
    It’s the perfect time to take a long motorcycle ride.
    It’s also the perfect opportunity for us to take the time to remind not only riders but drivers of the need to share the road. And we feel compelled to mention it because just within the month of July, there have been two motorcycle-versus-car accidents within the City of Fairmont alone — one with severe injuries sustained by the motorcyclist and the other with less serious injury.

    July 23, 2014

  • Too many taking too few steps to protect selves from skin cancer

    July 22, 2014

  • Distracted driving: It isn’t worth fine or a life

    Today marks the day that police agencies from six states are joining forces to crack down on one thing — distracted driving.
    And they will focus on that traffic violation for a solid week, with the stepped-up effort to curb distracted driving wrapping up on Saturday, July 26.

    July 20, 2014

  • COLUMN: Are we people watchers or people judgers?

    Let me tell you about my little friend Robby. Well, actually, it’s more about his family and especially his mom. I didn’t get her name. I heard Robby’s name quite a bit, though, during a trip home from Birmingham, Alabama.
    I noticed the family in the Birmingham airport immediately. They were just the kind of family you’d notice.

    July 20, 2014

  • Relish the rich bounty of state’s diverse, unique food traditions

    This week, a group of federal officials on a three-day culinary tour of the state visited the Greenbrier Valley to find out what most of us here already know — we have a rich food tradition in West Virginia.
    The group was made up of officials from the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

    July 18, 2014

Featured Ads
NDN Politics
House Ads