The Baltimore Sun

State still needs ultimate penalty

Once again, our General Assembly will come together and some members will try to eliminate the death penalty ("O'Malley vows to work to end death penalty," Jan. 16). But I believe that the ultimate penalty of giving up one's life for the taking of another is needed in our society.

It has been argued that the death penalty is not a deterrent to violence. But how can it be when it is not used in a timely manner and often is not used at all?

And when someone is brutally and senselessly murdered, why shouldn't the person who committed this crime pay for it with his or her own life?

After all the evidence is collected and there is no doubt that the accused has been found guilty by a jury of his or her peers, I think the death penalty should be an option.

If we take away that option and replace it with a sentence of life without parole, what would happen?

All of us pay to give this murderer a roof over his or her head, dental and medical care and three meals a day and the right to maintain contact with family or friends.

But what about the victim's family and friends? All of their rights to see the murder victim are gone forever. They are forced to live with only memories of their loved one.

Another problem with a sentence of life without parole is what would then stop a convicted murderer from killing again?

What if the person sent to prison comes across someone he met on the outside and has a grudge against? What if a prison guard is killed by the prisoner? What happens then?

The killer is imprisoned with no possibility of parole. He has nothing to lose. So how would we prevent this person from killing again?

It seems to me that the death penalty should remain an option as long as there remains this unanswered question: What then?

JoAnn Parrish, Glen Burnie

Time is now for bill to control carbon

Maryland's elected representatives need to examine their priorities carefully.

Our new president has managed to get it right. On Jan. 16, Barack Obama expressed the need to coordinate economic recovery with the greening of America since neither issue can wait.

Not only are we teetering on the edge of a possible depression but, even more crucially, we're moving into a climate change crisis that will drastically change human life on Earth unless we act quickly and thoroughly.

Timing is everything. And Maryland's General Assembly will soon resume its debate on the Global Warming Solutions Act.

The citizens of Maryland are ready to take responsibility for our emissions and curb the pollution we produce.

The Global Warming Solutions Act makes sense not only environmentally but economically. If passed, it would not only address climate change but also stimulate innovation, create jobs and reduce energy costs to consumers and businesses.

Energy-efficiency upgrades would make our power system more secure and reliable by diversifying our energy sources. And clean energy industries would also reduce the effects of global warming.

According to a report from the University of Massachusetts, Maryland's transition to clean energy could create more than 36,000 jobs over two years.

It's time to get started in the fight against global warming, and there's no better way for Maryland to do so right now than to pass the warming solutions bill.

Patricia Dunlap, Tall Timbers

Let the woman decide when life truly begins

I believe that human life begins when the fetus draws it first independent breath and cries. That puts me at odds with those who believe that the unborn fetus is human ("Why isn't he working to save lives of unborn?" letters, Jan. 22). So who is right?

As far as I know, there is no current or historical evidence that proves when human life begins. And if there is no such real evidence, a woman should have the right to decide not to carry a fetus to term. No theological view or law should be imposed on the situation based on faith or theory alone.

I appreciate the fervor of those who hold life so dear, but I humbly have to disagree with the logic of those who hold that a fetus is a human being.

And I think it would be far better for those who hold fast to this belief to practice it themselves, and let those who have a different view continue with their lives.

John Holter, Baltimore

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