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Dori Monson

I'm horribly conflicted about the death penalty

Taken from Tuesday's edition of The Dori Monson Show.

Governor Jay Inslee is halting all executions in Washington. He said during his term as governor there will be no executions in our state.

"A system that does not deter crime, costs citizens millions of dollars more than life imprisonment without parole, is uncertain in its application and exposes families to multiple decades of uncertainty as to the result of the judicial decision is not right, you could say it's not moral," said Inslee.

I've always been very honest with you about my tremendous misgivings over the death penalty. I've always been a supporter of the death penalty for what I'm convinced are the wrong reasons.

I agree with what the governor just said. I don't believe it's a deterrent. I understand it costs more to execute someone than it does to keep them in prison for life due to the exhaustive appeals process.

I know the reason I support it is out of revenge and I think that is a horrible reason to support something.

I know there's a lot of Christians and people of faith who have reconciled their support of the death penalty, I've never been able to.

Every part of me that is logical and the part of me that is a Christian, which is a big part of me, I feel like I should be against the death penalty. I believe my support is based on revenge. I want the condemned to have some measure of the fear they inflicted on their victims. But I think that's a horrible reason to support it and I admit that.

I am very skeptical of almost every aspect of government. I don't trust government in all areas. So why would I trust government with the most somber, sacred thing that we possibly could empower government with, to take a human life. If I don't trust government on more mundane issues like taxation, how could I trust government with human life?

So I feel a bit hypocritical there as well. But I've never been able to say that I'm just opposed to the death penalty and I'll tell you why.

The reason I've never been able to follow what I think is in my brain and in my heart about the death penalty which objectively would lead me to being opposed to the death penalty, is because there is a dark part of me that does want revenge.

I've told you the stories of some of the five that we've executed in our state in the last 21 years. There's Westley Allan Dodd. Westley Allan Dodd was a brutal murderer who started sexually assaulting children when he was 13-years-old. He grabbed up two boys in Southwest Washington, 11 and 10 years old. Stabbed one to death in the park, left the other brother to die which he eventually did. Westley Allan Dodd was a horrible, evil person. When Westley Allan Dodd was executed there was a part of me that was happy that we got revenge and he may have felt some fear before he was put to death.

There's the story of Charles Campbell who raped a 23-year-old woman at knife point in front of her baby daughter and then only got five years behind bars for that. And after he got out of prison, he went back to his victim's house and found her and her 9-year-old daughter there and slit their throats.

When I heard about Charles Campbell being so petrified of the gallows that his legs had turned to spaghetti noodles and he couldn't walk so they had to strap him to a board and carry him to the gallows and the fear that he felt as they were putting the hood over his head and the noose around his neck there was a part of me that wondered if it was anywhere near the amount of fear that that 9-year-old and her mom felt as he was slicing their throats and there was a dark part of me that was happy he experienced some of that fear.

These are the kinds of people Governor Inslee is saving. But again the part of me that's happy about the state executing them, that's me wanting to give power to a government that I don't trust in any other aspect of our life. And there's a huge part of me that thinks God should only decide who lives and dies. I'm horribly conflicted about the death penalty.

If Governor Inslee is approaching it from a sincere opposition to the death penalty, I respect people who are sincerely opposed to the death penalty.

Taken from Tuesday's edition of The Dori Monson Show.


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Listen to Dori Monson every weekday at 12noon on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM. Seattle's News, Seattle's Talk.

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