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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

In our name

I've written several times, the most recent being Saturday, that we can't ignore the death penalty:

One thing I do know for sure is that we should pay attention to every execution, to all the details mundane and profound, from the last meal to the last words. The death penalty is carried out in our name. The executions are done because we (a large majority, according to polls) want them done. We can't just let them pass unnoticed.

But I don't know that I would go as far as this guy, reacting to the execution of Matthew Wrinkes, in defining the "in our name" principle:

"This is entirely wrong and it makes me a murderer, too," said John Souder Roser from nearby Furnessville. "When the state murders somebody, when they perform an execution, it's me. I am the state and I am not a murderer."

Since we pay for the state and live by its laws, in a sense everything it does is in our name. The state does a whole lot of things, some of which we might agree with and some disagree with. We're no more murderers when the state executes someone than we are