Free a Manson murderer? Not in this lifetime

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Free a Manson murderer? Not in this lifetime Empty Free a Manson murderer? Not in this lifetime

Post  Jennie on Fri Jul 18, 2008 1:16 pm

Free a Manson murderer? Not in this lifetime

I've always opposed the death penalty--it's unnecessary for the protection of society, it's prone to errors that are tragically irreversible, it's expensive and it's deliberately cruel. But I can understand why many people are in favor of it. One reason: They don't trust authorities that life in prison means life in prison.

A case in point is Susan Atkins, who murdered an actress in a frenzy of slaughter carried out by cult leader Charles Manson and his followers in 1969. After stabbing Sharon Tate, Atkins dipped her hand in Tate's blood to taste it and write "pig" on her door.

She was sentenced to death, a sentence commuted to life when the Supreme Court struck down the death penalty as it was applied then. Now Atkins has terminal brain cancer, and her husband and others asked the California parole board to release her to spend her last months with loved ones.

What part of life in prison do they not understand? Atkins was granted mercy when she was spared execution, and no one who has committed such a vile murder should ask for more.

An inmate guilty of a heinous crime like hers should not be put to death at the hands of the state--but neither should she ever enjoy freedom again. If we are going to ask Americans to restrain themselves from imposing capital punishment, we should not expect them to accept seeing killers go free, no matter how old or sick the criminal may be.

Fortunately, today, the parole board refused. Susan Atkins will die in prison, as the people of California have a right to expect. If she doesn't like it, she should have thought of that 39 years ago, before picking up a knife.

(source: Steve Chapman, Chicago Tribune)

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