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What do you think is the most important issue for the Kansas Legislature next month?

Asked at Borders, 700 N.H. on December 29, 2004

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Photo of Katie Farmer

“Abolishing the death penalty, because the people who are doing the killing are no better than the person they kill.”

Photo of Deacon Jones

“Getting government health insurance for all Kansans. Governor Sebelius has a plan to tax cigarettes to pay for health insurance. As a smoker, I think it’s a good idea.”

Photo of Stephanie Miller

“Not abolishing the death penalty. We are from Pittsburg, and we are very aware of the Kleypas trial. We are watching carefully for the outcome.”

Photo of John Richard

“I think abolishing the death penalty would be the most important. They can never be 100 percent sure that someone is guilty, so there is always a chance that someone innocent might die.”

Comments

Jayhawk226 10 years ago

Fund our schools appropriately please...there is nothing more to say.

Net1wolf 10 years ago

Coming up with incentives to bring new businesses to Kansas to create good jobs, but it's probably not on their agenda.

acg 10 years ago

In this day and age of DNA and forensic breakthroughs and surveillance cameras everywhere, work, streetcorners, businesses and even nanny cams in our homes, there are many ways to prove a person is guilty of a crime. Sorry John Richard, but it's true. Scenario: A man walks into a bank, says this is a robbery, give me all the money. He's on camera, in the bank. The police are called, they come and catch him in the bank, they cuff him in the bank, he's being hauled away in front of 10 witnesses to him committing the crime, all of a sudden he's a suspect? Screw that. If a person is convicted of a violent crime, like murder or the rape of a child they should be put to death. To hell with them. I'm tired of paying for them to live on death row. What for? What's the point? If they're so heinous that they're never getting out, why have them around sucking up air and wasting space?

Richard Heckler 10 years ago

Abolishing the death penalty may be important however at this point in time I would place medical insurance for all Kansans as well as public school funding at the top of the agenda. Rep. Doug Mays I'm sure has other ideas such as who marries who for which laws already exist or intelligent design which is not a science. These matter are distractions not to mention a huge waste of time and tax dollars.

Liberty 10 years ago

To declare a peace time, instead of the constant wars on drugs, freedom, terror, etc... not allowing the state of emergency to be renewed in Congress every year to keep the provisional government in power. To repeal the provisional military government and judicial system of Kansas and the U.S. (in power since the civil war) and return to real Constitutional government without the false monetary system run by the Federal Reserve and the U.S. Congress. Also repealing the illegal unconstitutional treaties of the WTO, NAFTA, GATT, and the soon to come FTAA which will destroy this country and all of the rest of your jobs that are left.

pencer863 10 years ago

Yes to Katie Farmer! Thank you for contributing a positive, humane, reasonable comment.

topflight 10 years ago

ABOLISH THE DEATH PENALTY. LAWRENCE PEOPLE ARE CRAZY. FIRST OFF, PEOPLE THAT KILL THE KILLER ARE NO BETTER THAN THE OTHERS. ARE YOU KIDDING, THEY ONLY HAPPEN TO BE COLLEGE EDUCATED WITH PROPER VALUES AND NO THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN RIGHT AND WRONG. (GIVE OR TAKE A FEW HERE AND THERE AND HERE IN LAWRENCE WITH THERE LIBERAL VALUES). SO BASICALLY EVERYONE IS ON THE SAME SCALE AS SCOTT PETERSON, JEFFREY DAHMER. YOU GOT TO BE KIDDING.

2DNLY

NEVER 100% SURE IF SOMEONE IS GUILTY. IT IS CALLED DNA, EYE WITNESSES, VIDEO TAPES, PICTURES. OF COURSE YOU CAN BE 100% SURE. YOU PEOPLE NEE TO PUT YOURSELF IN LACY PETERESON'S MOMS SHOES. NOW IS SHE NO LONGER A MOTHER, BUT WILL NEVER BE A GRANDMOTHER. I GURANTEE HER MOM IS FOR THE DEATH PENALTY. HOW ABOUT THE LADY WHO JUST STRANGLED THE MOTHER AND CUT HER UNBORN BABY OUT. NO MERCY. YOU KILL SOMEONE, YOU GET KILLED BACK.

ive_got_my_ascot_n_my_dickie 10 years ago

"because the people who are doing the killing are no better than the person they kill."

Ahhh, to be young and foolish again. Apparently the young girl has never been affected by violent crime. On second thought, maybe she's right. We need to be more concerned about criminal rights! Forget the fact that the victims have been raped and murdered; we need to show love and compassion to the killers. They shouldn't be held responsible for their actions...society is to blame! If the victim hadn't been wearing a short skirt or if she hadn't handed over the car to a carjacker, she wouldn't have been violated! It's the victims' fault! Don't snuff out the precious lives of the killers. Rehabilitate them and send them back into society....and keep your fingers crossed that they don't kill again.

Jay_Z 10 years ago

Keep the death penalty.....very ignorant quote from Ms. Farmer above.

Do not set up a government run health care program. Government is rarely ever efficient or effective at running things (look at social security). Keep it up to the private sector to figure things out. Government should set up regulations/tort reform that make health care more affordable to help the situation. Why do so many people think government should provide us (or "owes" it to us to provide us) with almost everything in our lives? What ever happened to personal responsibility/accountability?

badger 10 years ago

I think their priorites should be straightening out some of the funding and curriculum issues with the school system, and clearing up this death penalty mess.

I can see the merits of being a state without a death penalty. I can see the merits of being a state with a death penalty. I tend to think that for certain types of crime, excommunication from the human race is appropriate, but I also think that it's over-sentenced and under-used. The Dahmers, Bundys, and McVeighs of the world merit a death penalty. I'm not so sure about others.

However, what I don't like is being a state with a dysfunctional or badly written death penalty, which is what we were. So I'd like the state to work on being decisive and unambiguous about whether or not Kansas will be putting people to death, and if we will, then begin doing so with resolution. I can personally live with it either way, but this half-hearted 'Let's write ineffective legislation so we can look tough on crime and compassionate at the same time' thing just has got to go.

Ariat 10 years ago

Ahhh...how reassuring to know I'm not the only conservative in Lawrence!!

What about racial profiling? I think it's too hard to prove the motive of the police officer.

ive_got_my_ascot_n_my_dickie 10 years ago

The death penalty is a non-issue. The last time Kansas executed anyone was 1965. No need to get bent out of shape about it because a "death sentence" in Kansas basically means life in prison.

Hong_Kong_Phooey 10 years ago

Ah, the death penalty and racial profiling. First, I think I'll address the death penalty.

Forget abolishing the death penalty. All this talk(not that I've heard it on this list per se) that it "is not a successful deterrent" is stupid. I don't want the death penalty to be in place because I'm trying to scare somebody else from committing a crime. I want it to be in place to PUNISH the person that has ALREADY committed the crime. If it were up to me, we would just go back to a firing squad and $1.50 in bullets.

Now for "racial profiling". Did you know that they only keep track of who the white officers are stopping?? Who's to say that the non-white officers aren't stopping only white people?! Second, have you ever been on a ride-along? I have. The majority of the time you can't tell what color the occupants of the car are until after you've already stopped. Maybe the real factor that ought to be examined is how many minorities are driving crappy cars with a zillion defects...

italianprincess 10 years ago

Keep the death penalty.........I believe anyone who thinks they have the right to kill another person for their own satisfaction should be put to death.

Scott Peterson is a complete waste of space and even though I was hoping for life they gave him death. I would have rather had him rot in prison ( someone would have killed him anyway ) then be given the death penalty.

I lost a great friend to murder back in 82 to a serial killer name Randy Kraft. Not to sure if anyone ever heard of him, but he killed alot of young men in Cali. He was given death also, but didn't live in prison long enough to see it. Someone killed him not long after he was committed.

That lady who just killed the young mom and cut her open to steal her baby should also get the death penalty. She planned this, stalked this young mom, and deserves to die for what she did to this family.

Do I sound harsh?????? Maybe so, but people should think before they act.

Carmenilla 10 years ago

I'm surprised IP! The death penalty only makes it easier on the criminal. I would rather they rot in jail than get a quick exit outta here. And yes, people should think before they act. But if you are insane or in a murderous rage it makes it kinda hard. I'm not defending murderers by any means but its silly to think we can prevent crime by "looking before leaping". Thats not the nature of violence.....

JhawkH 10 years ago

How is it that killing a killer constitutes "just punishment" in any sense?

It should be plainly obvious that the "YOU KILL SOMEONE, YOU GET KILLED BACK" answer doesn't work because then the second killer would have to be killed by the same logic, and then the third and the fourth, and so on - a vicious cycle. If this is justice, then the only adequate justice for any killing would result in the eventual death of all people.

Have none of you heard the phrase "two wrongs don't make a right"? There seems to be some wisdom in that. Following a wrong with a wrong ends in twice as much wrong, not a wrong righted.

Now, about the proposal to "PUNISH the person that has ALREADY committed the crime." Again, how is it that this "punishment" is not itself a crime? Where is the logic? Further, what goal are you trying to accomplish with this punishment?

Killing the killer (as opposed to life imprisonment) is not better for the individual, it is not better for the victims (nothing can change their fate), and it is not better for society. How then can it be justified?

badger 10 years ago

Actually, ascot, that's precisely the reason I do get bent out of shape about it.

If we're going to decide that some people's crimes are so heinous that they merit death as a punishment, then let us have the moral fortitude to actually kill these people.

Limit appeals, or enact legislation that sets time limits during which all appeals must be filed. I'm really personally annoyed at the mindset that brings us, "He doesn't deserve to live, but we won't design a system that will kill him in under 30 years, either."

I'm just saying, "Commit, or admit it's not the way you really want to operate." If we really believed, as a society, that this is the right thing to do, then I think we'd be a little less ambivalent about it. I even see this ambivalence in death penalty advocates who oppose limitations on appeals or time limits on filing them.

I think that a lot of it comes from the fact that deep down, some people really want to appear tough on crime, but don't have the intestinal fortitude to actually do it, so they legislate themselves an out.

That's why I say it's over-sentenced and under-used. Leave the death penalty for the truly heinous crimes, the John Wayne Gacys and the Bob Berdellas, and carry those sentences out within five years.

BunE 10 years ago

To those of you that would put a person to death, I say that you go ahead and take that form of justice into your own hands. Kill the criminal yourself. If you are the son or wife of a victim, I doubt that you will be convicted of any crime. You would have made an individual decision to end a life after weighing the pros and cons, your hurt and anguish, your desire for revenge and blood. If you can do this, fine. You will be tried by your peers and imagine that the outcome will be a positive one.

The state however should not make decisions of life and death, it is not an individual, it can only be subject to the whims of the people who make the laws. The death penalty can be illegal one day and legal the next. It can be legal one day for the state to put to death jews and gypsys and then illegal the next.

No, the state has no business putting people to death. It has far to much power that is not wielded with conscience and a soul. While technology has made finding the truth easier, it has not done away with the possibility of mistake, or even of something more sinister. You have seen far to many CSI's if you think that our system is that perfect.

If a man kills my wife and rapes my daughter's I may take his life if I feel that it would somehow benefit me, but for the state to take a life on behalf of all of society is just a cover for those who would call for blood but are unwilling to submit themselves to the laws of man.

Killing is wrong. But only the individual can take responsibility for it, when the state does it, that blood is spread thin enough we can put it out of our minds. Well it is there staining us all.

rabb 10 years ago

Google search this phrase; "DNA clears man after 17 years". Then try this one, "DNA used to prosecute accused killer". DNA is used to clear the innocent much more often than it is used to convict the guilty. The problem is that the wrongly accused has usually spent fifteen years or more on death row before being exonerated by DNA evidence. Of course, on the bright side, if the wrongly accused whiners were killed expeditiously, they wouldn't have to suffer all those years in prison as victims of an imperfect system. A BLUE county in the middle of a RED state is still a RED state. So glad to be gone. Fight amongst yourselves, now.

Liberty 10 years ago

Why be afraid of the death penalty with a good government that does what God set them up to do?

They are only killing the body and sending the person who did the wrong with (strong proof) back to the creator God to stand in his court with the person that he wronged for judgement from God. (After death, then the judgement...)

Under the Constitution, you have the right of jury nullification. (This is the power of a jury to nullify an unjust law created by your government). However, the judges try to forbid your right to judge the law. It is a check and balance that judges are trying to throw out so they can rule over you with the beast system. Also look into what a Grand Jury can do as far as check and balance goes...

Grundoon Luna 10 years ago

It costs more to put an inmate to death than it does to keep them in prison for the remainer of their existance. So, the why-spend-the-money-to-keep-them-alive argument is pretty much down the tubes since far, far more will be spent trying to kill them. Serious reseach is repeatedly determining that eye witness testimony is phenominally unreliable. The abundent number of cases in which individuals whose convictions were based on "irrefutable" eye witness testimony and are now being cleared upon DNA testing should be a big eye opener. You can be sure that there have been many who have been wrongfully executed and our system should ensure that that doesn't happen. Sure, they may have had a rap sheet as long as your, uh, arm, but if they didn't do the crime then they shouldn't pay the ultimate price in the place of the one who did commit the crime. Don't get me wrong, I am not opposed to capital punishment so much as I am opposed to the way it's applied in many places in our country-what's going on in those execution happy states is fairly alarming. There are serious flaws that need to be corrected. Fix them and then carry on. A woman who cuts a child out of another's womb? Fry that horrid cow!!! As for Scott Peterson, it is delicious to think of him in prison for 60 years - if he would only last that long sigh - being someone's B!^@#. That pretty boy will have a very hard time. Killing him will be expensive and he deserves some Earthly suffering. Well, it will probably take 15 years of expensive appeals before he's executed and that may be enough suffering so, . . . KILL HIM ANYWAY . . and then have tea and biscuits.

topflight 10 years ago

put yourself in scott petersons shoes. the fact that you get to live in prison the rest of your life is miserable. but just think about knowing the exact day that you will die. nothing would be more miserable than that. DEATH IS PERMANENT. No waking up the next day, nothing, you are over.

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