News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion
SUNDAY, MARCH 20, 2005


'Life without parole' sentence doesn't exist


On March 1, the U.S. Supreme Court barred the execution of juvenile murderers. All these sentences were commuted to life imprisonment.

Thirteen inmates in Alabama are off Death Row. All of these juvenile killers murdered old and young alike. Some of them killed their parents. One statement from one these morons said it all: "We can get away with it because we're minors."

The heart and soul of this country should be shocked to the core because there is no certainty that they will stay in prison for the rest of their lives. What if some of these murderous minors are actually set free to prey on society again?

On Nov 15, 1966, Kenneth Allen McDuff was convicted in Fort Worth, Texas for the cold-blooded murders of three teenagers. He received the death sentence — electrocution. McDuff was 18 years old, with a long history of juvenile delinquency. But, in 1989, McDuff was set free, paroled by the state of Texas!

From 1989 through 1994, the Texas prison system became overcrowded. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice's budget tripled from $700 million to $2.2 billion. Thousands of cold-blooded killers were paroled from Texas penitentiaries. From the moment in October, 1989, when Kenneth McDuff's feet hit freedom, he went on another killing spree, murdering at least six people, maybe more, before being apprehended. Then, on Feb. 23, 1994, McDuff once again received the death penalty. On Nov. 17, 1998, he was finally put to death by lethal injection.

The point: as long as pardons and clemency exist, there is no such thing as a guaranteed execution, much less a true "life without parole" sentence.

Jimmy Robinson


Church-state separation requirement of freedom


In response to James L. Evans' column, "10 reasons not to post the Big Ten," I would like to say, "Bravo!" Finally, a Christian puts into words what a lot of us believe. The founders of this country wanted everyone in the United States to have freedom of religion and separation of church and state, "and" being the key word.

God gave us freedom of choice instead of making us clones of himself. Who are we to say that God's plan is wrong? Our God-given freedom allows us to choose to believe or not to believe. Forcing Christian faith on those who choose not to believe is not freedom.

A look at world history shows us that mankind abuses power and freedom. Our founding fathers knew this, thus separating the laws of this country from religious beliefs. We have the freedom to walk into a courtroom and be treated fairly, regardless of how we believe or don't believe. What a wonderful thing!

Believe what you want in your heart; say it out loud to the world, but remember: God gave us this choice. Our laws protect that choice for everyone, not just the Christians. Again, I say, "Bravo!" to a well-spoken, God-fearing Christian, the Rev. James L. Evans, who understands what freedom in the United States is all about.

Vicki L. Howell


Older Americans need to care about future


It is time Americans, especially the older generation, stop thinking about only themselves. If I could have contributed half of what I paid in Social Security into a private account, I would be independently wealthy today.

Why not support such a plan for the younger generation? Our parents are known for their sacrifices; they fought wars for our freedoms and suffered through a depression.

Will we be known as the selfish generation, or a generation that cared for its heirs?

Dale Lindsey


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