PERRY: Killing me softly with a stay in executions while shelling gun nuts

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It’s a love-hate time of year. Warm sun. Aching frosts. Blue skies. Ferocious winds.

I get optimistic when I see the crocuses pocking through the annual glacier as it recedes from the north side of my house. But I get real when the melting reveals several strata of dog and cat poo deposited there during the winter.

PerryMy job reflects the same yin and yang this time of year. While the news from the gold dome in Downtown Denver is almost always bad, this year, I’ve been more hopeful than ever.

I’m holding my breath when it comes to state lawmakers bringing an end to Colorado’s death penalty.

If you’re new to this part of the paper, I can never say enough bad about the death penalty. Above all, I believe murdering anyone — enemies, robbery victims, convicted murderers — is repulsive and just dead wrong. But I also like to point out that it doesn’t make us any safer. Study after study shows that the death penalty does not affect murder rates. The landmark 2009 Smart on Crime Study went even further. Police chiefs agreed the death penalty is not a deterrent to murder. That, on top of endless UN research showing the exact same thing is just too much to ignore.

So, too, is the horrifying fact that since executions were juiced by a Supreme Court decision in 1976, at least 140 death-row exonerations have been signed when it turned out the cops got the wrong guy. One hundred forty. No kidding.

So spring is here and state lawmakers are actually very close to ending Colorado’s death penalty. Just when I get all optimistic, however, here comes bad weather.

Gov. John Hickenlooper signed some gun-control bills this week that bring a modicum of common sense to the out-of-control gun rights debate. Some gun aficionados are reacting to a new law demanding consistent background checks for gun sales like I would over a bill institutionalizing Sophie’s Choice. I love a dramatic argument, but the comment pages of our online newspaper read like Gunsmoke: The Soap Opera.

After emotional state hearings, anti-pro-gun-pro-regulation proponents, I think, had emotionally explosive diarrhea. These kinds of tempestuous hearings aren’t unique. Both Republicans and Democrats run them to draw attention or support to a wide range of causes: cancer research, AIDS treatment, homeless veterans, union bashing and the list goes on. Victims with real stories to tell get real results. Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, victims from Aurora, from Columbine, from Sandy Hook have been hitting the circuit in an effort to drum up support for current bills. Most have repeatedly stated they support Second Amendment rights — just not limitless rights. Despite one Connecticut man’s heartache, he genuinely wants to prevent someone else from losing their little boy. State Rep. Rhonda Fields, from Aurora, lost her son to a gangster who murdered him because he was a witness to a crime. She used to hold her son’s picture up and talk to cameras about the need to improve witness protection. She was very effective. But the recent appearance of her and others at the Capitol have infuriated gun-control critics.

A broken-hearted dad and many others may be misled in what they think will work, but they tell their stories so people know this isn’t about numbers or statistics. It’s about real little boys gunned down at real schools. It’s easy to dismiss horrible ideas when they happen to nameless people. It’s a whole different story when a sobbing father tells you what happened on the other end of a gun, or because of the lack of cancer treatment, or because the government doesn’t ensure cars are safe, or vaccines, or canned tuna — whatever the issue is. I don’t believe Congress will pass any bills. Colorado has. There will be another couple of massacres soon, and this will become an election issue in ‘14. More Republicans will stand behind gun control or be tossed out. And it’ll start all over. Having gone through a shooting massacre just a few steps from my desk, I selfishly hope it doesn’t happen here again, or to anybody I know. Despite the cloudless skies today, looks like cold weather on the horizon.

 

Reach editor Dave Perry at 303-750-7555 or [email protected]

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Jason
Jason
9 years ago

As usual Dave Perry, I disagree 100%. First, in the 140 cases of the death penalty exonerations, the system worked. That is why we have appeals process and don’t execute people tomorrow at high noon. What you failed to mention, is that in since 1976 not one case of mistaken execution has taken place. Not one. It may not deter crime, but neither does incarcerating someone for life. Do you really believe keeping Nathan Dunlap in prison for 70 plus years until he dies naturally is the best course of action?

2nd and fittingly, the 2nd amendment shall not be infringed. Those that voted for those feel good laws have not made us any safer. Study after study shows gun control causes higher violent crime rates including rape, domestic assault and armed robbery. Not to mention the atrocities committed in the last 100 years against those unable to defend themselves. 170 million dead in part because they could not defend themselves. I suggest you spend some time reading about genocide in the last 100 years. Look at the pictures of the dead men, women and children and tell me that gun control is a good idea. Tyranny an tyrants exists and will continue to exists until someone stands up to them. BTW, America is not immune to mass murder. We have committed our fair share within our own borders. Wounded Knee, Kent State, Ludlow, Sand Creek.

Fact is gun control kept those in theater 9, and Columbine defenseless. 500+ dead in Chicago last year. Gun control only makes honest citizens become victims, instead of defenders.

The gang of 4 Pat Stryker, Jared Polis, Tim Gill, and Rutt Bridges may be using their money and influence to change Colorado into a blue state via election, but they will not change all of us. We cannot all be bought, and we will not all become head in the clouds progressives like you Dave.

fishunter
fishunter
9 years ago

Jason wrote a good comment, however, he could have added a bit more about Perry and his bias.

Aldo Elmnight
Aldo Elmnight
9 years ago

Another emotionally driven fascist pushing agendas that will result in the loss of natural rights and death of innocent people. He must be a demoncrat.

Tim
Tim
9 years ago

It’s pretty bad when the four people, that we can confirm, read Perry’s articles feel that the comments after the article make more sense than the article itself.