Russell D. Larson (“Reason for death penalty,” March 10) believes that certain individuals are so evil that they are the human equivalent of the fecal matter that he flushes down the toilet and therefore deserve to be flushed down the judicial toilet of the death penalty.
I recommend that he read “Guilty by Reason of Insanity,” which describes what a psychiatrist and a neurologist learned from examining death-row inmates. They found that these individuals suffered from one or more of the following: severe mental illness, severe brain damage and severe abuse (physical, sexual, emotional). They also interviewed an executioner, whose life history was quite interesting.
Our society continues to have a strong bias against diseases of the brain. If your heart or liver or lungs are infected or do not function well, you receive treatment. Have a severely dysfunctional brain and we kill you. Mr. Larson, I strongly urge you to read the book. If there is an ounce of compassion and Christianity in you (you described yourself as Catholic), the inmates’ stories should make you rethink your opinion.
Aharon D. Shulimson, Salt Lake City