Leader Blues

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

EDITORIAL>> End death penalty for young people

Arkansas is one of only 21 small dominions on earth where an eye for an eye is still the operating theology with juveniles.

Just the other day, the state Senate moved to correct that by voting solidly to ban the death penalty for people who commit capital crimes before they turn 18. Last week, the U. S. Supreme Court finished the job for the legislature by ending the execution of youngsters forever. Every other nation on earth bars the execution of juveniles.

The brutish Iranians and Pakistanis partnered with us until not long ago but they no longer had the stomach for it. Arkansas and a few other states until this week were the only places on earth that exacted the last full measure of revenge upon the immature, as well as men who are seasoned to kill.

But does the Supreme Courtís decision relieve Arkansas of the burden?

We donít think it does.

If this is, indeed, the standard of civilized conduct in the United States as well as in the rest of the world ó and the Senateís vote, the backing of the governor and major religious groups and polls say that it is even in Arkansas ó then let it be reflected in our own laws even if it is a week or two behind the deed.

Let us join the caravan of civilization, not hide and watch.

The House of Representatives should take up the bill and pass it lustily.