Essay inspires death penalty foes


Jeff Engelhardt's essay ("'My father's son' seeks forgiveness, not death penalty", Jan. 26) was beautiful. The strength, the power, and the wisdom of his words are inspiring. What concepts: peace, forgiveness, change, courage.

Engelhardt is right: executing his family's killer won't bring them back. But it would rob him of the opportunity to extend forgiveness, to learn if the convicted man could change, maybe heal, maybe bring some good into the world after all.

And though Engelhardt isn't advocating for or against abolishing the death penalty, our organization is. After much study during the course of decades, The League of Women Voters has learned that the death penalty is more expensive to administer than life in prison without chance of parole, it does not deter capital offenses, and it is more often applied to those with the least means (to afford high priced legal defense).

We have also learned that many victims, like Engelhardt, do not wish to see death result in more death. Many of these victims say execution doesn't make them feel better. Governor Quinn is waiting to hear from citizens before he signs the bill sitting on his desk. We urge you to write to him and ask him to sign the bill to abolish the death penalty in Illinois.

Address your letter to: The Honorable Governor Patrick Quinn, Office of the Governor, 207 State House, Springfield, IL, 62706. Engelhardt's essay gave me courage. I think his father would be very, very proud of him.

Ginger Wheeler

President League of Women Voters of Glen Ellyn