Overheard on CNN.com: Is death penalty a necessary evil?
"I cannot tell you that I am an innocent man. I am not asking you to feel sorry for me," said Mark Anthony Stroman.
July 21st, 2011
04:40 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Is death penalty a necessary evil?

Comment of the Day:

"This guy was not a 9/11 revenge killer. He was a sociopathic criminal with a long history of violence and robbery. I am not a proponent of the death penalty necessarily, but I do not weep for him."–dkgolfer71

Texas man executed for post-9/11 murder

The execution of convicted murderer Mark Anthony Stroman Wednesday night had many CNN.com readers arguing for the death penalty. Stroman was convicted of killing Vasudev Patel during a shooting rampage, purportedly in revenge for 9/11. Stroman told CNN in a recent interview, "I am a human being and made a terrible mistake out of love, grief and anger, and believe me, I am paying for it every single minute of the day."

Maccaman said, "While I do not 'like' the death penalty, it is a necessary evil. There are evil people in this world who simply need to face the ultimate punishment for heinous crime. Forgiveness is one thing I believe in, but accountability is just as important. People die accidentally every day in horrible ways. Why is putting a killer to death so shocking in this world where death is a fact of life?"

TangataNY said, "Ironic. The 9/11 terrorists, Stroman, and the U.S. Supreme Court have something in common: they all believe that you can make the world a better place by killing people."

wilbert3 said, "He should have been executed, and I am white, so it is not about discrimination. I believe anyone who intentionally kills someone else should be put to death. As a juror, I would have to believe the person did it and intended to do it beyond a reasonable doubt. Once all people know what will happen to them and it will be severe, they just might think ahead regarding their actions."

Others expressed concern over mistakes made during the judicial process. sarge106 said, "I am NOT liberal, or democrat, but there are those 139 men on death row that have been freed because of DNA testing: 139 of the wrong guys on their way to the gallows. It does cause me to wonder, and I am a bloodthirsty barbarian." fistv said, "I agree, more than 200 have been found innocent. However, this animal did what he did without a shadow of a doubt; the sad part was it took so darn long to juice the monster."

Regardless of their stance on the death penalty, CNN.com readers had warm words for Rais Bhuiyan. Blinded in one eye during the rampage, he later campaigned to save Stroman's life. HolyFrijoles said, "For Bhuiyan to forgive and then go on to pursue a stay of execution is remarkable, something beautiful in a very ugly story."

Minnesota school district investigated after civil rights complaint

Federal authorities are looking into "allegations of harassment and discrimination in the Anoka-Hennepin School District based on sex," according to a district memo provided exclusively to CNN. The federal investigation comes after a string of seven student suicides in less than two years. Parents and friends say four of those students were either gay, perceived to be gay or questioning their sexuality, and they say, at least two of them were bullied because of their sexuality.

JeepersIII said, "You wonder where Michele Bachmann comes from. This is in her district. Now do you understand?"

MominMN423 said, "My 11-year-old goes to Anoka-Hennepin School District and has been bullied. There were 7 suicides linked to being bullied in school. The issue is that they 'happen' to be gay or perceived gay. The real problem is that kids get bullied on the playground or on the bus or between classes and there is no supervision in those places. It doesn't matter what they are bullied about. But the school district should be responsible for teaching about GLTB in health education classes. As a mom of a new middle schooler, I hope that this article and federal probe brings to light deficiencies in the school system."

Readers struggled to understand what school policy meant by "neutrality." CCD0208 said, "If you actually watch the video you learn that the policy does not prohibit teachers from stopping bullying of gay students and allows them to talk about the issue."

oldguy12 said, "The anti-harassment\bullying policy *requires* teachers and staff to intervene if they see or learn of harassment or bullying regardless of the basis, including harassment based on sexual orientation. The problem isn't the neutrality policy, it maybe\is enforcing the anti-harassment policy."

dirtybird argued that the First Amendment gives a Christian student "absolute right to walk into his public school and publicly state that homosexuality is an abomination and that homosexuals are hell-bound deviants who deserve everlasting torment."

MOCaseA replied "Actually, the Constitution gives you the right to choose and practice your choice of religion, but it does not allow hate-mongering and verbal assault of another individual, nor allow anyone to create a hostile environment, especially one that is operated by state and federal government, for anyone else because of personal religion. "

crackiswhack agreed, "Sorry boss, there's a difference between having an opinion and harassing people because of it. You say 'I don't believe homosexuality is right.'– that's fine. But that's different from shouting names at someone and targeting them for daily harassment. I'm very sorry if you don't understand the difference. Oh, and love thy neighbor. I think Jesus said that."

Please don't eat in the bathroom

Eatocracy editor Kat Kinsman asks, "Can't we as a society set the bar higher than eating in the can?" Describing a coworker spotted eating cereal in a bathroom stall and a subway rider tucking into fried chicken yards away from a "rat ballet," she asks readers, "Does it gross you out to see people eat in unsanitary public places?"

Mare responded, "I leave my coffee mug outside on the floor if I'm making a pit stop on the way to get coffee. It's just gross." But her comment caused an outcry over whether that was more sanitary than bringing the cup into the bathroom. Rachel M said, "The floor just outside a bathroom is a monumentally dirtier place than a raised sink inside that bathroom. Hygiene fail."

Belingo said, "God, you people have issues. Personally, I wouldn't take my coffee mug on the way to the toilet, but bacteria are everywhere, and that's good, that's how our immune system is kept active."

Others thought even reading in the bathroom was disgusting. Puddle of Evil said, "The evil parental unit uses her bathroom as a library. I've stopped lending her books for this reason."

Queen of Everything said, "I see people on their way to a meeting stop by the bathroom and they often take their notepad or papers in with them. It makes my skin crawl every time I see it. I don't even want to think about where they are putting those papers while they are doing their business."

Chris said, "Oh, come on, stop being such germophobes. Just because you take something in the bathroom with you doesn't mean it comes out encrusted in feces and dried urine. What do you think these people are doing, wiping themselves with their notepads?"

Do you feel your views align with these commenters' thoughts? Post a comment below or sound off on video.

Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

soundoff (117 Responses)
  1. PensacolaPete

    Jesus Christ was put to death by the state. The death penalty is one of mankind's greatest moral failures. It is totally un-Christian. It derives from ancient laws that are at least 4000 years old. How crude, just in its execution. How wrong, even when it's not applied by mistake to an innocent, such as Jesus Christ. It is as abhorent as the crimes which people claim justify it.

    July 21, 2011 at 9:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • TheOneWhoKnows

      The bible is like 4000 years old so we should try to do away with that too huh. I'd be willing to exchange.

      July 21, 2011 at 9:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robert

      If the consequences for killing another are free room and board for life (plus free medical, dental and cable TV!)--or DEATH, which do you feel is a disincentive to kill another? Why should someone be afraid to kill another? DUH! Think about it.

      July 21, 2011 at 10:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ben

      This is not the stance of the Catholic church. There are some so beyond help who are such a danger to the rest of society that they must be removed from the confines of the earth...

      July 22, 2011 at 3:29 am | Report abuse |
  2. Mr sandyk

    I honestly believe that forgiveness of the person who commited the crime does not negate the death penalty. you can forgive and believe in punishment.

    July 21, 2011 at 9:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Aj

      But Mr. K isn't that up to God weather some one lives or dies ?

      July 21, 2011 at 10:47 pm | Report abuse |
  3. ohthatchar

    I believe if one is NOT truly evil, but made really bad mistakes or decisions, then death is actually a release of incarcerated 'forever.' for them. They get relieved of life in prison if they are not evil and a continuing threat to society. If this person was a truly evil,, the only thing accomplished by putting him to death in this lifetime is to shove him right back onto Earth. I'd rather have him locked up for the rest of their current life. And by the way, THAT is less expensive than courting a death penalty.

    July 21, 2011 at 9:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • TheOneWhoKnows

      Wow...your mind is so so far out there.

      July 21, 2011 at 9:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • ohthatchar

      @ The OneWhoKnows.. Genius people think out of your boxed containment. Sorry. And sorry, too, you really DON'T know. I wish you enlightenment. Namaste.

      July 21, 2011 at 9:18 pm | Report abuse |
  4. db

    Lethal injection is a stupid way to put prisioners to death. In my opinion they should die the same way that they chose to end anothers life, simple, and easy. Let them feel the same pain and fear that they people they killed felt when the committed the crime of murder.

    July 21, 2011 at 9:08 pm | Report abuse |
  5. A Robertson

    State executions are a sign of a failed backward state.. How many innocents have been executed..

    July 21, 2011 at 9:09 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Ken Long

    I am a Republican and a prosecutor. The death penalty is fiscally irresponsible. It cost about 2.5 million to execute a man, about 500K to incarcerate him for life, which can be reduced if he works. Female inmates cost less, but very few females are on death row. That said, as a prosecutor I have been disgusted by judges who are aloof as to the realities of crime. If you leave someone in prison long enough, a liberal judge or governor will free him or her through a pardon or post-conviction proceedings. If "life without parole" really meant "life WITHOUT parole," we would have no need for the death penalty.

    July 21, 2011 at 9:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robert

      Wait just a minute here..... If the consequences for killing another are free room and board for life (plus free medical, dental and cable TV!)--or DEATH, which do you feel is a disincentive to kill another? Why should someone be afraid to kill another? Think about it.

      July 21, 2011 at 10:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bro

      Point well taken. I say take away all the extras and keep all the predators in one giant holding area so they can fight over everything. Try and educate the lesser criminals as they will need to find a decent life when they get out. As for the TV.. Guards like it be cause it keeps the inmates more docile. It's not really cable tv they get some basic channels, news and weather. Either way we agree that there shouldn't be extra benefits for some of these people. I still don't think the death penalty is a deterrent. Hasn't stopped anything from where I'm sitting.

      July 21, 2011 at 11:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Earl J

      All this killing does not make the world any better.
      America sort revenge on the 9/11 perpetrators.
      What is the out come?
      Hundreds of thousands of people died....lots of them innocent people.
      Many young American soldiers have died,creating hardships on their families and
      the American economy is in a shamble.There is money to kill but not for other things.
      Bin laden is dead and America is in deep trouble economically.Killing does not solve
      anything.
      Most people would not want their family executed...just others/

      July 25, 2011 at 10:10 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Michael

    Imagine using the terrorism of 9/11 as an excuse to create your own terrorism – in the case of Mark Anthony Stroman
    killing an innocent person – that is terrible – in the case of the United States under Bush/Cheney killing many tens of thousands – that is terrible beyond belief. Americans might have a less parochial understanding if they were being killed, bombed, burned, dronned, tortured or otherwise called collateral damage under the guise of – "fighting for our freedom." But remember, I am just someone who does not get my news by the state controlled media so what do I know.

    When asked his opinion of Western Civilization – Ghandi replied that he thought it would be a good idea.

    July 21, 2011 at 9:42 pm | Report abuse |
  8. fernace

    The reason I don't like the death penalty is: a) it's not consistant, b) it takes too long to implement, c) it should only be used on criminals, who were caught in the act, confessed, or there's scientific proof! Here in Texas the death penalty going forward is not a rare occurence, as I'm sure the rest of the country knows! I used to be against it, but too many child murderers & something that happened to me personally changed my mind! In order to continue this outdated mode of punishment, the system needs a serious overhaul, specifically so innocent people aren't executed! I have some ideas how to do it, but guv'nah Goodhair isn't calling me about it, the turkey!!

    July 21, 2011 at 9:43 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Aj

    I can never condone the death penalty when God specifically says "thou shall not kill" and "vengence is mine says the Lord". I'm not bugging on that one, you all can make ur own choices and ans to Jesus.

    July 21, 2011 at 10:53 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Common Sense Clyde

    @Aj: Answer to Jesus or God? I'm confused.. A lord is below a king and Jesus is often called the king of kings.. I'm placing my bets on the Sky people and their leader. There is nothing about Jesus that makes him better than all the other angels, so it seems very foolish and egotistical to call him God's only son. I'm God's child too as are you. None of us are better than the other. The Bible condones much killing even the stoning of children. It's not a very coherent piece of literature. We agree that taking another's life is wrong though, but George Bush was supposedly uber Christian and he has much blood on his hand. He can't use the loophole that he only gave the order and he didn't do any actual killing. That's what the Devil does and it's not an acceptable excuse. Just my opinion.

    July 22, 2011 at 12:51 am | Report abuse |
  11. tim

    If there's no question of guilt then yes a killer should be put to death ASAP. The victim's family shouldn't have to wait years upon years for justice to be done. In effect-you take a life , we take your life.

    July 23, 2011 at 10:25 am | Report abuse |
  12. john the baptist

    Kill killers-yeah.

    July 23, 2011 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
  13. Les

    I am not always for the death penalty. Im torn sometimes, but if your gonna do it and the person is 100% guilty caught red handed whatever you want to call it, why not put one bullet in there head a couple of days after being found guilty ? How is that so expensive. So if Its the cost people are worried about, Im sure the victims family would pay for the bullet.

    July 23, 2011 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
  14. pinbalwyz

    I agree with the observer commenting on the common thread shared by the 9/11 terrorists, Stroman, and the US Supreme Ct. Justices–killing to make a better world, just like John Brown. I do question how it is we condone the contradiction between collective and individual morality. Collateral damage, planned executions, revenge killings...all permitted, even celebrated under the guise of collectivism. But woe to the anarchist/individual who follows the same path on their own! Some of us just don't get it, I suppose.

    August 7, 2011 at 8:29 am | Report abuse |
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