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. Name*adam

    No room for hate crime,ONE LOVE!

    July 21, 2011 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
  2. TED

    You can make fun of me all you wish. I still think the death penalty is wrong. We arent supposed to kill people. Our country definitly should not be in the business of killing others. We should be an example, a shining light, to other countries. May your life be full of peace and happiness.

    July 21, 2011 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Insight4Real

      Why shouldn't our country be in the business of killing others? If it's thje right thing to do then we have to do it. We ARE an example and that's why we have to show that if you violently take another's life you forfeit your own. Pure and simple. I'd like to live in the fantasy world you live in, bet there is gumdrop houses on lollipop lane.

      July 21, 2011 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • bill

      Then Ted you pay to house the criminals. I don't want to.

      July 21, 2011 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      No, Ted...people aren't supposed to kill people. If they do, they must be punished, and the punishment must fit the crime. Nothing fits killing someone, like killing them.

      July 21, 2011 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • steven33

      i am a 100 percent with you on that i do not believe in the death penalty

      July 21, 2011 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Menos

      I've spent most of my life supporting the death penalty for accountability, deterrent, and justice / closure reasons. I also thought it didn't make fiscal sense to house and feed a prisoner for life when we could simply execute the guilty and save a lot of money. As it turns out, a recent report on CA death row indicated that it cost tax payers exponentially more to put a prisoner through the death row process then it does to imprison them for life. It takes an average of 25 years from verdict to execution due to the appeal process - most death row inmates end up dying of natural causes. There's very little empirical data to support that the death penalty is superior to a life sentence when it comes to being a deterent for brutal crimes that warrant the death penalty. So while I understand all too well the emotional support for the death penalty - I now take pause and question the validity of the process - especially in light of so many falsely accused murder cases that have come to light over the years. You can't undo death - that is why the appeal process is so long and expensive. The public pays for it. The return on investment with the death penalty / death row is horrible - nothing like I once believed. Sure - we can all say "speed up the process, etc" but the reality is that isn't going to happen given the gravity of the death penalty and the associated appeal process. Now I'm for life in prison with hard labor and stripped down "benefits" for heinous crimes (no TV, movie night, etc). It's much less expensive, allows for innocence to be proved for those falsely accused, and gives the prisoner a damn hard and lonely life - no easy way out.

      July 21, 2011 at 6:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • pat carr

      Oh spare the bleeding heart drivel. You're right: Let's all sing Kumbaya around the campfire with our vicious murderers.

      July 21, 2011 at 6:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joan Baez

      @ Pat Carr - it's because of mob rule monkeys like you that states continue to bleed money for the death penalty system even though they're bankrupt and can't afford it. The prison system is bursting at the seams in most states - causing the early release of 1000s of violent criminals. But because a lot of people believe a long list of false claims about the effectiveness of the death penalty - the politicians won't touch the issue for fear of coming across as "soft on crime". The reality is that the death penalty system costs far more than it's worth. Having to put death row inmates up in special facilities that cost far more than general population prisons– and then spending millions more on long, drawn out appeals processes (average 25 years) is just plain stupid when life without parole in a small cell is just as effective and far less expensive. This is not a bleeding heart argument against the death penalty - this is a reasoned argument based on a cost / benefit analysis. Also, the death penalty can also cause otherwise guilty criminals of capitol offences to walk free on lesser charges, a la Casey Anthony. Based on post trial juror comments, the prospect of the death penalty for Casey significantly affected their deliberation process and led to conviction of lesser charges. The bottom line is that the decision for or against the death penalty should be based on empirical data and research on the true effectiveness of it verse other options. The last thing it should be is an emotionally charged "one love" or "hang em high" mentality that throws reason to the wind.

      July 21, 2011 at 8:01 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Juan Banuelos

    I think we need to kill them faster, why spend money on them if they're going to die...you have to be an idiot to feed someone you're gonna kill. Kill them the same day the are sentenced. Morons

    July 21, 2011 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Henry

      At one point less than 50% of those who were sentenced to death in IL were guilty. Appeals exist for a reason.

      July 21, 2011 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Ella and Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    I do not think that the death penalty is a necessary evil, but it is necessary.

    July 21, 2011 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Mmmmm

    Maybe long time ago but with today's lifetime lockdown technology it is no longer necessary. Death penalty should be a rare occurence.

    July 21, 2011 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      Let me tell you something...I worked in prisons in Texas for eight years. The technology's not nearly as reliable as you think.

      July 21, 2011 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    It is.

    July 21, 2011 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Sean Russell

    Well, since this guy's guilt is not in question- he admits he did it; I definitely don't have a problem getting rid of him. We don't need people like him in this country. The first solution would be to deport them to some gawdawful place. People like this guy, that has a problem with other races, certainly doesn't have any place in this country. Hopefully, this will serve as a lesson to the rest of them.

    July 21, 2011 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
  8. David

    Governments, despots, marauding bands, and gangs of thugs have been using execution as a way to placate society and "send a message" to individuals for millenium. And yet we continue to implement it as a tool of justice in the hopes of what – reforming the individual who might think about murdering someone else? It doesn't appear that the message is getting through. No, this is more of a means of keeping the angry villagers with their torches and pitchforks raised high at bay. It fixes nothing.

    July 21, 2011 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Insight4Real

      The message will get through to him. I bet you he won't kill anyone else again.

      July 21, 2011 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jesus

    Where was forgiveness when he was shooting DEAD those innocent people he claimed was an act of "love and revenge" for his country. He should have been executed 3-5 months after he was found GUILTY and ADMITTED of guilt, then we won't be here almost 10 years later debating this. Imagine how much the government would have saved doing.

    July 21, 2011 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • David

      Where was forgiveness? Requesting a stay of execution in the form of the only surviving victim.

      July 21, 2011 at 6:05 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    I didn't think that our country killed this murderer, Stroman.
    Didn't Texas kill him?

    July 21, 2011 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Insight4Real

      God Bless Texas.

      July 21, 2011 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Airborne

    We need to hang him on a tree, upside down. There is no room for hate between. Everyone work for living and try their best to feed their kids on time.

    July 21, 2011 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
  12. nancy

    I think it is ok for chikens and cows. Not for peoples. Chikens and cows taste good. You can fry up a chiken and it taste powerful good.

    July 21, 2011 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Karl

    YEEESSSS. Let us show that if I kill – you kill me. It is killing spree. Go! Go! Go! You conservatives are oh so very two faced. Killing people on death row then bleating on about abortion. Please. How do you sleep at night?

    July 21, 2011 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
  14. wendy5

    but the gitmo boys are safe; if your gonna execute 1 for killing then all killers should be killed as well; or it looks like picking and choosing to me; prisons are full of them; i dont believe in it period myself i would make them work in chains and held in solitary after work no reading material visitors or anything

    July 21, 2011 at 6:05 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    Insight4Real is correct.

    July 21, 2011 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
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