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. CSnSC

    Karl, do you read what you post ? If so, and thats what you realy mean to say, then you are an idiot !

    July 21, 2011 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    I've said this before:
    The death penalty would deter ME from committing murder, while life imprisonment would not.
    My only reservation would be whether the prison where I'd spend my life had air conditioning.

    July 21, 2011 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Karl

    Murder is murder. Plain and simple. No matter how you want cook the dish....

    July 21, 2011 at 6:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • helloeyes

      Agreed. The death penalty is one area where this nation is still very backwards.

      July 21, 2011 at 6:50 pm | Report abuse |
  4. GayAtheist

    Life in prison is easier on the tax payer and harder on the criminal.

    July 21, 2011 at 6:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • TXCowgirl

      If you live in CA... but, here in TX, we don't give you time enough to be that much of a burden- we take care of you quickly and effeciently.

      July 21, 2011 at 6:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Eric of Reseda

      I live in California, am a Liberal. Frankly, we need to amend our laws and make it MUCH easier to execute. If there is a SLIVER of doubt, if DNA has been checked and is conclusive, etc., then we need to execute these guys in short order. The only reason capital punishment costs more than life wihtout parole in California is because of the burdensome legal process it takes to finally kill these guys. But I'm sorry, when you have a guy like Polly Klaas' murderer who is undeniably guilty and rubs our collective nose in the murder, it's time to spend the money on a few bullets, take this guy out back, adn shoot him. Now, in California, wee have several hundred of these types that we warehouse at MY expense, and other Cal residents. That doesn't cut it. So, execute, execute, execute.

      July 21, 2011 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Karl

    CSnSC, you are a bit strange. Please leave the debate unless you want to debate,

    July 21, 2011 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Neal

    Please hurry up and kill this worthless SOB. He deserves no sympathy at all.

    July 21, 2011 at 6:27 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Karl

    GayAtheist, you are very much correct.

    July 21, 2011 at 6:28 pm | Report abuse |
  8. 9mil

    So izze dead yet?

    July 21, 2011 at 6:30 pm | Report abuse |
  9. John

    Capital punishment teaches people that government believes killing someone is an acceptable solution to a problem. So, you have a problem with someone? Then killing them is a solution acceptable to society. You may get executed in return, but that's the risk you take. Personally, I do not believe taking a life is an acceptable solution to anything. Now, letting someone rot forever in prison seems like a good idea.

    July 21, 2011 at 6:40 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Karl

    Republicans: These three cells in a p
    etri dish are far more important than the 45 year old on death row. This is what I mean about being two-faced. Both have a life. Who made us God to determine life and death?

    July 21, 2011 at 6:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • helloeyes

      Nobody did Karl – an eye for an eye just makes one more person dead. It's not justice – it's revenge, execution style.

      July 21, 2011 at 6:52 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Curtis

    Meta-weird... people commenting on comments.

    Oh wait...

    July 21, 2011 at 6:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Benjamin Dover

      I agree completely. We are now commenting on comments about a news article about comments.

      July 21, 2011 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
  12. helloeyes

    The death penalty is sanctioned killings – more evolved societies have abolished it.

    July 21, 2011 at 6:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Eric of Reseda

      Nonsense. It is NOT more evolved NOT to execute murderers. It is completely against our humanity to warehouse killers. Meanwhile, THAT money ISN'T going to, say, feeding and schooling children. The absolute most NATURAL and HUMANE thing to do, the HEALTHIEST thing for a society to do, is to kill in short order those that threaten us and our kids. Where this MYTH that it is uncivilized to execute killers cam along, I don't know. But it's utter nonsense. How many times do we have to read about a child molester or rapist or killer being let out of jail...adn they end up killing a child or a female teen. And what do we do? Lock 'em up for a few years....It's crazy. They should be shot and thrown into a ditch. Period.

      July 21, 2011 at 7:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • pinbalwyz

      Throw 'em in a ditch, eh? I think that sums up the 'pro' argument pretty well.

      August 7, 2011 at 8:38 am | Report abuse |
  13. 808GURUDUDE

    TANGATANY ASKS WHY DO THEY (DEATH PENALTY PROPONENTS) THINK THEY CAN MAKE THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE BY KILLING PEOPLE? IS THIS COUNTRYS PRESENCE IN IRAQ & AFGANISTAN (WHICH INVOLVES KILLING PEOPLE) MAKING THIS WORLD A BETTER PLACE? WHAT DO YOU THINK THIS COUNTRY (THIS GOVERNMENT) WAS DOING IN VIETNAM, KOREA, HIROSHIMA, WOUNDED KNEE, & ON & ON?

    July 21, 2011 at 6:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • helloeyes

      Yes I have to agree, and add that this country has always freely claimed a right to kill if it serves their purpose. I don't agree with the death penalty. How we treat the worse off just shows you how evolved we are as a society.

      July 21, 2011 at 6:54 pm | Report abuse |
  14. IAmProudToBeME

    All I have to say is PLUR. People might associate that with ravers and dumb kandi kids but I honestly live by it. If you don't know what that is, look it up. It changed my life and it could maybe help yours. No religion involved. Simply Peace, Love, Unity & Respect. Those few words are some of the most important in our day to day lives and we tend to forget them. Reading about 7 children KILLING themselves because they were made to believe they weren't perfect is sickening. Those bullys AND their parents should be ashamed of themselves for believing and teaching that you have to be a certain way to fit in. Now those families have to weep for their fallen loved ones. What if your child killed themselves over such hate? Accept everyone for who they are, not who you want them to be. PLUR ❤

    July 21, 2011 at 6:52 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Benjamin Dover

    Since when are readers' quotes NEWS????????

    July 21, 2011 at 6:57 pm | Report abuse |
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