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. OceanLight

    ? Taking someone else's life willfully should cost the offender his/her own life. It's a simple logic. God's Book says so and the universal sense of justice among mankind says so. One must not harm innocent humans beings if he wants to keep breathing on earth.

    July 21, 2011 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Garrett

      You should never feel so right about something so important as the life of another human being. I'm sure your opinion would change if someone you loved were about to be executed. The taking of a human life is never 'simple logic.'

      July 21, 2011 at 7:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • aww naww

      @OceanLight: I a s sume you mean the Bible? It also says thou shalt not kill, stone unruly children (but not the cheating mothers that produced them) and it also suggests that sodomy is something punishable by fire and brimstone. I hope you haven't indulged in any sinful behavior, because the justice you push is the justice you will receive. I don't support the death penalty, because innocent men have died and the ones who pushed the button are not saved according to your logic. Let them rot in a cage. Take away all fringe benefits, but don't make yourself as bad as them. Just my opinion.

      July 21, 2011 at 7:48 pm | Report abuse |
  2. OceanLight

    Death penalty is justice, though it can be errored and misused by humans. The reason a society needs fair trials.

    July 21, 2011 at 7:02 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Joshua

    So, we should kill people, who kill people, to show that killing people is wrong? That makes SO much sense.

    July 21, 2011 at 7:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bremen

      You can look at it that way, and understandably so. However more harm is done to the public by letting people live, giving the impression hey, you can kill and you won't be executed for it. Not good, and too much money is spent on people with life sentences... honestly what is the point of keeping them alive? If they can't contribute positively to society anymore.. a lifetime punishment behind bars sounds barbaric to me. I would rather die, most would.

      July 21, 2011 at 7:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • aww naww

      @breman: I get your point, but I think a better way to scare people away from it is to have one big nasty supermax pit we throw all these monsters in and let them fight for basic items like food water and toilet paper. Show this to every bad kid and tell them this is in their future if they don't shape up. No guards to break up fights.. Hey we can toss in some child predators too. Some people don't care about dying but some care how they live. Just my opinion.

      July 21, 2011 at 7:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • pinbalwyz

      I can't be certain of 'cause & effect', but statistics show lower homicide rates in States WITHOUT the death penalty. No criminal EXPECTS to be caught. Hence, the deterrence argument is suspect.

      August 7, 2011 at 8:44 am | Report abuse |
  4. Coffeeman

    The legal cost of a death penalty is $ 3 million, excluding cost of keeping these people in federal prison.

    July 21, 2011 at 7:04 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Bremen

    Simply, yes. Imagine a world with no executions, murders, rapists, filling up cells, getting out early or leeching more and more off of other peoples tax paying dollars in an already weakening economy. What is the point of prison? Punishment. What is the point of punishing someone for his or her full life, sometimes with ridiculous multiple life sentences? So they can rot in jail and mooch off society behind bars? Sound barbaric to me. Clean our trash up, otherwise it will pile and pile.

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

      Personally I see prison as a way to protect the public by removing dangerous elements and the death penalty as a way to force people to take responsibilty for theur actions.

      July 21, 2011 at 7:20 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Marv

    Wait, CNN is passing off user comments as news headlines? Oh, man...

    July 21, 2011 at 7:11 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Frank Luarde

    I can understand how feelings are for revenge. However, if you think about it would you like to be put to sleep in a minute or less, or would you like to live in a cage for the rest of your life? Death in my opinion is the most humane method to use on a convicted killer. One other thing to consider: What if somehow it is shown that the conviction was wrong? Do what you will, but if I was rightly convicted, I would choose death in place of confinement in a cage.

    July 21, 2011 at 7:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • pinbalwyz

      How humane prison conditions are is a separate question from the morality of the death penalty. When punishment becomes inhumane, it becomes counterproductive.

      August 7, 2011 at 8:48 am | Report abuse |
  8. Libertarian Mike

    I see it two ways. The guy probably deserves to die, and I certainly won't weep for him, but I don't feel comfortable giving anyone, especially the government, the right to take his life. Too many innocent people have been put on death row before. As long as our justice system is flawed, which everyone will admit to, there should be no death penalty.

    July 21, 2011 at 7:30 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Trog

    This is interesting...collecting comments about comments as a "news" item.
    The concept of "Prison as punishment" seems to have taken a dominant position to "Prison as reform"
    Life is cheap.

    July 21, 2011 at 7:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Yeeaaahhh Boiiiiii

      Israel has the lowest recidivism rate of any country. Ours is 60% because we have a revolving door system. Studies show a link to lower rates of criminals commiting crime after release when they've gotten an education. Things aren't working the way we do things. Our culture is in the toilet collectively, so it's no wonder things are as bad as they are. I say treat the really bad offenders really bad and try to truly rehabilitate the ones guilty of lesser crimes. It ends up cheaper and safer for everyone when you do it right. Too bad the issue is politicized.

      July 21, 2011 at 10:03 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Gpa1tim

    Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed for in the image of God made he man. Gen 9:6

    July 21, 2011 at 7:34 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Dorothy

    I am a fairly conservative individual. However, I do not agree with the death penalty for the same reason that I do not agree with abortion. It is not our place to choose which people should live and which should die. Life is a gift from God and should be treated as such. When we devalue human life, we cause our society to become degenerate and amoral. I take offense at people using Christianity as a justification for the death penalty, because "Vengeance is Mine, saith the Lord." Let God choose. However, I also do not believe that those who commit heinous acts should ever be allowed out of prison so that they have the opportunity to hurt others again. It is cheaper to keep them in prison than it is to kill. It also prevents the death of innocents.

    July 21, 2011 at 7:44 pm | Report abuse |
  12. arnie luke

    I think death penalty is still needed in this world. It simply helps to restrain the most heartless people on this earth.

    July 21, 2011 at 7:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Karl

      Yes, let us kll. Let us show that killing is wrong by example

      July 21, 2011 at 9:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Yeeaaahhh Boiiiiii

      I'd like to see what study you referenced about the death penalty being a deterrent. I'm fairly certain Mexico has capital punishment, but that hasn't stemmed violence any. We are failing our youth and have been since before I was born. Things will get worse if we don't curb it now. You're expecting people to crawl through a sewer and not get dung on them. We need to clean the sewer. It will never happen though. People like you need a bad guy to make yourself look better.

      July 21, 2011 at 10:09 pm | Report abuse |
  13. mm

    The punishment fits the crime. I'm all for the death penalty when there is no doubt. If there is doubt and lack of proof, then life with hard labor and no possibility of parole.

    July 21, 2011 at 7:50 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Fiver40

    I understand the emotion of revenge. If someone killed my wife or kids, I'd be the first one to have a front row seat at the killer's execution. But, I wonder, if George Bush, Bill Clinton, or someone of that stature were to commit a murder, let's say in front of many witnesses, would they end up on death row? Would they be executed?

    July 21, 2011 at 7:51 pm | Report abuse |


    July 21, 2011 at 7:52 pm | Report abuse |
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