Plog at pitch.com: Killa City
A few weeks ago, I remember reading a story about several people being shot behind a business in Westport. In the same issue of the online Star, I read about how a DUI checkpoint had yielded, I think, eight arrests. The article didn't mention how many people were stopped to arrive at those eight arrests. A few years ago, Candy Lightner, the founder of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, resigned from the MADD board because the continued lowering of the illegal blood-alcohol content had made the drunk-driving laws more about revenue streams for local law-enforcement entities than about stopping the most dangerous drunk drivers. Would a more effective use of law enforcement be to work to lower the homicide rate? I guess the answer depends on where you live.
Rich Hill, Missouri
Sorry, but I am unmoved by all the good deeds that Dennis Skillicorn did while on death row. Skillicorn was involved in a series of crimes that took the lives of four innocent people, all because he wanted to get high. Like most other inmates on death row, Skillicorn probably deserves his fate. I am also unmoved by a lot of the "big picture" arguments against capital punishment, such as the socioeconomic and/or racial inequity of it, the prohibitively high cost, or even the possibility that we might execute an innocent person. The only argument against the death penalty that trips me up is the argument that we, as a society, should not kill other human beings as part of our criminal justice system. I don't think Dennis Skillicorn or anyone else should be executed in this country, but I won't shed a tear or light a candle for him or any of the other dirtbags currently sweating on death row.
Stephen M. Smith
Kansas City, Kansas
Barely two years ago, Jay Nixon, as attorney general, called for execution dates to be set for 12 death-row inmates. Dennis Skillicorn was among these 12 men.
Jay Nixon becomes governor, and Skillicorn's supporters are forced to raise what some term "frivolous" appeals to try to save his life. Among these is the claim that Nixon, because of his previous position as attorney general, should not be the one whom they approach for clemency. This seems logical — a change of position and status is not going to cause the man to change his perspective; it will just give him a better position to abuse the system. I don't think anyone with half a modicum of sense in their head was ever foolish enough to believe that clemency was going to happen. Not for Skillicorn or any of the others that follow.
There was an outcry at Skillicorn's execution, and Kenneth Baumruk's set execution date isn't close enough to remove that attention.
So, what does Missouri do? Sets another execution date for an inmate on June 17, and one who has an appeal pending, no less. Practically guaranteed to draw media attention, raise legal motions (all at the Missouri taxpayers' expense) — and hopefully take some of the focus off Skillicorn.
Then, not content with abusing their own legal procedures and incurring more costs for Missouri taxpayers, the governor's office has the arrogance to ignore the legal process of informing Skillicorn's lawyer that his petition for clemency had been denied. Not only a legal process but what should also be, at the very least, a professional courtesy.
Missouri is starting to look dirty.
I was looking at the cover of The Pitch and noticed the words Cowtown Ballroom. Jason Harper's column brought back so many great memories! I remember going to see my first live concert there: Badfinger. It was amazing! I also saw Black Oak Arkansas, Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention, as well as other bands that were opening for them. These bands were amazing to see live — it was totally awesome, to say the least.
George H. Hughes
North Kansas City
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