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The death penalty in SD

South Dakota has the death penalty just as 28 other states do. In order for the death penalty to be sought in South Dakota, one of 10 separate aggravating circumstances must be met. The first execution in South Dakota was in 1877 when Jack McCall was hanged for murdering Wild Bill Hickok. South Dakota has executed 18 murderers since then.

The death penalty is punishment for murder, not for any other reason. South Dakota used hanging until 1947, then the electric chair until 1984 and lethal injection since. Our death penalty was abolished in 1915 and reinstated in 1939 and declared unconstitutional from 1972-1979. Since 1979, four executions have been conducted and six death penalties awarded, even though South Dakota has had over 200 reported murders since 1979.

Many folks wonder why the death penalty is so rarely sought, even though most murders in South Dakota meet the requirements for it. In fairness to our prosecutors, it should be pointed out that in many other states deals are made with murderers to avoid the death penalty. It also should be noted that South Dakota has never had a death row inmate found innocent prior to or after execution.

David Hall

Box Elder

DiSanto’s obsession disturbing

Sen. Lynne DiSanto probably didn't intend to physically assault her neighbor who questioned her obsession with the missing child from Black Hills Children's Home. She doesn't appear to have violated any laws. Still, her message ("I see you live close to me!!! Awesome! I'll be stopping by to say Hi so we can talk face to face soon.") could be seen as creepy.

The neighbor makes a good point when she suggests that exploiting the tragedy surrounding the missing child for personal gain "is just evil." Did anyone really believe that a brassy politician and "motivational speaker" could do a better job of searching for the child than law enforcement? As for using social media to celebrate the murder of a peaceful protestor in Virginia, that's worse than creepy; it's simply disgusting.

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Decent citizens of all political persuasions should see DiSanto's continued status in the Legislature as a great embarrassment. DiSanto is not a true conservative. She's a narcissist and a publicity hound.

Jay Davis

Rapid City

Return to racism harmful

Awful and ultimately inspiring describes the story told by the Journal’s new editor. His son adopted from Africa was confronted by a fellow third grader, that after Trump’s election, all brown people have to go back where they came from. It’s a white man’s country again. While the editor’s son was consoled by family and a better classmate, Trump’s election returned to many Americans, less innocent than little kids parroting parents, their licenses to be jerks, previously suspended over the past couple of generations, such that overt racism had been unacceptable, needing cover behind “colorblind,” “politically incorrect,” or “trolling.”

In Britain, righties understand Brexit is going to badly damage their economy and make them poorer, but they’re furiously demanding it anyway, just to stop foreign immigrants. The rest of Europe is fragmenting, parties nurturing fear of foreigners, closing borders, regardless their economies are reasonably good, regaining high employment. Capitalism’s newspaper of record, The Economist, wonders why traditional conservative parties are overwhelmed worldwide by “reactionary nationalists,” in the mold of Steve Bannon.

They observe “this does not mean all supporters of the reactionary right are racists; it does mean that where there are racists, they will mostly support the reactionary right."

Peter Hasby

Rapid City

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