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Reader: Even if James Holmes is sentenced to death, he could cheat the needle

Yesterday's hearing in the Aurora theater shooting case, in which prosecutors called for the death penalty, was preceded by flurries of paperwork, with the defense floating James Holmes's willingness to plead guilty and prosecutors calling the announcement a publicity ploy. For one reader, though, the question comes down to dollars, cents and momentum.

scrumdiddlyicious writes:

it would be a bright idea all around if the prosecution took the plea. whether one likes it or not -- i'm not passing judgment here--w/ the country becoming more & more liberal, say, at least in certain ways, there's a good possibility the death penalty will be abolished while he is still incarcerated, whether he is on death row or not on death row. as per: if he doesnt plead out the whole thing may just turn out to be a pointless but very mediagenic waste of money.

& theres another factor w/ this guy. if we wanna stop these from occurring we need to understand why they happen. to do that, we need to talk to the people who do them. we havent had much chance. the great majority either die on site or are neither intelligent nor insightful nor, of all things, concerned enough w/ anything other than their own welfare to tell us much.

i know it doesnt seem that way now but this one isnt like that. he may have been during the build up to & the execution of his mad & vicious madness. but, before that, he just had not consistently been the person w/ a boobytrapped apartment. he was also the person who wrote his university application essays. there was some real compassion &, of all things, real empathy in there. if we find a way to somehow force him back to being the guy who wrote the essays, to being who he was before he became what he, sadly, became -- he could tell us a lot. it's not enough, nothing would be -- but it is a whole lot more than we'd get by executing him.

not to mention that he might even save the state more money by committing suicide when he finally & fully understands & accepts responsibility for the horror he caused. i'm saying this in the manner of the sorrowful sardonic, but that doesnt make it any less true.

For more memorable takes, visit our Comment of the Day archive.

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