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Should Californians trade-in the death penalty for life without parole?

Yes, the death penalty is an expensive sham. 31% 110 votes
No, the death penalty's problems can be fixed. 33% 116 votes
Yes, the death penalty is barbaric. 29% 104 votes
Only if we want to be perceived as lily-livered. 5% 18 votes
348 total votes

Comments

Independent Discussion Guidelines

The arguments in support of Pro. 34, the ballot measure to abolish the death penalty, are exaggerated at best and, in most cases, misleading and false. Proposition 34 is being funded primarily by a wealthy company out of Chicago and the ACLU. It includes provisions that would make our prisons less safe for both other prisoners and prison officials. It significantly increases the costs to taxpayers due to life-time medical costs, the increased security required to coerce former death-row inmates to work, the money to pay those inmates to work, etc. The amount “saved” in order to help fund law enforcement is negligible and only for three years. (The money is taken from the general fund irregardless of whether Prop 34 actually saves any money.) Prop. 34 also takes away funds inmates could use to actually fight for their innocence, increasing the risk that innocent people will spend the rest of their lives in jail. The dollars Prop. 34 takes away ensure both that innocent people are not executed or spend the rest of their lives in jail. Get the facts and supporting evidence at http://cadeathpenalty.webs.com and http://waiting4justice.org/.

CBernstien (anonymous profile)
September 13, 2012 at 12:27 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I am pro life (I'm also pro choice, but let's not go there) therefore I cannot support the death penalty. Any law that moves towards abolishing the death penalty is a good law in my mind.

Num1UofAn (anonymous profile)
September 15, 2012 at 9:28 a.m. (Suggest removal)

The death penalty is barbaric. Killing is immoral. This act will pass.

http://articles.latimes.com/2011/jun/...

Georgy (anonymous profile)
September 16, 2012 at 11:34 a.m. (Suggest removal)

The problem with the Death Penalty is the days of doing the right thing are gone, replaced by mealy mouthed lawyers who use crime as a launching point for political careers and the corruption of law by the likes of the racists, for instance in the South. So lots of times innocent people are executed, that is the system. But most people assume that criminal sociopaths are human, they are not. Executing a sub species of human like these soul less sociopaths is not a bad thing, you would put a mad dog down in a second and that is the thing, these guys are not humans.

contactjohn (anonymous profile)
September 16, 2012 at 7:12 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I'm not against the death penalty in principle, but oppose it in practice.

The idea of innocent people being executed is my reason for opposing it.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
September 16, 2012 at 11:20 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I'm not comfortable with the idea of my government killing its citizens.

banjo (anonymous profile)
October 4, 2012 at 1:10 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I am Catherine Burke –
Mother of a Murdered Child – AND – Victim of Violent Crime!
I offer to each and every citizen, the true reason we should have the Death Penalty – PROTECTION!
"Indeed, the decision that capital punishment may be the appropriate sanction in extreme cases is an expression of the community's belief that certain crimes are themselves so grievous an affront to humanity that the only adequate response may be the penalty of death."
Protection is the only reason why we must vote NO on Proposition 34!

CatBurke (anonymous profile)
October 7, 2012 at 3:27 p.m. (Suggest removal)

In a Mass Murderous attack upon the Burke family while they lay sleeping, my 18-year-old daughter, Saskia Savana Burke, was brutally stabbed to death here in our home December 20, 2011... Her murderer, William Gary Simpson, has been arrested and charged with Saskia’s murder, 2 counts attempted murder, several counts of special circumstances including lying in wait.
HE IS ELIGIBLE FOR THE DEATH PENALTY.

William Gary Simpson took our CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness when he CHOSE to commit mass murder. He took these rights from us, FOREVER when he murdered Saskia!

I would have never thought, I would find myself to be the mother of a murdered child, the victim of a heinous, violent crime. We were Once the Burke’s – good, moral parents, who raised our children in a very loving home. Our murderer, coveted that love we had… Our murderer, was a friend of our son's - a friend to our family, for over 10 years... Ten years of birthday parties, Christmas vacations, summer sleepovers and pool parties. Ten years of classes with our son, fieldtrips, lunches and recess... Ten years, of paintball games and 4th of July fireworks, of hanging out and playing Rock Band in our living room... Our murderer was raised by his mother in a privileged home, attended the same good schools as our children, and he received good grades. I could have never thought he would plan and practice for almost 1 year, to come into our home with a duffle bag full of knives 4 days before Christmas (after hiding in an empty nearby home waiting for all our children to come home), to murder us all! He slashed and stabbed my daughter to death, when she went downstairs for a bottle of water at 4am...

CatBurke (anonymous profile)
October 7, 2012 at 3:30 p.m. (Suggest removal)

When a mass murderer, William Gary Simpson entered our home the early hours of Dec. 20… He went into our son Ian's room first - the only bedroom downstairs. He thought, from the rumpled covers, Ian was in bed sleeping. He stabbed into them, only to discover Ian was not there. So, he placed the knife on the bed, and threw the covers back over it.

That was when Saskia went downstairs at 4am for a bottle of water! "AAHHHH!" Our entire house awoke to her screams! "AAAAHHHHH!” As I ran from my bedroom and encountered my 13-year-old daughter on the upstairs landing, I ordered her to stay there – ‘DON’T GO DOWNSTAIRS!’ "Daddyeee! AAAAAHHHHHH!!!" I ran downstairs, as Saskia continued to scream in pain and terror, "Daddyeeeeee!" "AAAAAAHHHHHHHHhhhh!", to discover Saskia already dead on the floor. And Simpson, standing over her with that 15-inch knife, dripping with her blood. My husband and another child tackled Simpson. I took away the murder weapon. I was going to grab the phone, and call for help, but the phone was missing. I ran out front, and screamed for help! All I could think of was getting help for my daughter! I threw down the murder weapon, and saw a man across the street getting into his truck. I screamed for him to call the police, we need an ambulance, MY DAUGHTER HAD BEEN STABBED! SHE MAY BE DEAD - I NEED HELP! And I ran back inside -
I did not know, Simpson had brought more weapons. I came back in to discover he had stabbed my husband (many times in the back, puncturing his lung), and to my horror, was standing over this child who was begging for his life, (Gary, you don’t have to do this! Please Gary!) and brought the knife down, severing the artery in his neck! I ran to stop him, but could not reach him in time... As he brought the blade down again severing the artery, and the blood shot out of his boy’s neck, and covered everything! I grabbed the blade as he brought it up the third time, and my husband tackled Simpson. I realized too much in that moment... I realized my Saskia was dead! I realized this boy and my husband were both going to die, as both were bleeding out... I realized, I was going to die. My 13-year-old daughter stood on the steps, hearing and watching all of this!
I will NEVER FORGET LOOKING INTO WILLIAM GARY SIMPSON’S SMILING FACE, THE HORROR OF REALIZING WHO HE WAS!!!

CatBurke (anonymous profile)
October 7, 2012 at 3:31 p.m. (Suggest removal)

We raised our children in a warm, loving, family oriented home. I stayed home to raise my children. I spent every day of Saskia's entire life with her! We have always had many children choose to spend time at our house, with our family. They liked to enjoy the structure of a family unit, a place where “mom” was always present, always involved. A home where homework was finished after school each day. A home where dinner was cooked, and the family ate together, EVERY SINGLE NIGHT! Where family games were played together at the table, and stories were read before bed… These children thrived on being listened to and included in an unbiased and unprejudiced environment. And they have always felt loved and accepted, here in our home. In a world where it is hard to find all of these things, our home was ‘sanctuary’ for children. My strong belief that it takes a community to raise the kids, held each child to my own high moral standards. This too, helped each child to become a better person, which in turn made the environment for my children better too! Because you see – I once believed it was possible, to make the world a better place, one child at a time. And when I look back, at all the children I’ve made a difference to? I can think of nothing better a person could ever hope to do with her life! I have succeeded in making a positive difference in this world! And the personal reward I receive – is the overwhelming love and respect from everyone in my life!

December 20, 2011

William Gary Simpson came into our home that morning, with the intention of killing my husband and three children, myself, and the 7 other children who were to be staying with us over Christmas break. Why? Because - he could not stand for us to have so much love in our home! He could not tolerate my children, and all the other children, being loved so unconditionally, the way he wanted his parents to love him. HE COVETED WHAT WE HAD…

When the DA asked me “why” he did not kill his own family, but targeted ours – I answered with my insightful truth. In the heart of every child, they have ‘hope’ that one day their parents ‘will’ love them unconditionally. Their parents will finally ‘see’ and ‘hear’ them. If Simpson had killed his own parents, he would never get those things that he wants so much! So he chose, instead, to take it from all of us…

CatBurke (anonymous profile)
October 7, 2012 at 3:32 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Revenge and Justice are all we ever hear, from everyone! It is all that is discussed with regard to the Victim, when looking at the Death Penalty. But I have a different perspective, from within this inadequate justice system we currently bear…
For there is truly no Revenge great enough,
No Justice powerful enough,
To make ANY DIFFERNCE AT ALL…

I have only my unique perspective as a MOTHER. I look down the road, at the possible future all my children may one day have… To a day when they have families, and children of their own… If he does not receive the DEATH PENALTY? I do not want them to be forced to revisit Saskia’s murder, forced ever again to see the face of William Gary Simpson, the monster who murdered her! Or worse, that somehow Gary is granted PAROLE, this wolf - in - sheep’s - clothing? That again in their future, my children would live in mortal fear for their lives? That William Gary Simpson, if given his freedom, would exact his revenge upon my children and my grandchildren?

Relying on a dysfunctional system, forcibly held by it, and yet I can find no place for myself here! With limited options, which are beyond my control. AND YET THE FINAL DECISION? WILL DETERMINE THE FUTURE OF EVERYONE I LOVE. This alone, is a place that can make you loose your mind! A place of never ending terror!

And through it all, the sweet voice of my Saskia, that only I can hear now. Her words, of how SHE feels:
“ I could never forgive someone for taking away my rights, my home, my friends and my life! If things like this happened to me I would be resentful, rather than forgiving. I just couldn’t forgive the people who were so prejudiced that they made me lose my best friends, and school. Just the thought of losing them brings tears to my eyes. I couldn’t forgive the people who took away my parents rights as citizens. I couldn’t forgive the people who restricted my loved ones from doing the things they love. I couldn’t forgive those who made me leave my home. I wouldn’t be able to forgive them for MAKING ME SO SCARED OF THEM, I FROZE WITH FEAR EVERY TIME I HEARD A SOUND!”

Saskia’s thoughts, written just weeks before her murder, for an essay on Anne Frank. “Thinking that Anne forgave them for all that, is unbelievably saintly. Even though Anne was just a regular girl like me, she was more remarkable than anyone I have ever heard of! I wouldn’t be as forgiving and naïve. I would be resentful, for being so wronged!” I ran across this open page, sitting in her room amongst her unfinished homework. HER THOUGHTS, about an unspeakable horror and injustice. HER WORDS, that speak directly to William Gary Simpson, Saskia’s “NAZI”!

CatBurke (anonymous profile)
October 7, 2012 at 3:33 p.m. (Suggest removal)

SASKIA’S PASSION – for her life, and her family and her friends! How Saskia has been so wronged! And knowing, her expectations of me, to never let her death be in vain! Knowing, that when I am finally free of this mess to go to her, she will know I did everything I could to take a stand, to affect change, to make a difference FOR HER in this world! She would expect nothing less from me. She would accept no other excuse from me for staying here, for forsaking her wishes for me to join her in death NOW!

I will spend every moment I continue to live hearing Saskia’s screams! And feeling guilty, for not taking my leave of this life to be with her. I am forever torn between two plains of reality – life, and death! Because I KNOW THE ANSWER, to the question everyone asks… “What would Saskia want me to do now?” I had this conversation with her once. She said to me “momma, if I were to die, I would want you there with me! Don’t wait a single second! Hurry, because I would need you to be there with me! I couldn’t stand to be alone!” Every second spent living, is spent forsaking my Saskia! I do not simply wish for death, I physically ache for it with every breath!

So let Saskia’s words speak loudly for us all! Because this, the most precious gift in life, is what William Gary Simpson has taken, and can never be returned to us: " I value my happiness. I value how happy and content I am with my life. I value the memories that have made my life as happy as it is. I value my friends and family who make me happy and share my happiness with me. I value all the things that make me happy, like fun and relationships, but what I value most is the fact that I am happy because there are so many people who are not that lucky. I value my happiness the most because the friends and items that you have may change, and circumstances may change, but the fact that
I AM HAPPY WITH WHAT I HAVE
AND WHO I AM -
IS THE MOST PRECIOUS GIFT
THAT I COULD EVER BE GIVEN!”

Having Saskia in our lives, and being a "complete" family was OUR MOST PRECIOUS GIFT, and truly made us happy! And inside this box Simpson has placed us in – of horror and terror, misery and pain, hopelessness and injustice, there simply "is" no happiness!

CatBurke (anonymous profile)
October 7, 2012 at 3:34 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Let her voice now scream loudly for -
PROTECTION !!!

And so, I now take a firm stance in this matter,
FOR THE DEATH PENALTY! PLEASE Vote NO on Proposition 34!
In this election year, the DEATH PENALTY will be on the ballot. Our CA Governor, Jerry Brown, opposes the Death Penalty. I need your help to make Saskia the face for all victims, and give Saskia’s story, to the people of California – AND THIS NATION, as to why the Death Penalty is so important to the Victims of Violent Crime. Join me in putting political views, religious beliefs, and personal feelings aside – to finally change our laws! Throughout the history of our country, change only came after someone had reason enough to stand before us and lead the way! I stand before you now – and Saskia is my reason!

I know just how flawed our system is – as I am forced to live within it now! We now find ourselves lost in this "Justice System", a system that is fraught too many 'injustices' for victims and their families. Isn't it time, as a nation, we make the needed changes within this defunct system, to ensure the safety of everyone? If not for yourself, then for the safety of your children! Our current system is designed “FOR” the murderers, not the victims. Our murderer was caught, and faces the death penalty. A sentence he will never really receive, when it is given to him. Besides the fact that we witnessed him do this, there is overwhelming DNA evidence, and yet - it will be years before we can get to a trial, as he claims he is innocent of all charges... An agonizing process for all victims to endure, a process that keeps them frozen in the moment of murder until the trial is over! And when our murderer is sentenced? Our terror does not end, it never will!

CatBurke (anonymous profile)
October 7, 2012 at 3:36 p.m. (Suggest removal)

We made it through the prelim Friday, September 14, 2012...
As they put up all the bloody pictures, of the crime scene that is my home... As they put up the pictures of my daughters bloody, mutilated body and explained which stab wounds were the fatal ones...

"Murrieta police Detective Jeffrey Ullrich, who attended the autopsy of Saskia Burke, said the woman suffered seven stab wounds. Two of the wounds, one to the right side of her face that severed her jugular vein and another to the center of her chest, were not survivable, Ullrich said"

William Gary Simpson stabbed Saskia in her left cheek, the force of the knife breaking her 3 molars on her bottom left jaw, shoving the knife all the way through her face, the blade going out her right cheek... AFTER PULLING THE KNIFE OUT, he stabbed her again, the force of the knife going into her right cheek, at a downward angle, slicing through her tongue, cutting through the muscle and tendons in her jaw and severing her artery, all 12+ inches of the blade going in all the way to her heart... After PULLING THE KNIFE OUT AGAIN, he then stabbed her in the chest - severing both her lungs and the ventricle to her heart...
She lived long enough for us to helplessly watch her die!

"(William Gary Simpson) went into the home to kill those people," Smith said. "Paul Burke and Connor McCormack are not dead because they had the strength to fight back."
Saskia Burke did not have a chance, Smith said.
"(Simpson) slaughters her," Smith said. "He stabbed her in the face, in the heart, in the back."

I live in a horror, too absolute to breathe...

His intent, to slaughter my entire family - and the heinous way in which he slaughtered my daughter, well - during a break in court, even his defense lawyers approached us and apologized for what happened to Saskia…

“The Riverside County district attorney decided in April to seek the death penalty for William Gary Simpson, who also is charged with two counts of attempted murder in connection with the stabbings of Burke's father, Paul, and her boyfriend, Connor McCormack, then 17. Simpson also faces several special allegations including lying in wait and committing his crimes during a burglary.
The charges against William Gary Simpson Jr., 19, the alleged killer of Saskia Burke, were upheld by Riverside County Superior Court Judge Kelly Hansen following a day-long preliminary hearing.
Simpson is charged with first-degree murder and a special circumstance allegation of killing in the course of a burglary in the Dec. 20, 2011 fatal attack at the Burke home, in Murrieta.
He is also charged with a special circumstance allegation of lying in wait, as well as two counts of attempted murder and multiple great bodily injury and weapons allegations.”

CatBurke (anonymous profile)
October 7, 2012 at 3:37 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Please let me introduce you to Saskia Savana Burke!
11-6-93 to 12-20-11 Saskia was academically brilliant, scoring the perfect 600 on the state testing twice, yet humbled by how easy this was for her, and how difficult school was for others! Saskia went out into the world, with love and a special insight for all things, and continued her mothers work to change the world in positive ways! Saskia added her own special touch to the details of everyone’s life, every person she ever encountered. She was open and caring and giving to everyone, always! She was truly the most angelic creature any of us will ever encounter here in this life. How many people can you say are truly genuine? Saskia was. And she infected each one of us with her passion for life, her kind and loving nature, her ‘real’ and ‘true’ happiness, the simple sound of her oh-so-contagious laughter!

Saskia was only 18 years-1 month-14 days-28 minutes old, in the middle of her Senior Year of High School!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=anh4Wy...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FgC1Kk...
http://murrieta.patch.com/search/blog...
http://www.remembersaskia.com/

CatBurke (anonymous profile)
October 7, 2012 at 3:39 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I raised Saskia to believe – ONE PERSON CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE! Let that person be Saskia! Start, by voting
NO on Proposition 34 !

In this election year what becomes MOST important is fixing our broken Justice System to actually uphold the VERDICT. Life in Prison WITHOUT THE POSSIBILITY OF PAROLE should always and forever remain just that. And the Death Penalty should be conducted as swiftly as the
CHOICE THE MURDERER MADE IN KILLING…

For you see, I am left to live a life now, which is truly TOO INHUMANE to be forced to live. And I hope you can all open your eyes, to see what it is to be a VICTIM, and extend to VICTIMS such as us,
the same understanding, compassion, and HUMANITY
that is all too often offered more to the MURDERERS!

Vote NO on Proposition 34 - If you can't do it for yourself, do it for your children...

My 14 year old daughter, Kessa, is waiting... To stand behind the glass, and watch as they execute William Gary Simpson. She can't feel SAFE, until he is DEAD. She speaks of this, every single day! Because she has nightmares of what Simpson did, every single night. It is her way of dealing with the trauma of witnessing Simpson murder her sister! It is this hope to see him die, that keeps her going forward, for now...

And for ME? I saw everything that demon, William Gary Simpson, did on December 20, 2011…
I now know it is true – that MONSTERS DO EXIST!

And I am living proof, THAT NO ONE IS SAFE!

CatBurke (anonymous profile)
October 7, 2012 at 3:43 p.m. (Suggest removal)

"An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind."
- Gandhi

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
October 7, 2012 at 4:35 p.m. (Suggest removal)

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