I agree with Dudley Sharp’s article The Death Penalty: Neither Hatred nor Revenge. I, like Dudley Sharp was a former Death Penalty Opponent. I agree that revenge and justice can be separated. If you take a look at the execution of Kenneth Harris on 3 June 1997, you will understand the differences between revenge, justice and forgiveness.
THE CASE: Convicted in the July 1986 rape and slaying of 28-year-old Lisa Ann Stonestreet in Houston, Texas. Stonestreet was raped inside her apartment at 5402 Renwick then strangled and drowned. Prosecutors contend Harris committed 7 other rapes and robberies in Houston between December 1985 and July 1986.
QUOTE: In June 1997, Haack and her family stood in a small viewing room as Harris was strapped to a gurney in the Huntsville, Texas, penitentiary. Haack had rid herself of her rage and hatred of Harris, she says, but she still was in favor of Harris's execution. "We have no hate or bitterness in our hearts," she explains, "but that doesn't mean he does not pay for his crime." The payment, says Haack, was exacted by the state; however, in the moments before he was injected with the lethal chemicals that would kill him, Harris turned to Haack and her family and said, "I hope you can go on with your lives and we can put an end to this."
Vicki is not a revengeful person at all, she forgave Harris but she was in favor of a just punishment, as she was seeking justice not revenge or any hatred. I hope we can learn this great example from someone who is willing to forgive her sister’s killer and accept a just punishment. Bear in mind, forgiveness does not eliminate consequences.
AUTHOR: Vicki Haack whose sister, Lisa was murdered by Kenneth B. Harris in 1986. He was executed by the State of Texas on 3 June 1997.