Forum Letters for June 6: Capital Punishment, Conservative Credentials, Citizens Against Potholes

End Capital Punishment in N.H.

To the Editor:

The New Hampshire Senate has recently, by a tie vote, chosen to retain capital punishment in New Hampshire law. Michael Addison (now 33), the killer of Manchester police officer Michael Briggs, has been New Hampshire’s only death-row prisoner since his sentencing in 2008. Regardless of the Senate’s (in)action, Addison should not be executed.

Let’s consider the circumstances.

If Michael Addison is put to death, it will be the first execution by New Hampshire since 1939. Since that year there have been hundreds of homicides in the state, 25 in 2013 alone. Some of these were premeditated murders; Addison’s shooting of Officer Briggs while trying to avoid arrest was not premeditated. In 1997, police officer Jeremy Charron — ironically a friend of Michael Briggs — was deliberately shot and killed during a traffic stop. His killer is serving a life sentence.

It is no disrespect to Michael Briggs to say that his murder does not stand out among the hundreds of others as one heinous crime that alone merits the death penalty. For me, the worst was the 2001 killing of my friends Suzanne and Half Zantop, popular and respected Dartmouth College professors, stabbed to death in their Etna home by two young men. Their murderers are serving sentences of life without parole and 25 years minimum.

Michael Addison is African American and has had a miserable life. Born to an addicted teenage mother, he was abandoned by both parents and raised by his grandmother in very difficult conditions. He had been in trouble with the law all his life. A born loser, one might say. That’s important, because whatever their crimes, wealthy white men are almost never candidates for execution. That is reserved for people like Addison, and New Hampshire is no exception to this rule.

Whether or not race was a factor in Addison’s death sentence, breaking the 75-year moratorium by executing a black man in this mostly white state would arouse suspicion and resentment. Killing this man would set a terrible precedent, would cost millions, and would serve no useful purpose. Addison’s execution would take New Hampshire backward.

Capital punishment is going to end in New Hampshire; that is the direction of history. Whether abolition comes sooner or later, the killing of New Hampshire’s only condemned prisoner should not be allowed to happen.

John Lamperti


Garcia: A Credible Alternative?

To the Editor:

The article about state Rep. Marilinda Garcia (“Young, Conservative and Out to Unseat Kuster,” May 24) intrigued me.

First, I am a conservative. I had never heard of Rep. Garcia until I read the article. I’ve received a number of mailings from Rep. Annie Kuster; they take positions anathema to what I believe. I’ve never received anything from Rep. Garcia.

Second, she said that she’d like to repeal the Affordable Care Act, but if it can’t be repealed she wanted to address “some of the most egregious parts.” Poppycock. Prohibition was repealed because it caused more crime than “the evils of alcohol”; it was egregious on its face. The Affordable Care Act stripped people of insurance plans, doctors they liked and hospitals (like Cottage Hospital) that were close to where they lived and met their needs; increased premiums; and threatens to create part-time employment as the new normal. Every part of it is egregious. This law can’t be “fixed.” It, like Prohibition, must be repealed. Rep. Garcia must be the voice for those in New Hampshire who are negatively affected by this law.

Third, she talked with Karen Woods, the administrator of Cottage Hospital, about the latter’s problems with electronic data systems. Why? Does she believe that the state or federal government should become the source for standardized data systems? Did she remind Woods that the Affordable Care Act created many of the requirements for electronic data systems? Did she suggest to Woods that local or regional hospital associations might be the best place for small or medium-size rural hospitals to pose the problems and try to come up with standardized solutions? That approach might begin to answer Woods’ desire for a “one-stop shop for everybody” without government intercession.

Rep. Garcia says that there’s too much government intervention and that government is attempting to mandate equality of outcomes. She’s absolutely correct. However, her words must be more than talking points. They must represent her core values and beliefs for her to be a credible conservative alternative to the Democrat Party’s incumbent.

Alan Tanenbaum


Citizen Action in Windsor

To the Editor:

I would like to thank the citizen who was filling potholes on Ascutney Street in Windsor this past weekend with his own bag of cold patch.

Gary Vezina