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Letters to the editor

Wengert family offers thanks for support

To the many friends of our beloved Larry Wengert, we offer a deep and profound thank you for the help to us to get through this sad and trying time, the loss of a loved one before his time. It has been of tremendous help and solace that has enabled us to get through the sorrow we feel as the ones who were left behind.

Thank you for your love and support.

The Wengert family

Laws should help heal, diminish suffering

During a recent visit to my home town of Boulder City, I came across Chuck Muth’s opinion piece advising us not to lose sleep over a botched execution. He isn’t concerned about the use of executions or extra suffering caused in carrying them out and he apparently takes some pleasure in imagining a scenario in which the condemned experiences eternal sexual assault.

Let me begin by saying that I am sorry for whatever suffering causes Mr. Muth to delight in imagining the suffering of others. I take no delight in his suffering or any suffering in the human family.

My brother died a violent death in Vietnam. I know something of the devastation that such deaths bring. I have been the victim of a sexual assault.

I worked for many years in Arizona’s so-called justice system, working with victims of violent crimes and their next of kin as well as with juveniles and adults incarcerated for all kinds of offenses. I now serve as a parish minister.

It is my experience that suffering, more than anything else, connects the human family. Suffering also has the power to open our hearts or close our hearts.

When our own suffering closes our hearts to the suffering of others, evil happens. When we believe that our own suffering will be diminished by causing pain to others, we justify murder as Joseph Rudolph Wood did or we justify execution and additional pain as does Chuck Muth.

Parker Palmer says that violence is what happens when we don’t know what to do with our suffering. Richard Rohr writes that if we don’t transform our pain, we will always transmit it. We need to imagine new ways to transform pain and address suffering instead of new ways to increase it.

Any system based on retribution will never make us safer. Retribution fails to heal victims and fails to hold offenders accountable in a meaningful way.

The law should be about healing suffering, not adding to it. It should be about calling us to our best selves and not allowing our baser instincts to carry the day.

And our opinion pages should be about the same thing. They should not be used to encourage us to become sanguine about any suffering.

And they certainly should not be used to give voice to someone who takes pleasure in the real or imagined suffering of others.

Jan Christian

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