Capital Punishment: `Imp of the Perverse'

Plaudits to you for the article ``Death Penalty in Texas: High Cost of Punishment,'' May 12, on the flaws of capital punishment. In addition to the three you discuss - high costs, wrongful convictions, and racism - you should add another. (Besides, of course, that it's immoral: If killing is wrong, institutional killing has to be at least as wrong.)

The flaw that you should have included: Capital punishment is no doubt counterproductive. The evidence is very strong: Not only is it not a deterrent, it does what Edgar Allen Poe so eloquently described as ``provoking the imp of the perverse'' present in all our personalities, and fosters that which we would like to curtail. Delbert O. Lawrence, Bellevue, Wash.

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