And: "If I were an opponent of the death penalty, I would probably support the Oklahoma law." I called Lance Lindsey of Death Penalty Focus, which opposes capital punishment. Lindsey told me he opposes the law, too: "Essentially, I'm against the government killing prisoners."
Here are two additional reasons other states should not follow Oklahoma. First, the hint of child abuse can spawn a witch-hunt atmosphere in the courts. Authorities have been known to coax young children to accuse innocent adults, and prosecutors have charged child-care providers based on testimony that was hard to believe when cooler heads prevailed. Witness the infamous McMartin preschool case in 1983.
Second, America's laws should not send a message that the victims of sexual assaults have been harmed irrevocably, as murder victims are. No victim survives murder. Rape presents horrific trauma -- however, over time, most victims, even child victims, can overcome the pain and sense of violation. I don't want laws that tell child victims they have experienced something as damaging as murder. They've been hurt enough.
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