Sunday, April 20, 2014

Rep. Renny Cushing: The Death Penalty in New Hampshire

Rep. Renny Cushing: Death Penalty in New Hampshire
Why Cushing is Dead Wrong on Repeal
Dudley Sharp

NOTE:  Rep. Cushing and his organization Murder Victim's for Human Rights (MVHR), are long time anti death penalty activists.

Police Officer Michael Briggs was murdered by Addison, currently the only murderer on New Hampshire's death row.


SUBMISSION OF TESTIMONY -  HB1170  -- Repealing the death penalty in New Hampshire

Subject: Taking Moral & Legal Choices Away: Rep. Cushing & Death Penalty Support

Against Repeal

April 14, 2014


From: Dudley Sharp, Houston Texas

Dear Honorable Senate Members:

I am opposed to death penalty repeal.

Moral opinion, exclusion and pro choice

What do you think of  forcing your own moral position unto others, to the extent of removing the moral and legal choices of others?

The death penalty is legal. Some are morally for it, some, morally, opposed.

Those morally opposed to the death penalty want to take everyone elses choices away, based upon that moral disagreement.

The vast majority of folks support the death penalty. Depending upon polls, 60-86% support the death penalty, today (1) . Any politician would be thrilled with such a wide victory.

Folks support the death penalty for the same reason they support all sanctions - justice.

The vast minority, the anti death penalty folks, are saying: "We want to take your choices away, even though you, now, have  both the moral and legal right to pursue the death penalty and the, overwhelming, majority (1&2) support the death penalty" (3).

If any politician came before New Hampshire's General Court, their state legislature, and said: "Morally, I disagree with you on both gay marriage and abortion and, even though both are legal and both are widely supported, I want to remove those choices from you and to make both illegal in New Hampshire. I want to remove a moral choice from you, that you, now, have."

This is not about any of the specific factual arguments with regard to any of those 3 topics. nor am I saying they are similar issues.

The important topic that I am addressing is the forcing of your own moral position unto others, to the extent of removing the moral and legal choices of others (3) - the stated aim of anti death penalty folks.

Rep. Cushing, et al, should just say: "We disagree with the death penalty, but we will defend the moral and legal right of other murder victim survivors to pursue the death penalty in their cases.."

Instead, Rep. Cushing and other anti death penalty murder victim's survivors want to take that moral and legal right away,  being divisive and hurtful to pro death penalty murder victims loved ones, when there is no need to be.

Anecdotally, it appears that about 95% of murder victim survivors, in death penalty murders, support the death penalty (2).

Bud Welch, whose daughter, Julie Marie, was murdered in the Oklahoma City bombing tragedy,  and who testified in favor of death penalty repeal, stated that the victim's and survivors were re-victimized by Timothy McVeigh's execution.

They may have been the case, for very few, who I have not been able to identify.

From an internet search, I found no evidence of any re-victimizatio. In fact, just the opposite. They found solace. (4). I am not surprised (5).

My guess is that Mr. Welch just made it up, whixh I will believe until he provides evidence.

My condolences to Mr. Welch,  for the murder of his daughter. 

The Cushing Murders

Rep. Cushing has had two murders in his family: 

His father, Robert Cushing, Sr. was murdered by a hateful cop and and the cop's wife, both of whom are serving the maximum sentences available for that crime. Rep Cushing's brother in law, Stephen McRedmond, was murdered by his nephew, who, allegedly, harbored a grudge, based upon a family legal dispute. The nephew committed suicide. These are horrific family and criminal tragedies.

By all accounts, the victims were wonderful, loving people.

My sympathies to the entire family.

In the death penalty debate, I give greater moral standing to those who have lost loved ones to murder.

I give even greater moral standing to those whose loved ones were murdered in death penalty eligible murders.

Neither of the Cushing murders were death penalty eligible. Officer Briggs' and many others were, are and will be death penalty eligible murders.

It is odd that Rep. Cushing has been telling the story for years, about why he didn't seek death in his father's case, when there was no option for a death penalty in his case. 

Has Rep. Cushing known, all this time, that his father's case was not death penalty eligible? Of course.

Based upon my knowledge and experience, the vast majority of the membership in MVHR are those whose murders are not death penalty eligible. Possibly, 10% of all murders, nationally, are death penalty eligible.

Rep Cushing, whose family received the maximum sentence for the murderers in Robert Cushing Sr's murder, is telling other folks, those whose loved ones were actually murdered in a capital crime, "I want to remove your moral and legal right to pursue the maximum punishment for the murder of your loved ones, even though we received that maximum sentence in the murder of our loved one."

Rep. Cushing is being, intentionally, hurtful to those victims and wishes to deny them the rights that he had, to pursue the maximum sentence in their murder cases.

How do you feel when men and non gay folks say "We want to take away your moral and legal right to seek abortion or to have same sex marriages", respectively?

That is what Rep. Cushing, et al, are doing, taking away the moral and legal rights of others, when their circumstances are not, directly, affected.

They are saying, we were able to purse the maximum sentence for the crimes against our loved ones, but was want to take away your right to do so in the murder of your lived ones.

It's just a horrible way for victims to treat other victims, as Rep. Cushing and MVHR are so doing.

Not a Human Rights Violation

Death penalty opponents posit  that life is a fundamental human right. Therefore, taking it away is a human rights violation.

They have never shown that to be true, nor can they.

Human rights have two, main, topics: The right to life and the right to freedom.

Both are conditional.

Freedom and life may both be forfeit when the criminal violates the law.

Everyone agrees with incarcerating some criminals when they violate the rights of the law abiding.

We can lawfully and morally kill, in self defense, defense of others, in a just war and with the death penalty, when the crimes are most grave and we find that justice demands it.

Anti death penalty folks leave out all of that extra consideration, simply because it is inconvenient. They call the death penalty a human rights violation, not because it is, but because they just don't like the death penalty.

Respectfully submitted,
Dudley Sharp

1) 86% Death Penalty Support: Highest Ever - April 2013

Note the discussion that in the recent Gallup poll, finding 60% death penalty support, that another result, within that same poll, found 70% support.

2)  See Footnote 2 within

US Death Penalty Support at 80%: World Support Remains High
95% of Murder Victim's Family Members Support Death Penalty

3) Murder Victims' Families Against The Death Penalty: 

 More Hurt For Victims Families

4) According to Gallup, based upon two polls, 80-81% in the US supported McVeigh's execution, support consistent for all groups.  (Footnotes 1&2)

"Survivors and family members took solace in McVeigh's death. Janice Smith, whose 46-year-old brother, Lanny Scroggins, died in the bombing, prayed with her children at the Oklahoma City National Memorial, then left after getting word that McVeigh was dead. ``It's over,'' she said. ``We don't have to continue with him anymore.'' Earlier, a silent vigil began without fanfare -- 168 minutes, one minute for each victim killed in the tragedy."

"McVeigh's execution was witnessed by 10 survivors and victims' relatives from the bombing . . .  Meanwhile, about 600 miles away, an estimated 300 people gathered . . . to watch the execution unfold on a large video screen."

McVeigh wrote that taking 168 lives, including those of 19 children, was a "legit tactic."  The Lamp of Hope (Chicago Tribune), June 11 2001, 8:01 AM CDT, TERRE HAUTE, Ind.

I have an inquiry with the OKC National Memorial to see if they can source how many of the victims and survivors felt revictimized by McVeigh's execution.