What Virginia and Teresa Lewis have in common
The Rev. Paul Wee
The execution of Teresa Lewis [“Va. woman executed for slayings in 2002,” front page, Sept. 24] tells us not so much about crime and punishment in Virginia but about whether we as a people feel that we have a right to decide that some lives are without value, incapable of redemption.
The question is not one of guilt or innocence; she confessed to the crime early on. Nor is there any question that crime deserves punishment under the law. Nor is the fact that she was a woman an issue, although the two men who committed the murders were given life sentences.
Nor is the point that Ms. Lewis bordered on mental incompetence an issue, though this fact might have given Virginia cause to weigh the appropriateness of the punishment under the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
The fundamental question is whether any life can be deemed of no value whatsoever, capable of being legitimately snuffed out.
That was the crime of Teresa Lewis. Let us not make it our own.
| September 26, 2010; 10:16 PM ET
Categories: Virginia, crime
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