FUMO CALLS FOR END TO DEATH PENALTY
HARRISBURG, March 27 -- State Senator Vincent Fumo addressed a crowd of death penalty opponents today in the rotunda of the State Capitol building in Harrisburg, urging them to speak out publicly against executions.
He told them that lawmakers will outlaw capital punishment only if citizens demand it.
"I donít know that this building has a lot of courage in it, unfortunately, but the thing that makes it move is people. And when legislators hear that people are upset and that they are concerned, and that they want a change, they will follow the leadership that is bringing them in that direction," he said.
Fumo (D-Philadelphia) is a co-sponsor a Senate Bill 25 which calls for a moratorium on executions in Pennsylvania. The prime sponsor of the bill, Sen. Edward Helfrick (R-Northumberland,) spoke at the rally, along with Sister Helen Prejean, whose life was depicted in the movie "Dead Man Walking." State senators Shirley Kitchen and Vincent Hughes of Philadelphia, other Democratic cosponsors of SB 25, also spoke.
"On this issue itís going to take a lot of leadership, because if we appeal to the masses, and if we appeal to emotion, and if we appeal to vengeance, we are bringing society to the least common denominator rather than elevating it where it should be," Fumo said.
"We all know the commandment thou shalt not kill," he added. "There are no exceptions to that. It doesnít say thou shalt not kill except for government, or except for this or that. Thou shalt not kill.
"It is particularly offensive to me, as I know it is to you and as it should be to the rest of the population, when demagogue politicians run around and campaign on, ĎLetís kill.í Thatís wrong. They should be shunned; they should be thrown out of office rather than rewarded.
"The irony of the death penalty is that itís stupid. Ití doesnít do anything, except appeal to vengeance. It hasnít lowered the number of murders; it hasnít cut crime; it hasnít done a darn thing except make us the laughing stock of the world that we kill our own."