Other Opinion: For Rodriguez, death is fitting
"An eye for an eye will make the whole world blind." That quote is attributed to Mahatma Gandhi, an advocate of peace and human rights. Gandhi, of course, led a movement that eventually helped his native country of India gain independence from Br...
"An eye for an eye will make the whole world blind."
That quote is attributed to Mahatma Gandhi, an advocate of peace and human rights. Gandhi, of course, led a movement that eventually helped his native country of India gain independence from British rule.
So how would Gandhi feel about the saga of Alfonso Rodriguez, who continually fights for his life in a federal prison? We suppose Gandhi would plead for Rodriguez to live.
We believe Rodriguez should die, as determined by a federal judge following his 2006 trial for the death of UND student and Pequot Lakes native Dru Sjodin.
Sjodin was abducted at Columbia Mall in November 2003; her body was found near Crookston the following spring. She died a tragic, horrifying death. According to authorities, she was raped, stabbed and asphyxiated.
Evidence against Rodriguez was strong. He also had a history of violence, and had been recently released from prison for crimes including rape and attempted kidnapping. He showed no remorse.
Neither Minnesota nor North Dakota has the death penalty, but Rodriguez was eligible for federal capital punishment because he took Sjodin across state lines. He still awaits execution, but - like so many on death row - he is temporarily spared via appeals. At present, a lawyer for Rodriguez is arguing in court that evidence presented at his 2006 trial inappropriately influenced the jury and led to the death sentence.
Each time his name surfaces, it spurs discussion about the death penalty.
We agree with the death penalty for those convicted of the most heinous and dastardly crimes, although we know it comes with controversy.
The United States is among a shrinking number of countries with capital punishment. Countries politically and socially close to the U.S. - Canada and Great Britain, for instance - have abolished the death penalty, perhaps because many see the practice as uncivilized. The American Civil Liberties Union calls it a "brutal institution" and says it is applied in an "unfair and unjust manner against people largely dependent on much money they have, the skill of their attorneys, the race of the victim and where the crime took place."
But what about the terrible cases? What about Rodriguez, who brutally murdered that young girl and who had a past of violent crime? Meanwhile, his incarceration - complete with full health care and repeated appeals - is costly to taxpayers.
What about maintenance of moral order?
And what about the Sjodin family?
Maybe the death sentence will someday be banned in the U.S., but for now, it's a legal alternative for degenerates like Rodriguez. It should continue, but only for those who most deserve it and in cases that absolutely are proven.
That's the case with Rodriguez. A long prison sentence paid by taxpayers doesn't do justice for what he did.
With deference to Gandhi, we ask: What good comes from keeping Rodriguez alive?
-- The Grand Forks Herald