04/03/1995 at 01:00 AM EDT
To our cover question "Does Susan Smith deserve to die?" (PEOPLE, March 13), correspondents replied, overwhelmingly, "Yes." Of those who disagreed, nearly half did so because they considered the death penalty too good for Smith. Among those favoring execution, several offered suggestions as to the method.
Does Susan Smith deserve to die? You're damn right she does. It made me sick to see her face on the cover of your magazine.
G. DEFOREST, Brawley, Calif.
Susan Smith deserves to live, so she can think about what she did—for the rest of her life.
J. DELA CRUZ, Honolulu
As the mother of two small children, I can't understand why Susan Smith wants to live.
CATHY LYNCH, New York City
I can't imagine any crime more worthy of a death sentence than taking the lives of your own children.
LAURIE TAYLOR, Anchorage
Union, S.C., should hold a lottery, with the winning ticket-holder being allowed the honor of putting the juice to Susan Smith's electric chair.
SHARON WALKER, Largo, Fla.
This is a crime of unspeakable horror that Susan Smith knowingly committed and attempted to cover up. Alex and Michael deserve the tears, compassion and prayers. Susan Smith should be sentenced to death.
C. McCOY, Portland, Ore.
via America OnLine
What's with Susan Smith's family trying to portray their daughter as a "relatively normal young woman who suddenly snapped for some reason"? Get real, folks. She tried to do herself in at 13. She was sexually abused at 16. She made a second attempt to kill herself at 18 but instead entered a doomed marriage at 19 only to wind up penniless at 23, with two hungry-mouths to feed and an agenda to find a new husband. This woman wasn't ever stable. She was nuts from the get-go.
JOHN BRADFORD CURTIS
Grosse Pointe, Mich.
What gives us the right to judge whether Susan Smith lives or dies? None of us have seen her entire life; we don't know the details and the way they affected her. Are we all so perfect that we can judge with certainty whether Susan Smith should die for her crimes, without knowing what we would do if we had led her life?
Imagine for a moment that Susan Smith had been telling the truth, that her children had been kidnapped and murdered in cold blood by a black man. Would your headline read, "Does he deserve to die?" I think not. Why then should we forgive Susan Smith? Because she murdered her own children instead of another's, because she's a woman or because she's white?
ISAAC STEVENS, New York City
Does she deserve to die? Absolutely. Nevertheless, countless taxpayer dollars will be spent in a courtroom battle to determine Susan Smith's guilt, even though she has confessed and there is no doubt she is guilty. Where is the justice here? Susan Smith deserves the same defense her sons had—none! Strap her in the back seat of that car and roll her down the ramp.
SHARI HAMPTON, Dallas
It never fails to amaze us the number of people who can be duped into believing almost anything is forgivable, including murdering your own children, as a result of a traumatic childhood. Get a clue: This woman was duplicitous enough to concoct a story to try and save her sorry hide from getting caught. She is certainly fit enough to stand trial and take responsibility for her own actions.
STEFANI L. WADE, DEBRA J. PELOZA
Dana Point, Calif.
Lisa Kudrow ought to be mad at you for putting her in the wrong sitcom, Mad About You. You'll never be. Friends with a boo-boo like that.
COLEGATTE WOTTON, San Angelo, Texas
Lisa appears on both shows—as ditzy Phoebe on Friends and dizzy waitress Ursula on Mad About You.—ED.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN
Greta Van Susteren may be a brilliant attorney and law professor, but she should spend more time analyzing the O.J. Simpson crime instead of constantly blasting the prosecutors and criticizing the L.A. police and putting them on trial, as the defense and media are trying to do.
REG BEEBE, Johnson City, N.Y.