To kill or not to kill: Death penalty topic of debate at Bridgewater College

Bud Welch, whose daughter, Julie Marie, was killed in the Oklahoma City bombing in April 1995, and Jeff Jacoby, a long-time proponent of the death penalty, will debate “The Death Penalty” at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 29, in Cole Hall at Bridgewater College.

The debate is sponsored by the Anna B. Mow Endowed Lecture Series and is open to the public at no charge.

Even before the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, Welch was opposed to the death penalty.

“Julie’s death prompted bouts of anger, pain, hatred and revenge,” he said. “I longed to see Timothy McVeigh (who was tried and convicted of the bombing and executed) dead. For the next few weeks I started to reconcile things in my mind, and finally concluded that it was revenge and hate that had killed Julie and the 167 others.”

President of the board of directors for Murder Victims Families for Human Rights (MVFHR), Welch is an ardent spokesman against the death penalty. He serves on the board of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty and has received several “abolitionist of the year” awards.

Welch has testified before 22 state legislative bodies, the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, the Russian Duma and the British and European Parliaments.

Jacoby, an op-ed columnist for The Boston Globe since February 1994, writes twice-weekly essays that The Boston Phoenix has dubbed “a must-read,” describing him as “the region’s pre-eminent spokesman for Conservative Nation.”

For several years, Jacoby was a political commentator for WBUR, Boston’s National Public Radio affiliate. He also hosted “Talk of New England,” a weekly television program. He is a frequent guest on radio talk shows across North America and is a director of the Ford Hall Forum, the nation’s oldest, free public-lecture series.

In 1999, Jacoby became the first recipient of the Breindel Prize, a $10,000 prize for excellence in opinion journalism. In 2004, he received the Thomas Paine Award from the Institute for Justice, presented to journalists “who dedicate their work to the preservation and championing of individual liberty.”


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