Wayne Uber charged in Back Talk (“Indy full of social elitists,” May 3) that the Indy was hiding “aggravating factors” that, when viewed in the overall picture, would justify the execution of Willie Brown. Mr. Uber also implies that Indy columnists hold opposition to the death penalty because they (naively) think violent crime could never happen to them.

One factor seems consistent in the long history of crimes by Willie Brown: His documented and untreated history of mental illness. If Mr. Uber’s reasoning is that capital punishment be used to prevent violent crime, then Mr. Brown should have been executed at birth.

The failure of this society to truly attempt to protect potential victims by providing the necessary social support that many of these criminals need is absolutely not the failure of “social elitists.” Death penalty solution supporters don’t prevent crime or protect victims, they only seem to take satisfaction in a feeling of accomplishment after it’s too late and the bodies are being counted.

I think the Indy should have included ALL of Willie Brown’s history, as I think his lawyers also should have done at trial. But knowing his long criminal record only strengthens my belief that we need to invest our dollars in prevention, before a relative of mine, or myself, becomes a victim of someone who could have been helped.

Peter Childers