Monday, September 26, 2011

Troy Davis - Face of the Death Penalty

Troy Davis, executed last week in Georgia because of the death penalty in a case that has reasonable doubt.

As most people know, Troy Davis of Georgia, was executed last week for a crime he most likely did not commit.  He exclaimed his innocence up to the end.  The death penalty is an abomination in this country, and is arbitrarily and capriciously sentenced and used.  Civilized countries do not kill their own citizens.  The U.S. is as barbaric and cruel as the middle eastern countries of Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Iran, which we abhor for their governments and societal ways of handling those that break the law.  But, America is not much better when it keeps use of the death penalty.  The U.S. needs to abolish the death penalty because it is capriciously sentenced, it is racist, and it marks us as an uncivil society.

Years ago, more than I want to remember, when I was a senior in high school and taking a course called Advanced Composition, our teacher, Karen Wrobleski, had us, as a class, pick a social issue to pursue in our writing of term papers and arguable issue papers. (And I thank Karen Wrobleski for her guidance and lessons in writing so that today I am able to write a blog!)  She wanted to not only teach us writing but also to research and become aware of an important social issue in the U.S.  After brainstorming for ideas and having  whole class discussions, as a class, we chose to write about the U.S. prision system/justice system.  All our papers that semester were on that same theme and we chose different specific topics within that theme to write about.  Most of my papers where about prision reform, but one paper I wrote was about abolishing the death penalty world wide, because at the time it was illegal in the U.S.  It was in l975 or l976 that it was reinstated in the U.S. (And, yes, I graduated from high school before those years.)

Since I was seventeen, I have been against the use of the death penalty, not only in the U.S. but anywhere in the world.  It is cruel and unusual punishment.  It is not for man to judge who lives and who dies.  We are not aware of the entire life of a person that has led them to murder another, and I for one am not going to make a decision on who lives and who dies.  We have to put ourselves in another's shoes.  Even, Charles Manson, who I believe to be the most evil, vile human being created, and who killed for "fun" as well as being a svengali to others to get them to  kill for him, should not be killed by society.  Left if prision  to rot for the rest of his life,yes, but it is not our right to judge in areas of life and death.  To this day, I have been ademantly against the death penalty.

Even at seventeen, I was able to see and present evidence and statistics that the death penalty was not applied fairly and was barbaric.  Today, it is a more racist decision than ever.  Usually it is the poor and the minorities that are given the death sentence and penalty.  It is given more times to men than to women. It is given more to black men than to other minorities.  In the case of Troy Davis, even when witnesses recanted their stories, changed their testimony, and even one person confessed to the crime Troy Davis was suppose to have committed, his death sentence was carried out.  I find this unconscionable.  He at least deserved another trial or life in prision if prosecuters really felt he was their man.  But, our justice system blindly went along and murdered Troy Davis anyway. Our justice system is no better than any murderer they have on death row.  I hold the justice system, the U.S. Supreme Court, and yes, even President Obama for not intervening and putting a stop to the execution of Troy Davis.

I realize the murdered victims and their families want justice for their loss; however, two wrongs do not make a right.  As Confusis say:  "He who seeks revenge digs two graves."  Our whole societal mindset needs to be changed.  Seeking revenge helps no one, even to those who feel they are justified in seeking it.  It only brings out more revenge.  Althought very difficult, forgiveness releases the victim and loved ones from the emotional pain and dark memories of the murder of their loved one.  If we cannot become a more forgiving society, we will do ourselves in.  Killing another in return is not a civil or judicial act to take. 

"An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth", leaves us all blind and toothless.  Is this what we really want for an intelligent, educated, civil American society?