Saturday, 24 September 2011

AN EYE FOR AN EYE?

I'm up at crazy o'clock (okay, 8 am) on a Saturday as I'm waiting for some very important deliveries. So I thought I'd take this opportunity to post about something that has been bothering me for a few days now - the execution of Troy Davis in Georgia this week.

Troy Davis' case had passed me by until Wednesday, when I became aware of it thanks to Twitter. I read up on it and was immediately pretty appalled that someone was on Death Row for murder with so little evidence actually pointing to the fact that he had actually committed the crime. And, judging by the fact so many others were tweeting about how horrible it was, I was not alone in feeling this way.

By the time I woke up on Thursday, the execution had taken place and, sad though I was in general anyway, hearing that just made me feel worse.

The idea of the death penalty has always bothered me.

I don't really believe in the whole "eye for an eye" idea of it. I believe in punishing those who commit horrific - and not so horrific - crimes. But I don't think death is the answer, even if the person has killed others. I believe, in a lot of ways, it could be seen that death is the easy way out. Shouldn't the criminal have to suffer for the rest of his life, as long as that may be? I believe these people should be locked up on solitary and be made to LIVE with their guilt for as long as possible.

But here's the other thing that bothers me . . . the idea that not only can a person lose their life due to a crime they committed . . . but they could lose their life due to a crime they may NOT have committed.

From what I have read of this case, there was little evidence that Davis actually killed the cop. Statements made at the time had been retracted, fingers had been pointed at the guy who actually fingered him for the crime in the first place. Obviously the fact that there had already been several stays of execution in the past few years shows that there had to have been a distinct lack of proof. But he died anyway.

I'm not saying he DIDN'T do it, by the way. How would I know? I wasn't there. I'm just saying that without much proof, an execution seemed like a pretty tough penalty. (Understatement of the year, much???)

I think the most horrible part of it, for him, must have been waiting to die. Knowing it was probably inevitable. FOR OVER TWENTY YEARS!!! Apparently one of the stays of execution was granted only 90 minutes before he was scheduled to die. What would that do for the state of someone's mental health or emotional state? I think I would have gone insane by this point. If Davis DID commit the crime, he'd probably suffered for it quite significantly already just due to all the uncertainty.

By the way, this is not a dig at America. I actually read an article (see here) which pointed out that the death penalty is only used in extreme cases and is actually far more humane than the death penalty in other countries. And the journalist in question DOES have a point. I disagree with most of the rest of the article but that is at least true. People are executed for far less heinous crimes in other parts of the world, and in much more horrifying ways. And that is an even scarier thought.

I, personally, just don't believe the death penalty is a solution.


What is YOUR opinion on the death penalty? Are you for it, or against it?

8 comments:

  1. I dispute the Daily Mail writer's claim that lethal injection is 'peaceful'. I read elsewhere that there's quite some debate over this. Some learned medical souls believe that it's actually very painful, like fire shooting through the veins. The first drug administered paralyses the person, the second stops the heart. It is argued that because the person is paralysed, they are unable to convey the intense pain caused by the second drug.

    I'll try to dig out a link.

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  2. Yours is the second blog i've read about this on today and i'll say it again - i am for the death penalty in extreme cases.

    In cases of serial murderers, of sadistic rapists, torturers, of child molesters/murderers.... if it can be proved that they are guilty than i am ok with them dying. What i am not ok with is them being able to live in a comfortable cell, with 3 good meals a day, with a tv and access to education, being able to see their families... all things that were denied to their victims.

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  3. I basically agree with your whole post.

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  4. I've always been against it because really, you want to send a message that killing is wrong by what...killing? Isn't it a touch hypocritical? We are letting people know that killing other people will not be tolerated yet we think we have the right decide to do the same to THEM? Does no one see the irony?

    Lots of people have been executed wrongly in the past. This alone should be reason enough to halt it. Plus not all states have the death penalty so depending on where you commit your crime and are tried, you could live or die.

    I see people using the same tired arguments about "oh they get to live comfortably at the taxpayer's expense" but honestly, their punishment isn't a life of suffering or inhuman treatment, it's removal of freedom and no matter that they're fed or can be educated, they're incarcerated and not in a luxurious manner either. Sure it's not perfect, but it's not murder either. Just because someone's guilty of some heinous act doesn't give you the right to take a life yourself on its behalf.

    That's my thoughts.

    Also, don't get me started on how the electric chair is still in use.

    Let me make it clear, I have no sympathy for murderers and rapists, but I will not condone killing them either. That's not a decision any human should be making.

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  5. As Ghandi said "an eye for an eye and we'll all be blind"

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  6. Even in the UK there are still cases where those convicted and executed for their crimes decades ago are now being pardoned. And if we still had the death penalty in the UK there would have been hundreds of innocent men and women put to death.

    Rapists and molesters - forced castration, chemical or otherwise.

    And baws to this whole 'human rights in prison' crap - the UK prison system is paradise compared to others around the world. I can't believe that William Beggs is being allowed to fight for his right to vote - at the cost of taxpayers money.

    Besides, we already know that the USA is a bit of a shambles, conviction-wise. The 3 strikes law can be stupid at times, and it was only recently that the West Memphis 3 were finally released from prison - and only because they would only be freed if they confessed to something and got out for time already served. The justice system were so blind to all the evidence showing it wasn't them, and the behaviour of someone who was definitely a suspect to consider.

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  7. What drives me nuts is that in the Republican debates, the people who make executions happen (like Rick Perry, governor of Texas, who has overseen more than 200 of them) are the people who call themselves "Candidates of Life". If you're against abortion, but support wars and executions, I hardly see how you can call yourself a candidate of life.

    There were two highly controversial executions last week in Texas. One was a man who received an unfair trial (an "expert witness" said that it was likely that the man would commit more crime because he was black. No joke. And it's 2011.), and another was on death row because he was THERE when a murder occurred (but someone else committed -- and confessed to -- the murder.... Which means last week a man was executed because he was too afraid to stop the murder from happening).

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  8. I'm conflicted on the death penalty. There are some really, really, really terrible people out in the world who have no remorse and feel no guilt for the crimes they commit. They only thing they're ever sorry for is that they got caught.

    But at the same time, if I were ever on a jury and had to decide on a death penalty case -- I don't think I could ever sentence someone to death. I would always, always have that feeling in the back of my mind of, "But what if he WAS innocent?"

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