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 Statements made at the time had been retracted, fingers had been pointed at the guy who actually fingered him for the crime in the first place.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?