Thursday, September 22, 2011

Do You Believe in the Death Penalty?

I was surprised to find myself wiping tears off my face at the news that the Supreme Court denied a block of the execution of Troy Davis. I called my mother, and we prayed for peace.

I'm not going to lie, like many, I was one to find out of the trial on Twitter. Between #TooMuchDoubt hashtags, I googled, and googled, and googled. And was left speechless at the lack of evidence supporting the guilty tag he wore. He was convicted of murdering off-duty Officer Mark MacPhail in 1989. Davis maintained his innocence, and doubt continued to weaken the verdict as witness after witness retracted their statements.

Even more so, six retired corrections officers, including a retired warden of the Georgia Department of Corrections (where Davis was held) pleaded for clemency on behalf of Davis. Their statement was powerful, and worth your time to read when considering a stance on the death penalty. Finally, Ben Jealous of the NAACP took to CNN with a woman who claims she knows the actual killer of Officer MacPhail.

As he did four times prior, Davis refused his last meal, knowing that the law would provide justice for him. However, this time, on Wednesday, September 21st at 11:08pm Troy Davis was pronounced dead.

While on the gurney, to the MacPhail family, he maintained his innocence, "I did not personally kill your son, your father, your brother. I am innocent."

He continued, "the incident that happened that night is not my fault. I did not have a gun. All I can ask... is that you look deeper into this case so that you really can finally see the truth."

To his family and friends, he asked that they be strong, keep the faith, work hard, and pray for him. He asked them "to continue to fight this fight."

And finally, to those who took his life, he said "May God have mercy on your souls. May God he bless your souls." And with that, it is reported he laid his head down, and went with the Lord.

At the end of the day, the issue for me is not about whether or not Troy Davis is guilty. It also wasn't about whether or not Lawrence Russell Brewer deserved the death penalty today, just hours before Davis. It's about the faulty concept of Capital Punishment being an acceptable way for a victim's family to gain solace. It was reported that the MacPhail family pleaded for this Davis killing so they could "get on with their lives." For them, I feel sad. Because they have no faith in the Lord that they will be fine so they resort to killing another family's brother, son & uncle in order to save face in their own.

I truly believe this is a severe error in our justice system. And because this is on the local level, there is nothing President Obama can do to stop it. Not in cases like this. Local governments have the option to kill at a judge's personal preference. This trial especially has lead to worldwide protests for Troy Davis. Because in the end, any of us could be in the same position. It's really tragic.

For me, the cliched statement stands:

An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind.

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