Death Penalty

Troy Davis and Living in a Revenge Society

After more than 20 years on death row and countless pleas of his innocence, Troy Davis’ day of execution has been set for September 21, 2011 by the Georgia prison system.

Davis was convicted in the 1989 killing of Savannah, Georgia, police officer Mark MacPhail. Throughout his time on death row, Davis has maintained his innocence. Four times, the Georgia prison system has set a date for his execution and four times it has been prevented. Davis’ conviction was based on the eye-witness testimonies of nine individuals; seven of which have since recanted or changed their testimony.

Of all the arguments against the death penalty, perhaps the most compelling is the fact that innocent people have been executed before, and innocent people can be executed again. But the issue of capital punishment goes even deeper than just the mere fact that justice is flawed at times. It seems to say a lot about a society that supports state-sanctioned murder, even if the one being murdered is a murderer himself. After all, is it justice we are truly after when we seek the death penalty for a felon, or is it really just revenge?

There is no evidence that shows that the death penalty is a deterrent for crime, so it cannot be argued that it actually makes citizens safer. The death penalty, because of the lengthy appeals process intended to ensure that no innocent people are put to death, is actually three times more expensive than sentencing someone to life without parole, so there is no fiscal argument to support it. There is a severely skewed racial imbalance to the death penalty, with an overwhelmingly higher number of minorities on death row. The death penalty is arbitrarily handed out and, again, racially skewed, with far more death sentences being given if the victim is white. There is also a clear imbalance when it comes to the socio-economic status of those given the death penalty, with an overwhelming number of lower-class individuals on death row, since they can often not afford an experienced lawyer.

Clearly, there is an endemic problem in our society if it is one that supports the state-sanctioned execution of other human beings, merely to exact revenge. This culture of violence is one that can only breed more violence and hatred.

“An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.”

Mahatma Gandhi

Now, with Troy Davis’ execution imminent, it is of the utmost importance that we speak up against the horrible injustice that is the death penalty and end this culture of violence and revenge.

His execution has been stopped before and it can be stopped again. Here is what you can do to help:

  • Sign this Amnesty International Petition and oppose the death penalty for Troy Davis : http://bit.ly/mR9VSQ
  • Rally with others around the country. Sign up with Amnesty International: http://bit.ly/rniZoM
  • Spread the word on your Facebook and Twitter. Use the hash tag #TooMuchDoubt
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