Troy Davis (Capital Punishment)

Today two men are scheduled to be executed, Troy Davis in Georgia and Lawrence Russell Brewer in Texas.  If you’re not familiar with the cases of the aforementioned, I’ll give you a brief run down. – My thoughts and prayers are with the families involved.

Troy Davis was convicted of shooting an off-duty police officer in Savannah who was trying to help a homeless man being attacked by Davis and an accomplice.  The evidence in this case is based on eyewitness accounts which out of nine, seven have recounted their stories.  One witness is said to have heard another man, supposedly with Davis at the time, say that he was the one that pulled the trigger.  The case has been  appealed and stayed over the last few years but Davis seems to have run out of options.  If the Supreme Court does not stay the execution one final time Mr. Davis will be executed for the murder of police officer Mark MacPhail.

In the case of  Lawrence Russell Brewer, a white supremacist, the evidence of their crime was a little more concrete.  Brewer and two of his friends came about James Byrd Jr. on a dark, lonely road in Jasper, Texas.  Evidence showed that a fight ensued between the four men and Byrd was subsequently chained to the back of a pickup truck and dragged to his death.  I’ll spare you the grizzly details of the crime scene but needless to say, it was pretty gruesome.   – Mr. Brewer has been executed while I’m writing this blog.

While reading about the story of Troy Davis an, African-American, feelings of rage began to build inside of me.  I remembered all of the stories of racial injustice and inequality very well-known in the south.  As I continued to read on, the writer injects the story of Mr. Brewer – a White American, my thoughts immediately changed from anger to satisfaction.  I immediately stopped reading and began examining my own thoughts and feelings.

Let me make  clear my view of the death penalty.  I believe that if a person is evil and thoughtless enough to kill without remorse, they should be treated in the same fashion.  I know that’s not a popular view but even a sentence of life in prison allows the offender to endanger the lives of the other inmates. So it is my contention that if life meant so much to the offender they would’ve spared the life of the person the killed.

Why did I get a feeling of satisfaction for one execution but disdain for the other.   My first answer was that it was because the evidence against Davis was not concrete while the evidence against Brewer was overwhelming.  However, if I’m honest, race played a role in how I felt in each case.  So, I asked myself, would I feel the same about Davis if I knew that he was guilty and this is was my answer.  If Davis is in fact guilty, he deserves the same end as Brewer in Texas.  I stand by my statement that if you’re evil enough to take an innocent life then the world should be made safer by your absence.

It was eye-opening to hear the family of James Byrd plead for the life of Brewer to be spared and on the other hand hear the family of MacPhail plead  for the execution of Davis.

I’m not writing this to convince anyone to change their mind about whether the death penalty is right or wrong, rather to ask ourselves the question – what could ever make us want another person to die?

3 responses to “Troy Davis (Capital Punishment)

  1. I had the same feelings at the time, although my political heroes, my family, and many of my friends were crying out to abolish the death penalty. I even began to feel ashamed of myself, and wonder if vengeance is just an ugly part of who I am.

    But then I really thought about how I felt about the death penalty. And people will argue that you can put a prisoner in isolation for life and everyone, even fellow inmates, can be safe from him. But that doesn’t matter to me. What matters to me is that a person had such disrespect and disdain for the beauty and miracle of life that they chose to end someone else’s. And deep down inside, I feel the world is made a better place by removing those people from it.

  2. I thank you for such a deep post with substance and your shared thoughts and feelings. Your perspective shared adds depth to mine and you have given me a chance to search my feelings and reflect a little on those times I was outraged about this very subject. Doubt is a consideration yet with overwhelming evidence I shall have to go deep to find that answer in myself.
    Thank you again.

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