We live in a country where some states have the death penalty. Capital punishment. The “ultimate justice,” people like Rick Perry say with a smirk, as if justice that ends in death is somehow preferable to justice that respects the dignity of human life.
Do you not know what those sanitized words mean? Do you not know what the death penalty is?
We live in a country that sanctions murder of supposed criminals. That’s what we’re talking about: murder. It’s not “self-defense.” Death row inmates are locked down, strapped down, and would be in jail for the rest of their natural lives but for our societal decision to kill them first.
And the people we kill, we suppose they are criminals. We have a system that spits out a verdict that a person is guilty. It’s a flawed, imperfect system. In any given case, witnesses, counsel, judges, or the jury could be wrong, stupid, or both. We, as a society, take their word for it because it’s the best way for dispensing justice that we’ve come up with so far.
But since we have this flawed system, and we do kill people, then it is inevitable that occasionally we’re going to murder the “wrong” person. To support the death penalty is to support the occasional murder of innocent people. That’s been true since the first barbarian hunter-gatherer thought it’d be a good idea to gather the whole tribe together to watch the death of another defenseless person who claimed innocence.
So my question is, why the hell are people so worked up over Troy Davis?
I honestly don’t understand why the media and the public are so breathless over the death of Troy Davis. The story about his execution was all over the news, last night and this morning.
Why? Because maybe this guy was innocent? Who cares? No, seriously, who cares if this particular murder victim was innocent of the crime he was convicted of? It’s like when people say, “I only eat free range chickens.” Sure, it sounds morally superior until you remember that the chicken, once alive, is now dead because McNuggets are tasty. Maybe having your death row victims be guilty makes you feel better, but the person’s guilt or innocence does nothing to change the fundamental act of the state’s murder of somebody else. Maybe we need to stare the death penalty in the face, so we can understand what it’s truly about.
I mean, Jesus, the things we choose to care about. The state of Georgia MURDERED an unarmed man last night, and we’re debating whether or not they considered all of the relevant evidence? We’re debating the process by which Georgia came to the conclusion it had the right to terminate the life of another man? This is what passes as civilized?
Freaking Batman — who is a lawless vigilante — won’t murder a defenseless Joker even after Batman personally witnesses the Joker killing hundreds, and we applaud Batman for his heroic restraint. But in the real world, Texas Governor Rick Perry gets applause for his blood-soaked record of killing people.
And we’re surprised that Georgia might have killed an innocent guy? Really? We’re surprised?
This is our country, folks. Stop acting so freaking surprised.
Troy Davis Tells Officer’s Family He Is Innocent, Then Dies by Lethal Injection [ABA Journal]
Executions Should Be Televised [New York Times]