Like many Americans, I'm disturbed and saddened at the news of Troy Davis' execution yesterday, September 21, 2011. Reports show that his case was faulty and new evidence present "reasonable doubt." But even after an outpouring of support for clemency by political leaders, stars and every day people, Georgia still went ahead with the execution.
Surprisingly, I do not dwell on the death of this one individual. My main thought is, why the outrage for this one man when the U.S. remains one of the few nations in the world that still has the death penalty. Why so shocked when yet another black man gets injected when the justice system is racist, biased and classist? For example, Blacks are only 12% of the population but 35% of those executed. It's not because Blacks are naturally violent, okay? Simply put, there were hundreds of Troy Davises before and there will be a multitude of Troy Davises after.
But, hypothetically, even if the justice system was color blind (and I'm not naive enough to believe so, but let's just say it is), would you be for the death penalty? If you say no, would your mind change if let's say, this person kidnapped, rapped and murdered your child? Tough questions, right? And honestly, who knows how we'd answer unless we are faced with these situations in real life.
That said, I personally do not believe in the death penalty. Not that I don't think certain beasts on our society should be eradicated in the most "eye-for-an-eye" manner. No, some members of the human race are inhumane and may well deserve to die to protect us all. However, I still don't believe in the death penalty, and here's why:
1. Our justice system is not just nor fair (racism, sexism, classism...)
2. Humans make human errors (as witnesses, scientists...)
3. I'm unclear what punishment would fit the crime.
Before I can even consider the death penalty, I have to be okay with how people are incarcerated and convicted in the first place. The prison industrial complex is nothing more than capitalism gone wrong. So, there's no accident that the "criminals" are more numerous, younger and darker.
Then I have to know beyond a shadow of a doubt the person's guilt. We just don't have the science to determine that now. So, we have many guilty running free and many innocent locked up. How do I determine the punishment if I am uncertain the prisoner indeed committed the crime?
But, let's say, the evidence is overwhelming and the suspect admits to the crime. Even then I don't believe s/he should die. What would constitute a just punishment? Would it be to do unto him/her what s/he did unto others? Is it being locked up in solitary confinement until death, or hard labor the rest of their days? There is no perfect resolution is there. As for Troy Davis yesterday, there is no justice nor peace. What are your thoughts?