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abolish the [expletive] death penalty

I am so gutted over Troy Davis I hardly know what to say. I only heard of his case late, and I have absolutely no personal connection to it, but it so perfectly encapsulates the medieval, racist, morally stunted blood circus that is the death penalty in the US. No, I don't think my country is better than this. No, I don't think we've betrayed our ideals. I think my country has been pulling this bullshit for going on a goddamned third century and I am not okay with that. I have always loathed the death penalty, but if it's possible to loathe it more, well, there you go.

The best thing that could come of this is a country-wide consciousness raising, where perhaps people finally meaningfully ask what moral logic allows them to murder another human being for anything less than immediate self-defense. Revenge is not a reason. Deterrence is laughable. It is a racist institution, a modern-day form of lynching that allows the ones who advocate it to feel morally superior even while indulging in the most immoral of actions.

This article is particularly relevant, discussing the racial aspects of how the death penalty is carried out in the United States (it's a decade old, but still damming).

This bit struck me as so bleakly relevant (Troy Davis was sentenced in '91; his Georgian prosecutor expressed embarrassment that the execution had taken so long):

University of Iowa law professor David Baldus found that during the 1980s prosecutors in Georgia sought the death penalty for 70 % of black defendants with white victims, but for only 15% of white defendants with black victims.

Prosecutors have unfettered discretion in deciding which cases become capital cases, seeking the death penalty in approximately 1 percent of all capital eligible cases. Notably among the 38 states that allow the death penalty, approximately 98% of the prosecutors are white.

But it's all about justice, right? It's just about the case, isn't it? Race and class have nothing to do with it, huh?

I want to curse a lot more than I have, but let me just say this once more, with profanity: abolish the fucking death penalty.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 22nd, 2011 06:42 am (UTC)
I couldn't agree more. The one term paper I had to write for my forensics degree was a persuasive argument for or against something in law, and I wrote for abolishing the death penalty. I've always hated it, but all the research I did for that paper just solidified all my reasons why forever. This is another reminder of what a terrible and pointless institution it is. I was so crushed to get the e-mail earlier this evening.
Sep. 22nd, 2011 01:18 pm (UTC)
I go back and forth on the death penalty. There's a part of me that thinks that there are some really heinous things that people do, and they shouldn't be allowed to continue to walk on this Earth paid for courtesy of my tax dollars. Then there's the part that thinks we're playing God, and boy, you better be really sure you know someone did something before you execute them, not to mention not all equal crimes are actually treated equally. Some murderers get significantly less jail time than drug dealers, and some murderers get executed and others don't.
Sep. 22nd, 2011 02:39 pm (UTC)
Word. Just word.

There are, sometimes, crimes that I hear about and can't help thinking "the person who did this deserves to die." Like when some psycho rapes and kills a bunch of little kids. But I think the God Complex element is one that shouldn't necessarily be followed, and frankly, better to jail someone who deserves worse than execute a man who may be innocent. Especially in a system as clearly messed up as this one is. So I'm with you 100%: the death penalty needs to be abolished.
Oct. 5th, 2011 12:21 am (UTC)
I myself am conflicted about the death penalty. I heard what happened to Troy Davis thanks to Yahoo news. Sometimes I want certain people to die for what they did to innocent people, and other times I think no. What are we doing? We are just like the criminals in a way. Yes we kill "bad" people however, it still doesn't make it right.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )