The death penalty is wrong, no matter who we’re killing
I simply don’t understand this debate.
Last night, two men were put to death for crimes they were convicted of in the United States of America. In one case, that of Troy Davis, there was mounting evidence that his conviction for the murder of off duty police officer Mark MacPhail was wrongful – which, of course, presents us with the possibility that an innocent man has just had his life taken from him. In the other case, Lawrence Brewer (one of the men convicted in the gruesome death in Texas of James Byrd, Jr.) was killed in large part because the murder was billed as a hate crime – Brewer being white and Byrd a black man.
Apparently, the internet is abuzz with charges of hypocrisy – as the outcry against Davis’ killing is everywhere while almost no one seems to care that Brewer was also proclaiming his innocence (sort of). The internet is right, by the way. Though not for the reasons I think many are asserting. The sentiment seems, mostly, to be that killing an innocent man is wrong, not that killing any man is wrong.
In reality, regardless of the guilt or innocence of either man, the death penalty is a barbaric practice completely at odds with the idea of a free society. If we cry out at the killing of one, we must do so for the other as well. It doesn’t matter which of them was guilty and which of them was not.
It is mind boggling to me that we rank with China, Iran, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia as the best in the world at just one thing – killing people. There is no defense of the death penalty that is intellectually honest except for that of retribution, and that is a terrifying reason to take the life of another. The death penalty is not a deterrent, and thus we kill people simply because it makes us feel better to do so. I find that disgusting on every level.