We are well in to the 21st century, and the world is, in many ways, the most advanced it has ever been. As “One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all”, how does it not bother people that the government continues to lawfully kill its own citizens?
Troy Anthony Davis is an ordinary man. He is just another human being like you, or like me, or like any other person you come across when you cross the street, sit next to in class, or work with at your job. The government body is also made up of ordinary men. Each person has something good in them, something to love in them. Each person has a flaw in them, each person deals with struggles, and each person has a purpose to fulfill during their lifetime. Most importantly, each and every person has a basic right to live out their own life, no matter what. Troy Davis was accused and convicted of murder charges against a Georgia police officer, and despite his claims that he has been wrongly convicted, and lack of any clear and solid evidence to prove his guilt, he has been sentenced to death row.
Davis is just one of the many examples of cases upon whom capital punishment is imposed. My question is simple, who gets to decide who has the power to take another human life and end it all? If a person has proven to be a threat to the well being and safety of others, I understand the need for incarceration in order to prevent further harm to others, or even to just serve as punishment to help understand the wrongness and severity of a mistake as drastic as murder. Everyone goes through their own struggles in life. Some have it worse than others, but we all have bad times. As much as we avoid it, people will always make mistakes, and there will always be some form of hate, injustice, inequality, poverty, sickness, and other negativity in life. But that is all a part of life, and it just means that you are alive. It is better to have a bad experience than no experience at all. In the past few years, I have learned to embrace struggle, because it is the only thing that can make us appreciate good times. No matter what happens or how bad it is, we as human beings can learn from it and we can grow from it, we can feel something, let it wash over us, and then move forward; everyone has their own way of discovery in this journey we call life. Taking away freedom is, in my opinion, the absolute worst form of punishment, but it is yet another struggle in life. Capitol punishment on the other hand, is the highest form of hate, injustice, and inequality there is in life, because it takes away this very basic human right to live, and puts an end to all that it means to be alive.
Capital punishment is the highest form of cruel and unusual punishment, irrevocable and irreversible, final. It takes away from a human being the very most basic right to live, imposed upon by another fellow human being. Those that may have had more education, or more law training, or even those who have been selected by a majority to become a leader of a group of people and make decisions to maintain order, have come to believe that it is a part of their responsibility to impose death upon another person that they believe is a threat to society. However, these qualifications are not justification enough to be able to decide who gets to live and who must unwillingly die as a form of punishment. If every human life is truly equal, and I believe it is, then who is to decide which life is worth more and which life should completely end under the power of another man because he decides it should be so?
I believe myself to be very open minded, even in issues that I feel as strongly towards as capital punishment. I have tried my best in every way to understand where those who are pro death penalty are coming from, and after much research, debate, and thought, I have only become even more strongly opposed to the death sentence, and hold firmly to my belief that even the most dangerous and threatening criminals deserve the right to live, for no other reason than that they are our fellow human beings and no one person or group of people have the right to take away this basic right from another. Those that are pro death penalty believe they are doing the right thing, because they are preventing the killing of other innocent people, but anger and revenge is what provokes them. I thought we all understood that solving violence with violence, and in this case murder with murder, will only make things worse, not better. What I think they fail to see is the enormity and finality of a punishment such as death.
Imprisoning a murderer even for life would have the same effect as the death penalty, cost less time and money, and the charged can always be set free if they were wrongly accused, which there is always, always, a chance of. Death row is often wrongly sentenced, and racial bias and ethnic discrimination play a large role in the outcomes of many cases. Statistics have shown that about 1 in every 7 persons sentenced to death row are wrongfully accused, and it is undeniable that taking even one innocent human life is no small matter. Furthermore, the enforcement of the death penalty has never been shown to lessen the amount of murders nor significantly improve crime rates. “[T]here is no credible evidence that the death penalty deters crime more effectively than long terms of imprisonment. States that have death penalty laws do not have lower crime rates or murder rates than states without such laws. And states that have abolished capital punishment show no significant changes in either crime or murder rates. The death penalty has no deterrent effect” (American Civil Liberties Union, 2010).
“Almost all democracies in the world have abandoned the death penalty. The U.S., Japan, and South Korea are the only exceptions” (Ontario Consultants on Religious tolerance, 1995).There are currently still 35 states in the U.S. that have the death penalty, and although no one person can immediately put an end to this, we can all play a small role in the abolishment of the death penalty over time by living our lives with open minds and hearts and standing up for what we believe in, in hopes that one day the United States of America, this one nation under God, this land of said equality, freedom, and justice for all, will be free of this form of hate and injustice that is capital punishment, which goes against everything even in our most basic constitutional rights, and that perhaps one day it will no longer even be an issue that is to blogged about.