Comment Rescue: Dealth Penalty Contrasts
Yesterday, two men were murdered by the state, one in Georgia and one in Texas. They were both convicted of murder, but their similarities end there: one was black, the other was a white supremacist; one was convicted solely on eye witness testimony for shooting a police officer, the other not only admitted to committing the heinous crime for which he was sentence to death, but as recently as this week told a Houston reported that he had no regrets and would do it all over again; the case for one’s conviction fell apart over time, with all but 2 eye witnesses recanting, some saying the police coerced or otherwise manipulated their testimony, while the other, as I said, admitted he committed the crime. I oppose the death penalty in all cases, so for me, despite the differences in the cases, the executions of both of these men were morally unacceptable. However, even if you are a proponent of the death penalty, I cannot understand why you would not be outraged at the execution of the man who was convicted on eye witness testimony alone, much of which has since been recanted, without a shred of physical evidence, and clear evidence of police misconduct, even if you are not outraged at the execution of the white supremacist scumbag in Texas. Perhaps the Georgia and Federal courts followed the letter of the law in reviewing Davis’ case and denying him clemency, but even that is no reason not to be outraged. A man who had simply not been proven guilty by any standard other than those of a state that uses trials merely to give the appearance of fairness to pre-determined sentences should not be executed, even if you think the death penalty is a legitimate exercise of state power. You might think it’s a shame that some death penalty opponents appear to be using this case to further their agenda, but in what world is it moral, no, in what world is it sane to not only fail to speak out against, but to actually defend injustice simply because you don’t like the people who are speaking out against it, or don’t approve of the way they are going about it? This is not an abstract political argument: a man died yesterday, despite the fact that the state that killed him had failed to prove, by any rational standard, that he was guilty.