If We As a Society Elect to Have the Death Penalty – Use it Justly

September 22nd, 2011 by Michael Tabor
Troy Davis, a Georgia inmate and convicted Cop killer, was put to death last night by lethal injection. He was convicted of killing a cop 22 years ago and he was killed by the state of Georgia only yesterday. I will be writing more blogs about the death penalty, whether or not it’s actually a deterrent, and the ethical issues surrounding the use of it, but I want to focus on why we kill some inmates and not others.
Why Troy Davis? He may very well have been guilty but there was no question about the fact that we were not 100% certain of it – there was some doubt. So why, for goodness sake, did we kill him when we have so many other murderers where the prosecution has physical evidence, DNA, and we know these individuals committed the crime.
I will give my three reasons why Troy Davis was put to death and hopefully we will get many responses to this blog. This perhaps will shed more light on this very thorny issue of a society that elects to kill very bad people who commit heinous crimes.  Here they are: 1. Troy Davis was black. 2. Troy Davis killed a police officer. Finally, 3. Troy Davis killed a cop down south.  Poor Mr. Davis had all three of these strikes against him and even though the state only had circumstantial evidence against him, questionable witnesses and not a scintilla of physical evidence, he was still executed.
This saddens me a great deal and this execution just confirms my already firmly-held belief that our judicial system is prodigiously unfair. Don’t be black and don’t kill a cop down south (or be in the proximity of someone else who is black down south who actually committed the homicide) because your “black ass” will be fried figuratively and literally. (Well, lethal injection seems to be the norm these days so we do not electrocute people anymore.)
Another factor of this case that bothers me is even the Georgia parole board was split 3 to 2 on whether to give him life or kill him. This was just a no-brainer. Everyone knows that throughout history, our country has executed innocent people (DNA, death bed confessions and other revelations) and I would rather see 100 truly guilty inmates get life imprisonment (not released) than have one innocent person killed. It’s bad enough that we jail some innocent people let alone execute them.
I will wrap this up by just proclaiming that our justice system “just ain’t fair”. Sure the person who committed the heinous crime 22 years ago deserved to die; the killer was beating up a homeless man when the officer, Mark MacPhail (R.I.P. – I always think of the victims; I would indeed have been remiss had I not mentioned the police officer’s name) attempted to thwart the attack, he was subsequently fatally shot in the face and the heart. Maybe Troy Davis committed the crime and justice was served, however the point of this blog is let’s make absolutely sure we have the right guy before we kill him. That’s all. I believe in the death penalty but I think it should be reserved for those very wicked deeds. I believe that if there is any doubt whatsoever, life imprisonment should be the sentence.
So WhadaYaThink ? Guess what ? Charles Manson is still alive; he’s 76 years old. Richard Ramirez, “The Night Stalker,”literally the scum of the earth who broke into people’s homes in the middle of the night, then proceeded to immediately kill any males who were in the house and then have his way with the women – by viciously beating, raping and finally killing his prey. One of his victims was an old lady – in her 70’s. The last horrifying indignity was that the twisted sociopathic Ramirez would go into the refrigerator and have a meal as his victims lay beaten, raped, tortured, and dead. Well Ramirez is alive and on death row (it has been more than 20 years) at San Quentin State Prison. So sad and unfair that we can kill someone we are not sure about and allow Ramirez and Manson who we KNOW are guilty live and watch TV.
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9 Responses to “If We As a Society Elect to Have the Death Penalty – Use it Justly”

  1. Chip Says:

    Michael, I couldn’t have said it better. Before reading your article, I thought to myself “I know why he was executed: 1) he was black and 2) he killed a police officer; case closed, then I saw your reasoning and thought “right on target”, you also caught the fact that it was down south (a major slip on my thought process). I must confess I didn’t know much about this case in particular, but I will state that I am opposed to the death penalty for reasons that this case highlights. I would rather see many guilty go free than to kill one innocent individual and even ex President Jimmy Carter was against this execution on the sheer grounds that there was not 100% certainty and therefore it was unjust. The only time I believe the death penalty should be allowed to be considered is in cases where there is ABSOLUTELY NO DOUBT; as in the case of Charles Manson….. People who are sick enough to be proud to say “yes, I killed them and I’d do it again”; with absolutely no remorse. If there’s evidence and they outright admit it, then I can live with the idea of execution because then 1) we’re not paying for their care and living expenses for the rest of their lives, and 2) if it turns out everyone was wrong, it would be obvious they wanted to die anyway, so it can be considered “assisted suicide” (by the way, another good topic for you to present.

  2. magdalena Says:

    Rest in peace Troy Davis and Mark MacPhail in knowing continued efforts will and must be made to ensure that truth will prevail, that the innocent may no longer suffer at the hands of injustice.

  3. SkyTop Builders Says:

    Hi Mike. Well done! Your writing is excellent – measured and flowing. Comparatively, I got a post from a person recently who was about to publish a book and they were soliciting feedback. Their book had already been approved and the writing was painfully bad – some on the choppiest and jerky I’d ever written – I could not comment it was so bad. Your writing, by comparison, is head and shoulders above that individual’s.
    Regarding the post, it’s spot-on. A tragedy and a hot-button topic. Justice imparted by humans is an illusion anyway. Justice imposed by men, in many cases, is a hologram of what it’s supposed to be. These instances pop up when we encounter a hot-button topic. For example, there was a precocious 11 year old girl from our neighborhood who was supposedly seduced by two older males [on two separate occasions] in the development near where we live. No corroborating witnesses to this activity, no evidence… nothing – only an 11-year-old’s word – a girl that had more glamour attire on than a 21 year old hoochie-momma. Regardless, those two men’s lives’ are ruined. Was justice served? Hardly.
    Justice as all about truth. When something is not true, it bothers us. When someone tells us a lie, and we find out about it, it deeply affects us. Why? There is something eternal in the answer – and beyond the scope of this post. Regardless, truth was not served in Georgia…. I dare say “The Devil Went Down To Georgia”….. but that is also for another blog post.

  4. le duke de fromage Says:

    Mr. Tabor, Justice is at times best served to those with the deepest pockets. That said, the reasons why Davis was excuted are correct, Although being black certainly didnt help Davis, some states have a mandatory death sentence for the conviction of a person who kills a police officer. But studies have shown that the threat of a death sentence is not a deterent in the killing of innocent people. If this is so, does a life sentence of mad men like Manson and Ramirez offer any solace or closure to the victims families and or society? Some also argue it is insane to sentence a person to death then have them spend 20 or 30 years in appeal on death row waiting for an answer, or run out of money to pay for such appeals. Most religions believe that the guilty will be judged by God, we on earth have a different dilemma.

  5. Sal Paradise Says:

    You certainly touch on all of the salient objections to the death penalty, perhaps none so powerful as its selective enforcement. I do believe there are crimes for which the right of the perpetrator to continue living is forfeited, but that all available technology (i.e., DNA testing), regardless of cost, should be used to exonerate or condemn before the sentence is applied. That said, I’d like to answer Le Duke’s question regarding the merits of subsidizing the likes of Manson and Ramirez for life by positing that there is no redemptive value or restorative justice whatsoever in doing so. Regardless of whatever psychobabble is (perversely) cited in an effort to mitigate their behavior, or prolong their lives, their actions have demonstrated an utter contempt for humanity and society from which there is no return. They are malignant tumors that should be excised. Thought provoking piece.

    I’d love to see your riff on the shameful inequity of so-called ‘white collar’ crime enforcement and sentencing. How many Goldman Sachs and sub-prime loan execs were held accountable for the economic shit storm we’re in?

  6. francisco Says:


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  7. rafael Says:


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  8. sibelius 6 Says:

    Excellent read, I just passed this onto a friend who is doing a little research on that.

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