Tag Archives: troy davis

Why can’t we call Troy Davis supporters racists or anti-theists?

The recent blog about Troy Davis has taken quite a bit of heat–mostly from those in favor of abolishing the death penalty all together and mostly in regards to my comment that they can move elsewhere in the country. (Let’s remember the 10th amendment of state’s rights. No matter what, there should be NO FEDERAL LAW regarding the death penalty). I called those who ‘sometimes support the death penalty’ fair-weather fans and a few readers were outraged by this comment stating that they could like and not like whatever they wanted about America.

So let’s get to the point and pose a few questions to my opposition. Three more executions and near-executions have arisen since that of Troy Davis, including a white man who had his death sentence commuted to life without parole hours before his execution. The issue of race sparked again and those who were mad before Troy Davis’ execution were mad yet again, claiming that the State of Georgia was racist and should be ashamed.  Many supporters also stated that they were NOT supporting Troy Davis because he was black, but because this was a human rights issue-evident with the support of organizations like Amnesty International and the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, among others.

Now, I’m guessing you haven’t heard about Youcef Nadarkhani, the pastor in Iran who may be executed any day now for being Christian and ‘abandoning Islam’. He could potentially die because he is practicing a religion that isn’t supported by Iran. If these Troy Davis supporters are for universal human rights, then this would fall into that category, no?

So I ask…Where are the human rights groups? Where are the anti-death penalty groups with their picket signs? Where are the t-shirts saying “I am Youcef Nadarkhani”? Where are these people who so vehemently opposed the death penalty “not because of race, but because of human rights issues”? Why are you fighters only fighting the race fight and not the religious fight?

Troy Davis & The Death Penalty: Race, Cost & Repercussions

The execution of Troy Davis on September 21st has fueled a lot of discussion on the death penalty in recent days. Of course there are the extremists who call for the abolition of the death penalty all together.  There are the moderates who believe that the death penalty needs some tweaking, like more appeal opportunities, longer death row time, etc.  And then there are the hooligans who think Troy Davis was only convicted because he was a black man who killed a white man.

In evaluating the death penalty, there are several aspects that one must take into consideration.  First and foremost, the death penalty is NOT a deterrent for crime.  It is a punishment for committing a crime.  The death penalty, like many other foundations of America, is based on Biblical values.  And in actuality, the death penalty has become so humane, that it is no longer feared.  Criminals are lucky that they aren’t executed in the same fashion by which they took a life.

Death row is often times considered to be a “second punishment” in addition to the actual execution.  But how is this any different from a life sentence? And isn’t it a bit hypocritical to say that jail time is punishment, when the same groups are extending the length of time in jail by appeals and stays and retrials?  Craig Haney, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Santa Cruz said, “People on death row live under the threat of death, which is of course an extraordinary psychological trauma, and they are denied most of the ways that people make life in prison more tolerable: meaningful social activity,
programming of any kind, activities,” but again, prison is a punishment so why must it be tolerable, or comfortable, or enjoyable? The conditions are pretty nice. All states offer television and a limited number of states offer educational training and group recreation time.

Some interesting facts about the death penalty, for those who are so against it:

  • On average, 13 years elapses between the time a death sentence is handed down
    and carried out. (1)
  • In Kentucky, more people on death row have died of natural causes than have been executed in the last 30 years. (1)
  • Almost all people facing the death penalty cannot afford their own attorney. The state must assign them two public defenders, and pay for the costs of the prosecution as well. (2)
  • The rate at which death penalties are handed down at sentencing has gone down dramatically over the last twelve years, with slow-downs occurring in almost every state that still allows the death penalty, including the southern region (4)

Dragging on the process of appeals is costly.  It costs $90,000 more annually to house a death row inmate than it does someone sentenced to life imprisonment.

Another misconception? African Americans make up the majority of death row. Wrong. According to the Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC), 43.68% of inmates on death row are white, 41.77% are African American, 12.12% are Latino and the remaining 2.43% are categorized “other”.  Further, many believe that the South is more likely to sentence a black man to death row than a white man, but Alabama has equal numbers of both, and Florida, Kentucky and Tennessee have more white men on death row (3).

You don’t have to support the death penalty. You can certainly move to one of the 16 states that has banned it: Alaska, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia or Wisconsin. Or better yet, another country.

1. http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hOcn1bXU7W_NbP0JN80LCNIVFa7A
2. http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/costs-death-penalty#financialfacts
3. http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/race-death-row-inmates-executed-1976
4. http://deathpenaltyfacts.org/facts-about-the-death-penalty/