Death penalty in America
The fact that there’s a disparity is not the main point. Its existence is the problem, in whatever form it takes.
By now it’s worldwide news that two high profile executions took place in the US this week. The fact that it shocked the world may or may not have shocked American citizens used to this form of ‘justice’.
Troy Davis may be dead, but his execution Thursday in the American state of Georgia has made him the poster boy for the global movement to end the death penalty.
World figures, including Pope Benedict XVI and former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, human rights groups and commentators urged the execution to be halted — but to no avail. On Wednesday Davis was put to death by lethal injection for the 1989 killing of off-duty police officer Mark MacPhail despite doubts being raised over the conviction.
The execution sparked angry reactions and protests in European capitals — as well as outrage on social media. “We strongly deplore that the numerous appeals for clemency were not heeded,” the French foreign ministry said.
“There are still serious doubts about his guilt,” said Germany’s junior minister for human rights Markus Loening. “An execution is irreversible — a judicial error can never be repaired.”
Activism mounted in the final days and hours of the campaign to save the life of this man.
A worldwide campaign had sought clemency for Davis, and a number of high-profile leaders raised questions about his guilt, including liberals like former President Carter and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and conservatives like William Sessions, the former head of the FBI under Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush.
After the state parole board denied Davis’ clemency request Tuesday, human rights activists mounted last-ditch efforts to save him. Laura Moye of Amnesty International USA called the board’s decision “an international human rights scandal.”
I happened on the Dylan Ratigan show randomly just in time to hear this. The commentator makes a fervent case for the dignity of all human life, no matter what.
So here’s an impression I’m left with.
The other night, I tuned into either CNN or Fox News or one of the networks as they were covering the vigil outside the prison where the execution would take place. In one glance, captured on the screen at that moment, I was struck by the line of activists arrayed on one side of the road holding signs and candles in hopes of a last minute stay of execution, that this single life would be saved in the end, though law allowed for that life to be taken. They were going to stay there until the end, hope against hope, on behalf of human dignity. Across the street, arrayed in force with riot gear, was the contingent of forces armed with the weapons necessary to carry out the law as it stands, enforceable with police presence. Nervous news anchors described the scene on the screen, where guards were prepared for intervention if the activists moved to save the life of the person inside.
It was jarring, that moment. And so clear to me an analogy for what takes place all across America on most days at abortion clinics.
It’s exactly analogous. Inside a public institution, human life is at risk of extermination, execution, for no crime other than being targeted as expendable for purposes deemed permissable by society. In that moment on that television screen showing the live shot of activists holding candlelight vigil, who didn’t have the legal right to cross the line to save a life, the commentator said the guards were prepared for any effort those activists may make to move in. They had no right to cross the line. The execution was legal.
The cries about crimes against humanity, and human rights violations, have been fervent and widespread. How many of them support abortion ‘rights’? Violence is violence, and murder is murder. No matter what you call it. As uncivilized and inhumane as it is for even suspected criminals, how much more so…or even arguably the same…for the most vulnerable and innocent human beings being held…not in a cell…but in their mother’s womb?
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