Thursday, 22 September 2011

I am opposed to

the death penalty. There are people I think should be locked away for the rest of their natural lives. I do not think their lives should be made easy. I do not believe we should kill them. It makes us no better than them.
The case of Troy Davis in Georgia, USA is making headlines around the world. There may be things those opposing his execution do not know. I do not know what the strength of the case against him is because I have not seen or read the evidence for myself. I have not had a chance to speak to him or the others involved. I was not there when the death occurred. I do not know but I am still opposed to his execution. It is wrong. The death penalty is always wrong.
In the case of Troy Davis there are, apparently, serious doubts about his guilt. Why anyone would proceed with the death penalty at all is beyond my comprehension. To do it when doubts have been raised is barbaric.
I am quite certain that if those imposing the death penalty had to agree that they too would be liable for death if it could be shown they had sent an innocent man to his death there would be no death penalty. Nobody would take the risk. So why do people take the risk in any other case?
The death penalty was abolished in Australia in 1973. It should have been abolished far sooner.
It was abolished for murder in the United Kingdom in 1969 but was actually suspended from 1965. The death penalty remained on the statute books for other offences (notably treason and arson in a royal dockyard) until 1998 but it was never imposed. It was never likely to be imposed.
Countries like China and Iran use the death penalty freely. They are not countries I would care to live in. There are other countries which also impose the death penalty and I would not care to live in those either. The United States is supposed to be a "free" country, whatever that might mean. It is supposed to be one which "upholds the rule of law", a country where people receive a fair trial . Like any other justice system it can make mistakes. We make mistakes here in Australia. We punish people who should not be punished. We leave unpunished people who should be punished. It is all part of the price we pay for a system which is supposed to be democratic.
Our former state Treasurer was the alleged victim of a "bashing" in the city one night. The case has just come to court. What the rights and wrongs of it are I do not know but it is becoming increasingly clear that this case is being politicised. If his alleged attacker is given a custodial sentence there will be many people who will feel an injustice has been done. Whatever happens the attacker is not, as he would be in some parts of the world, sentenced to the death penalty. If the court decision is proven to be wrong he will be able to seek some compensation. Of course he will not be completely compensated but he will not have lost his life. There is some chance of restitution.
There is no chance of restitution with the death penalty. There can be no compensation. It is simply always, absolutely and utterly, wrong.

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