My father was murdered. In the South. That man was executed.
There you have the facts. But this isn’t about me. It’s about Troy Davis who was wrongly executed last night. And Lawrence Brewer who was rightly executed.
Okay maybe it is a bit about me because I am having a crisis of faith. I have always been pro-death penalty. It’s a biased opinion, colored by our family’s experience. I grew up knowing what was taken away from me and envious even of the murderer’s children; they got 18 more years with their father than I did. At least they got to know their dad through the glass of the prison visiting room while the taxpayers paid for him to get a college degree, earning him the nickname The Professor. My father worked. He was loving son, husband and father. I don’t know his nickname.He was 24 when he was brutally murdered. Not that all murders aren’t brutal. I feel for Officer MacPhail’s family. (And I lost my mind when Alec Baldwin tweeted something negative about them.) I can tell you flat out that the families have no say in what happens and I remember we felt very forgotten when it was all happening. The victim of the actual crime seems to be pushed to the side at times like these, all of the focus being put on the person to be executed left us crying out what about us? What about our loss? Our loved one was tortured and this man gets a sedative? Being on this side of an execution is a tricky business it’s horrible. Even when you know beyond any shadow of a doubt that the right guy is being punished.
I don’t believe Troy Davis was the right guy, but they do, and I understand why. I understand all too well.
I also know that it is no good just to hand out ‘justice’ unless it is proper justice. It must be the right guy, just executing someone for the sake of execution is another murder. I know many of you feel that the death penalty is always murder…and here is where my crisis of faith comes into play.
Lawrence Brewer was executed last night in the same prison and the same room as the man who murdered my father was executed in. I feel nothing but peace about this. What he did to James Byrd junior is inhuman. I don’t believe he deserved to take another gasp of air. I believe the death penalty is full and just in this case.
Troy Davis was executed in Georgia, literally put down like a dog. They didn’t have the proper drugs so they used veterinary drugs usually used to euthanize animals. No physical evidence. No DNA. Seven out of nine witnesses recanted and another man confessed. I do believe his lawyers sucked. I don’t believe he deserved to die. I believe the death penalty is a travesty and an epic tragedy in this case.
For every Lawrence Brewer there are 200 more on death row. Guilty as sin and unrepentant. So then there must also be more Troy Davises. I am not quite ready to say no death penalty, but I am not sure how to prevent another clearly innocent man from dying.
Will this case bring an end to capital punishment in America? Will it bring a much needed review and revamping of our process?
I like to think that when Troy Davis got to heaven God wrapped his arms around him and said “I know. But you were the man for the job. The man who could bring to light how flawed this system is. You did well, my child. Now rest and be comforted.”
Because Troy Davis you did do your job well. My crisis of faith is in full swing. My heart bleeds for your family, and for the family of Officer MacPhail. There is no winner in a murder case. There can only be a scar that never fully heals but it always sensitive and sore.