Go West this summer and get ahead.

No Exceptions

You’re bound to step on someone’s toes when the subject of capital punishment, aka the death penalty, comes up. “If you’re for it then you support the slaughter of fellow human beings.” “If you’re against it then you’re weak, blindly optimistic and in opposition to justice.” Georgia is one of 33 states –most of which are in the South –that enforces the death penalty and the execution of Andrew Cook a couple weeks ago has given way to more debates on the taboo topic. I’m not going to disclose my opinion here, but rather point out the flaw in both sides of the argument and that is what I call the “exceptions rule”.

This “exceptions rule” is largely unspoken of on both sides of the fence. It simply means that some people do or do not deserve the death penalty. Most of us are not aware that we use this “exceptions rule”. According to deathpenaltyinfo.org, “as of December 31, 2012 there were 61 women on death row, constituting for 1.93% of the total death row population of 3,146 persons.” It is clear that exceptions are made for gender. Exceptions are also made for race as well. According to gfadp.org –a site for alternatives to the death penalty –“among all homicides with known suspects, those suspected of killing whites are 4.56 times more likely to be sentenced to death as those suspected of killing blacks.”  I’m not advocating the execution of more women or questioning the morality of our judicial system –although it’d be warranted. I’m simply saying that if you’re going to be for the death penalty then you should be for it all the time, no matter the suspect or the victim for that matter.

The same can be said about people that are not for the death penalty. On September 21, 2011 myself and other Georgia State students marched on the Capitol here in Atlanta in protest of convicted murderer Troy Davis’ coming execution (and indeed it did come). My peers and I spent all night with posters, snacks, and the passion of a thousand youths who felt a part of something bigger than we could imagine. While sitting on the concrete steps, I realized what we were actually protesting. We didn’t know all the details of his case. In fact half of us weren’t alive when the crime he was convicted of took place. We protested for innocence.

URGE Abortion

For whatever reason, we felt Troy Davis was innocent and no innocent person should die right? But what about the millions of other inmates on death row right now? Are they innocent as well? Unless we are present during the crime or in the minds of the convicted person, how will we ever know if he/she is innocent? We use the “exceptions rule” to defend whomever we feel is innocent to us; therefore placing judgment on others.

We all know that every case isn’t alike and that every convicted inmate isn’t alike either. But who are we to choose who is worthy or not worthy of the death penalty? So, whether you stand for it or against it, be consistent, with no exceptions of persons.

1 Comment

  1. Ami-

    Well written piece on the death penalty and the Troy Davis case. You brought up important facts that some may not know or care to know. Thank you for sharing your opinion on an important topic to your readers.

    We both were outspoken critics of ending Troy’s life. Your actions leading up to Davis’ last days alive (marching at the Capitol with your peers, speaking up to an injustice) are admirable.

    In your article you wrote, “We protested for innocence. For whatever reason, we felt Troy Davis was innocent and no innocent person should die right? But what about the millions of other inmates on death row right now? Are they innocent as well?”

    I want to share my opinion with you. I am vehemently opposed to the death penalty. Even if the criminal justice system were not racist and unfair, I would still oppose it. If we could or found a way to only execute those we knew were guilty, I would still oppose capital punishment. It does not matter to me if a person is guilty or innocent of a crime that has been deemed punishable by death. In other words, Davis’ guilt or innoncence is not of importance to me.

    I thought you may find the following article in the Seattle University Law Review Journal. I would be interested to hear your thoughts after reading. Here is the link:


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