Let’s kick this death penalty thing around some. I’ve got far less issues with positions different than mine, so long as they are reasoned and consistent. Hypocrisy is what irritates me.
Troy Davis was put to sleep recently in Georgia, despite the best efforts of supporters around the world. That same night, Cleve Foster was put to sleep in Texas. Nary a mumbling word was heard in his defense. Most of us have a point of view about the death penalty; we are either for it, against it or still figuring how we feel.
I guess one’s stand has to do with one’s beliefs about the sanctity of life, right? If life is sacred then every life is sacred, right? Then we have to decide how we define life. Does it begin at conception? Is the life of an animal equally sacred? I suspect most of us employ a la carte approaches to this conundrum…meaning some life is more sacred than other life, which would explain anti-abortion advocates that are willing to shoot and blow up the providers of abortions.
That might also explain people that devote themselves to providing shelter and adoptive homes for dogs, cats, etc. There is no shortage of dogs, cats, etc. I like pets…but I’m not conflicted about eating your pet cow or pig or chicken. I just won’t eat mine…or wear mine. I won’t ask why their passion is devoted to animals when so many human beings live lives of equal desperation. That’s their business.
I am passionate about veterans advocacy, in part because I am a veteran. Perhaps your life has been touched by cancer or autism or one of the multitudes of afflictions that come with life, to which you devote your time and energies. So we all understand that my cause may not be your cause. I may feel that my cause is more important than yours…but I understand that it’s only more important to me.
I am comfortable with my advocacy for the death penalty. I get that in this world, clearly some life is valued more highly than other life. So I use my own standards to determine whose life matters more. I think most of us do, apart from a minority that succeeds in holding ALL life sacred…and walks the walk. They are few and far between. I couldn’t have commanded effectively in Vietnam without embracing the premise that combat involves taking lives. Kill ‘em all…let God sort it out.
Did Troy Davis deserve to die? He surely had some involvement in the circumstances that brought his life to an end. Was it just bad luck, the conduct that ended in capture, conviction, imprisonment and death? Lots of people have bad luck, most of us for that matter. Trees fall on us, cars run into us, cells run amok, spouses turn deadly. Shit happens. Try to get it right next time.
But if you decide to take a stand and speak out against the death penalty, make sure your philosophy is consistent. Otherwise it’s not a philosophy, it’s just a pose.