Troy Davis should not have been executed. Disregarding completely any question of innocence, Davis’s death sentence was wrong for one simple reason: Nations shouldn’t kill people.
The fact that there was any question of guilt reinforces the fact that it was a terrible decision to execute Davis. This sentiment was shared by many international entities, who condemned the United States’ failure to stay the execution. Amnesty International was one of these voices: “The U.S. justice system was shaken to its core as Georgia executed a person who may well be innocent. Killing a man under this enormous cloud of doubt is horrific and amounts to a catastrophic failure of the justice system,” Amnesty said. Many leaders worldwide shared similar sentiments, and a recent CNN article written by Peter Wilkinson contained many of these reactions. Wilkinson’s article claimed that the world was “shocked” by the United States’ execution of Davis.
The international perspective on capital punishment places the United States’ current position among many nations known for their human rights abuses. Many nations considered “peer” nations to the United States (England, Germany, France, Finland, Netherlands, etc.) have abolished the death penalty long ago, while those that still utilize capital punishment (China, Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, etc.), are known for their suppression of personal liberties, and harsh restrictions on what Americans would deem basic human rights.
Looking at these facts , there appears to be a growing international consensus against capital punishment. Each year more and more nations do away with the death penalty. The Supreme Court of the United States, however, continues to leave this issue to the states, allowing them to make their own decisions regarding the morality and legality of capital punishment. Currently 35/50 states allow the death penalty.
The inaction of the Supreme Court is as good as an acquiescence to capital punishment, and as Wilkinson’s article maintains, this disappoints the international community. Why wont the United States do what many nations have already done and put an end to this barbaric act? What is the benefit of the death penalty? There is the common misconception that it saves money, but that theory often fails to take into consideration the 10+ years of appeals necessary to sustain a capital punishment conviction. So what is the benefit of the death penalty, or is it merely a societal acceptance of Hammurabi’s eye for an eye “justice”?