Polls regularly demonstrate that a majority of people in the UK would like to have the Death Penalty for certain types of murder reinstated (although most of those polls tend to be fielded by right-wing newspapers such as the Daily Mail), and there was a recent online petition which reached the threshold for consideration as a parliamentary debate (whoever thought online petitions were a good way to run this country? Given the on-line mood at the moment there may be a parliamentary petition for the reinstatement of the old Facebook format before too long...) but on this issue I am thankful that we live in a representative democracy rather than an absolute one... Especially today in the wake of Troy Davis' execution in Georgia, USA:
Words fail me in the light of such an event - so instead I will use the words of two others. First Albert Camus. I would love to say that I am so well read that I came across these myself, but an old school friend posted them on her facebook status as a thought for today (I nearly stole them for my Radio Ulster Thought for Today tomorrow, but I would have been duty bound to split the fee with her and Albert!)
"But what then is capital punishment but the most premeditated of murders, to which no criminal’s deed, however calculated it may be, can be compared? For there to be equivalence, the death penalty would have to punish a criminal who had warned his victim of the date at which he would inflict a horrible death on him and who, from that moment onward, had confined him at his mercy for months. Such a monster is not encountered in private life."
Albert Camus, writer, philosopher, Nobel laureate (1913-1960)

But the most poignant words are Troy Davis' own words from his execution chamber:
"For those about to take my life, may God have mercy on your souls. May God bless your souls."
Troy Davis (22/9/2011)
Remembering the families of Troy Davis and Officer Mark MacPhail.


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