I’ve got to admit, the death penalty is not an issue I’ve spent much mental energy contemplating. Basically, I’m against it, especially since I’ve never quite understood how life in prison without parole couldn’t be punishment enough for someone. But its been in the news lately, for sad and outrageous reasons, and its hard to avoid contemplation. I don’t really have anything to add to all the commentary about the execution of Troy Davis, but I’d be remiss not to acknowledge that a man whose guilt was in doubt has been put to death. That doesn’t sit well with any notion I have of fairness or justice.
Before Davis’ execution, James Fallows recommended Andrew Cohen’s essay on “the philosophies, practicalities, and politics of modern capital punishment.” I recommend it as well, especially if you’re someone like me who has not been intellectually engaged on this issue.