{September 22, 2011}   I don’t even know what to say right now

I have always been against the death penalty. I know that may sound strange coming from someone who lives with a slightly homicidal chicken (who has been MIA lately, because she ran off on an adventure with Mr. Pink and refused to take a cell phone or camera). P and I both agree that it’s not the death penalty that deters us from committing crimes. It’s the all-but-unchecked rape, violence and other atrocities that occur in prison that keep us from crossing any lines.

As an American, but specifically as a Georgian, my heart hurts today. Outside of my general disagreement with capital punishment, I am appalled that the place I call home put someone to death last night when there was quite clearly so much reasonable doubt. Appalled doesn’t really even describe it. There is no one word to describe the disappointment, sadness, anger, shock and sheer disbelief that I am feeling today.

I mean this in no way to dismiss the suffering of the MacPhail family. I cannot even begin to imagine what they have been going through. What happened to Mark MacPhail is a terrible tragedy – one seen all to often in our society – and the perpetrator should absolutely be punished, but this case so strongly highlights an inherently flawed system. Here, in the quiet hours of the morning, following a night of high emotion on both sides of the issue, we are left to ask, “How can we fix it?” I don’t know, but I hope that we will continue to ask ourselves and our governmental leaders this question until we get a satisfactory answer.

A few months ago I ran across The Last Meals Project online. I found it fascinating, thought provoking and finally, deeply troubling. I didn’t share it at the time, because I really didn’t know what to say. I still don’t, but I hope you will visit their website and, whichever side of the issue you are on, I hope it will make you think. We should always think long and hard when life and death are on the line.

This is one of the reasons that I’ve been against the death penalty for some time now. It’s not that some people don’t deserve to die for the things that they do – they do. It’s that the State shouldn’t have the power to exact that sentence. No State should have the ability to execute it’s citizens, for any reason. That is too much power in the hands of an entity that is supposed to be serving those citizens. When it does have that power – things like this happen.

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