ESWoW Newsletter - October 2011
- From the Leader - Susan Rose - The Death Penalty - the ethical implications
- Community Call - October 2 - The Death Penalty - Where are We Now
- Dialogue Group - October 2 - Sally Leete
- Community Call - October 16 - Occupy Wall Street, Occupy Your Town?
- From the Ethical Movement - Bart Worden on September 11, 2001
The Death Penalty, Yet Another Look
Troy Davis was killed on September 21, 2011 by the state of Georgia. The cause of death, after an autopsy, was homicide. The intention of course was to say that because Troy Davis was convicted of homicide, he was executed, put to death, killed by the state of Georgia. But I think you could readily say that the state of Georgia, without any doubt whatsoever, committed homicide, defined as any killing of one human being by another.
So much has been written about the specifics of the Troy Davis case, so I won't go into details here. What has affected me most about this case, is the disregard for both human life, and the justice system of this country. How can we feel any confidence in a system which allowed the death penalty to be exercised, even when there was considerable doubt as to the guilt of the convicted.
We know that people have been put to death who have later been exonerated of committing the crime for which they were killed. Yes, we all make mistakes, but somehow Oops! or I'm sorry, just are not sufficient when an innocent person has been killed mistakenly.
The only way to avoid making mistakes about killing innocent people is to not have a death penalthy. Yet even if there were a mechanism to be totally sure that the convicted person was indeed guilty, I still don't believe that there should be a death penalty. Even if there were a way to have no racial bias in our justice system, I still don't believe there should be a death penalty.
If one believes in the inherent worth and dignity of every person, as we say in Ethical Culture, I conclude that the death penalty is immoral. You can not respect the inherent worth and dignity of someone and kill him or her. Those are logically and morally inconsistent actions.
That the execution of Troy Davis happened with so much doubt as to his guilt is indicative of the way in which some elected government officials have taken to place themselves above the law and above the common good. For an irreversible decision such as killing a man, there is no justification for acting in that manner, for making this decision.
The one thing that has given me some heart after the execution of Troy Davis is to learn of the increased level of activism against the death penalty. Troy's sister, Martina Correia spoke with Amy Goodman of DemocracyNow.org and in response to the question "How are you?" this is what she said: "...I sleep like a baby, because I know the fight is not over, and I know that millions of people from around the world are very upset by this, and that Troy’s case is going to be a catalyst for change in the death penalty, particularly in the South. And it’s just really amazing, because a lot of legislators from Georgia and Savannah, that wouldn’t even give us a conversation, turned deaf ear when we asked them to step up, you know, and support Troy or at least talk about an abolition bill, did nothing. And now, since Troy is deceased, everyone is coming out of the woodwork, because they see that millions of people are faxing them and shaming them. And so, now, all of a sudden, they want to talk about abolition. And my thing is, we’re going to receive abolition in Georgia and throughout the South, but we’re going to expose the racial judicial system that killed my brother Troy."
The memorial service for Troy Davis is on Saturday, October 1, 2011 in Savannah, Georgia. Not only will people be remembering Troy Anthony Davis, they will be remembering that there is still so much work to do to bring justice to our country.
While the killing of Troy Davis reminds us of the inhumanity of the death penalty in this country, the death penalty is used around the world.
What is the status of the death penalty in your state? This excellent fact sheet from the Death Penalty Information Center tells the status of the death penalty in all the states and also gives a good graphic demonstration of the racial elements of how the death penalty is implemented in the US. There are many ways you can take action against the death penalty in general, in your state, and on behalf of specific death row prisoners. The National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty has wonderful information for all of these actions.
We'll be talking about the implications of the execution of Troy Davis on Sunday, October 2, 2011. The call is at 12m PT, 1pm MT, 2pm CT, and 3pm ET. The number to join the call is 866-740-1260 and the access code is 5766842#.
Dialogue Group Call from Sally Leete
Welcome to the ESWoW Dialogue Group! Sunday, Oct 2nd at 2 p.m. Pacific, 3 Mountain, 4 Central and 5 Eastern Time Zones. We like to enlarge upon the topics raised in the Community Call and add whatever Ethical concerns are on our minds.
Sunday we may take a look at our ethical influencers, from childhood influences, friends & family, to media programming and advertising. What causes us to choose our values? What influences us to change position? How do we handle situations where people differ from our heartfelt conclusions?
Please join us for this lively discussion.
Sally Leete (530.750.0400)
On October 16, 2011, we'll be talking about the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations.
Please join us and invite others who might be interested.
From the Ethical Movement - Bart Worden about September 11, 2001
I was so moved by my colleague's talk on Sept. 11, and I especially enjoyed his words to the children of the Ethical Society of Westchester.
Yours in Ethical Community,
Susan Rose, Leader
Ethical Society Without Walls
Connecting to Live More Ethical Lives