Life? or Death...

Life or Death is the question. Here's an inside look at my family's loss, and our differing opinions on the subject.

Yesterday on Facebook, there were so many opinions posted about the Troy Davis “planned execution.” Some made sense, some didn't.  

But one post really grabbed me. Sharon Swanepoel (for whom I hold much regard) openly asked a very simple, yet hard, question on the Loganville Grayson Patch in Georgia: “What is your opinion on planned execution.”

I sent a personal email to her about my opinion, because it is such a sensitive subject to me. I wanted to write something publicly, but people can be so harsh in defending their opinions, so I decided not to make mine public, until today.  See, my family and I are actually considered “Victims of a Crime.”

My brother was murdered in Monroe, Ga., on Feb. 9, 1999, because of a “drug deal gone bad.” It was literally one of the hardest things I have ever experienced. The details of it all. The thoughts of his last moments – and wondering, did he cry out for our mom in those last moments, or God? I had questions about what had actually happened, but I didn't really want to know the harsh truth.

Watching my parents agonize was more than gut wrenching. Hearing the sound of my mom when she found out. You never forget things like that – ever. Seeing my baby sister cry was almost too much. Looking into the eyes of my brother’s daughter, who was almost 3 years old, and not knowing what to say, seemed foreign. Nothing felt real. My own feelings were hard enough to deal with. And then, there was my own sweet son, a 9-year-old trusting soul who believed that people were mostly good.

Did I really have to explain this to him? Yes, I had to explain it to him as best I could. I had to let him know that justice would be served. But how could I ever explain to him that murder is wrong, but the death penalty would be fine? Now, I must admit that as bad as I wanted justice, and as bad as I wanted to see this killer pay for what he did, I never could wrap my mind around the idea of the death penalty being a good thing. Especially when I looked at my little boy. Could I really explain to him that people shouldn’t kill people – oh, unless they are on the right side? Or do we shelter our kids from this horrible truth of what we can really do?

At some point, I overheard that we could have asked for the death penalty for my brother’s murderer, because the killer had made my brother "afraid for his life" before fatally shooting him twice.

But we didn’t.

At that time, in the state of Georgia, I don’t believe there could be a charge of  "pre-meditated murder," only Malice Murder. So, the murderer was convicted of 2 things: Malice Murder and Felony Murder (since murder was committed during the act of a felony – selling crack cocaine). He was sentenced to life in prison for each one, but they will run concurrent. In addition, he was sentenced to 30 more years without parole (for the actual sale of that cocaine). He will be in his late 60’s when he is released, since he was 17 when he actually committed the murder.

In light of last night's execution of Troy Davis, I thought about the families of both Davis and the police officer he was convicted of killing, Mark MacPhail. In my own opinion, there will probably never be a day when either family is truly at peace with what has happened. They will move on with their lives, but there will always be that unsettled feeling that will crop up and overtake them. It just happens to be that way. I do understand that the MacPhail family will feel as if “justice was served,” but I'm sure they will never forget the loss, nor will justice ever erase their sadness. The Davis family will never forget the loss, either.

To this day, I cannot justify – or find that place in my heart – that could decide if someone else should die. I just never never want to be the one who decides that, unless they were trying to hurt my own child (and then, yes,  I would kill them out of sheer terror and protectiveness.) It’s a double edged sword that people will probably disagree about forever. I don’t want to kill... unless it’s kill or be killed.

So, I will just keep on, keeping the faith, that this murderer will get his day – a bad day of reckoning – and it will probably be a whole lot worse than our justice system’s current way of planned execution.

And yes, I did tell that to my little son.

This is just my gut feeling and my personal opinion on Planned Execution. But I did ask my sister to voice her own opinion as well... I have added it below.

Melissa Patrick Allman,  GardenMagik


For the Patch record, as GardenMagik's sis, I feel a bit differently about this evil soul that murdered our brother. I feel he should get the death penalty – an eye for an eye, so to speak – as he knew what he was doing in his arrogant-minded state walking around the streets of Monroe with crack in one pocket and a glock in the other.

 I was apparently omitted from the discussions about being able to push for the death penalty, because I obviously would have, particularly considering the defendant's smug attitude denying everything on the witness stand with an attitude of indifference.

The problem lies in the U.S. justice system being built to cater to the defendant. How is it NOT pre-meditated murder when he's carrying his loaded gun, with the desire to inflict injury, harm, or suffering on another, either because of a hostile impulse or out of deep-seated meanness (That's the definition of malice murder.) toward an addict who might stiff him on money? He was ready, willing and able to shoot someone for anything he felt worthy of. That's premeditation – period.

I am a gun owner in possession of my CHL, and it's an honor to hold that license and be bound by the rules thereof. This evil person, and many others equal to him, should be removed from our society. It will improve all of our futures.

This is just my gut feeling and my personal opinion on Planned Execution.

Ivy Patrick

Isn't it strange how people can have such different opinions? We were raised the same but we just have a different view, as does each person on this planet. My sister and I are best friends. Yes, we are all alike but so very different. ~Melissa

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Dudley Sharp August 14, 2012 at 10:27 AM
If you know the circumstances of the murder, you know there could be no identification mistake in the Troy Davis case. Even if there was physical similarities, the clothing was totally distinct and could not have been confused. The link below, reviews the facts of the case, with the original sources and details how common these types of frauds are, by death penalty opponents. "Troy Davis & The Innocent Frauds of the anti death penalty lobby", http://prodpinnc.blogspot.com/2011/11/troy-davis-innocent-frauds-of-anti.html
Dudley Sharp August 14, 2012 at 10:36 AM
Susan, there are, at least, two sides to every story. THE DEATH PENALTY: SAVING MORE INNOCENT LIVES Of all endeavors that put innocents at risk, is there one with a better record of sparing innocent lives than the US death penalty? Unlikely. 1) The Death Penalty: Saving More Innocent Lives http://prodpinnc.blogspot.com/2012/03/death-penalty-saving-more-innocent.html 2) Innocents More At Risk Without Death Penalty http://prodpinnc.blogspot.com/2012/03/innocents-more-at-risk-without-death.html
Dudley Sharp August 14, 2012 at 10:54 AM
MORAL FOUNDATIONS: DEATH PENALTY PT. 1 1) Saint (& Pope) Pius V: "The just use of (executions), far from involving the crime of murder, is an act of paramount obedience to this (Fifth) Commandment which prohibits murder." "The Roman Catechism of the Council of Trent" (1566). 2) Pope Pius XII; "When it is a question of the execution of a man condemned to death it is then reserved to the public power to deprive the condemned of the benefit of life, in expiation of his fault, when already, by his fault, he has dispossessed himself of the right to live." 9/14/52. 3) John Murray: "Nothing shows the moral bankruptcy of a people or of a generation more than disregard for the sanctity of human life." "... it is this same atrophy of moral fiber that appears in the plea for the abolition of the death penalty." "It is the sanctity of life that validates the death penalty for the crime of murder. It is the sense of this sanctity that constrains the demand for the infliction of this penalty. The deeper our regard for life the firmer will be our hold upon the penal sanction which the violation of that sanctity merit." (Page 122 of Principles of Conduct). contd
Dudley Sharp August 14, 2012 at 10:55 AM
contd 4) Immanuel Kant: "If an offender has committed murder, he must die. In this case, no possible substitute can satisfy justice. For there is no parallel between death and even the most miserable life, so that there is no equality of crime and retribution unless the perpetrator is judicially put to death.". "A society that is not willing to demand a life of somebody who has taken somebody else's life is simply immoral." 5) Billy Graham: "God will not tolerate sin. He condemns it and demands payment for it. God could not remain a righteous God and compromise with sin. His holiness and His justice demand the death penalty." ( "The Power of the Cross," published in the Apr. 2007 issue of Decision magazine ). 6) Theodore Roosevelt: "It was really heartrending to have to see the kinfolk and friends of murderers who were condemned to death, and among the very rare occasions when anything governmental or official caused me to lose sleep were times when I had to listen to some poor mother making a plea for a criminal so wicked, so utterly brutal and depraved, that it would have been a crime on my part to remit his punishment.". contd
Dudley Sharp August 14, 2012 at 10:56 AM
contd 7) Jean-Jacques Rousseau: "Again, every rogue who criminously attacks social rights becomes, by his wrong, a rebel and a traitor to his fatherland. By contravening its laws, he ceases to be one of its citizens: he even wages war against it. In such circumstances, the State and he cannot both be saved: one or the other must perish. In killing the criminal, we destroy not so much a citizen as an enemy. The trial and judgments are proofs that he has broken the Social Contract, and so is no longer a member of the State." (The Social Contract). 8) John Locke: "A criminal who, having renounced reason... hath, by the unjust violence and slaughter he hath committed upon one, declared war against all mankind, and therefore may be destroyed as a lion or tyger, one of those wild savage beasts with whom men can have no society nor security." And upon this is grounded the great law of Nature, "Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed." Second Treatise of Civil Government. ============================= "Moral/ethical Death Penalty Support: Christian and secular Scholars" http://prodpinnc.blogspot.com/2009/07/death-penalty-support-modern-catholic.html


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