Skip to comments.Death is Not the Answer
Posted on 02/22/2020 3:28:59 AM PST by Kaslin
He killed his grandmother. And he did so brutally, dumping her in the water before she was even dead, if the coroner is correct that her cause of death was drowning. He killed two others -- all evil acts. And then once in prison, he managed to kill a fellow inmate. So, I get why the governor of Tennessee refused to grant Nick Sutton clemency when the time came for his execution and final appeals.
But no one was asking for the man to be released. Instead, people -- including prison staff and the sister of the inmate he killed -- were advocating for Sutton's life. In the 34 years since he had been on death row, Sutton had done what you would hope would happen in prison. He changed. He started caring about others. Based on his last words, he became a man of faith. He even saved the lives of prison staff when inmates got violent. One former corrections officer whose life Sutton saved said in a plea to the governor that if Sutton were released from prison tomorrow, he would welcome Sutton in his home and as a neighbor.
Yes, Sutton's crimes were evil. They were also committed by a teenager whose mother abandoned him and whose father abused him. Reports indicated that as a child, his father introduced Sutton to drugs. Sutton's father later committed suicide.
It's all so miserable. And even more so, of course, for the families of those Sutton killed all those years ago. On social media, I saw a lot of burn-in-hell, this-should-have-happened-years-ago kind of comments. I couldn't help but think about mercy. Justice is crucial. But so is mercy. To have the civic and moral imagination to care that a person who has done heinous things may actually be a person whose life has value -- the kind of value he didn't see in others -- seems to be an important thing.
This all happened around the fifth anniversary of the mostly Coptic Christian Egyptian men who were beheaded on the shores of Libya by ISIS militants. I thought of this because the families of those martyrs publicly forgave the terrorists and are praying for their conversion. We do see this radical forgiveness closer to home, too -- after the Charleston church shooting in 2015, for instance.
There's something about the ritual of executing prisoners in America that is dehumanizing to more than the prisoner who is killed.
Sutton was the 1,156th person executed in the United States since 1976. These state-sanctioned executions are a poison in our law and culture. They insist that more violence and death are good, that they solve a problem. We pretend that they will be a civilizing influence or a deterrent. But I doubt that the next Nick Sutton born of similar circumstances will be swayed by the prospect of the death penalty -- his life is already a living death.
People respond to love. Mercy is for the guilty. We can't look callous in these circumstances, or our arguments about the life of the most innocent might not be heard. I understand why Sutton was not granted clemency, but Sutton's life and death should prompt an examination of conscience that could bring a lot of people of good will -- those strange "pro-life" and "social justice" divides -- together.
Depends on the question.
Agreed. In many cases, the correct answer may not be pleasant. I worry that America is getting dangerously close to asking that kind of question.
He deserved to die. Justice demands it. Glad he turned his life around. If he accepted Christ as his saviour, then no loss and all gain for him, and he has been released from the burden of his brutal past.
To be or not to be. That is the question.
Gee, now maybe the left will like her. /sarc
In the USA and any other technologically advanced society, where the imprisoned present no further threat to society, the death penalty is sinful.
Well, theres no question he wont be killing anyone else.
Maybe it should not take 34 years to carry out a sentence....
It is an injustice to take from our children in order to feed, house, and contain them.
It is an uncontested and irrefutable fact that the rate of recidivism among those prisoners who are executed is zero.
True, if the sentence had been carried out in a timely manner, perhaps the security guard and inmate might still be alive.
It is cheaper to keep them alive than to kill them.
“In the USA and any other technologically advanced society, where the imprisoned present no further threat to society, the death penalty is sinful.”
I agree. I am still haunted by the public execution of Timothy McVey. Disgusting.
If he deserved to die is not for us to decide. He turned his life around. So God probably forgave him and he is in Heaven. I have no idea.
No, actually it is not.
Your right. It was for a judge and jury to decide. And they did.
You confuse a man being worthy of death with his killing being justified.
That's just an argument to hang them on the courthouse lawn, one that I more or less agree with.
I don’t know what you mean. Timothy McVey was “worthy” of death, as you say. But he shouldn’t have been killed by the state. Maybe you didn’t understand my comment or read it.
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