Troy Davis Death Penalty Puts USA in Bad Company

An American heads to a date with lethal injection. Where else could this happen?

Veronica Wilson prays with others during a vigil outside the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles while a clemency hearing for death row inmate of Troy Davis goes on inside. (Photo: John Amis/Reuters)

Allan MacDonell is TakePart’s News + Opinion editor, with a focus on social justice.

The state of Georgia has confirmed its plans to execute convicted cop killer Troy Davis on Wednesday September 21. Davis’s legion of supporters includes president Jimmy Carter, Pope Benedict XVI, former U.S. Representative Bob Barr, one-time FBI director William Sessions, and a deputy attorney general under president George W. Bush, Larry Thompson.

Davis was found guilty in 1991 of the August 19, 1989, shooting and killing of off-duty Savannah police officer Mark MacPhail. Lawyers and activists seeking clemency for Davis insist that many of the trial witnesses who placed the gun in Davis’s hand have since recanted their testimony. Opponents to the execution argue it should be called off because Davis’s guilt is now uncertain, and his innocence should be presumed.

The United States, according to Amnesty International, placed fifth in 2010’s global executions race, with 46 state-sanctioned killings of human beings. China came in first, with a death tally of 1,000-plus. Second-place Iran killed at least 252, North Korea in third snuffed 60, give or take a few, and Yemen pulled up fourth, killing 53, with maybe a few extra tossed in.

In the past 10 years, 30 countries have outlawed the death penalty. Nations that considered the death penalty too barbaric, imprecise, antiquated or just plain immoral and stupid include Albania, Angola, Rwanda, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and the Vatican City. None of these countries have a Troy Davis problem today.

China, Iran, North Korea, Yemen, and the USA: Which of these really should not be like the rest? Discuss.

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