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.

Trish Gates September 22, 2011 at 05:06 PM
I agree with Ivy
Trish Gates September 22, 2011 at 05:07 PM
If someone murdered my children or grandchildren, I want them put to death ASAP. Because the "criminal" has more rights than me - it pisses me off. Stop giving so many "rights" to criminals. thank you
KK September 22, 2011 at 06:50 PM
I am so glad I live in a state that doesn't have the death penalty. I believe that there is a really good chance that Troy Davis was innocent. Can you imagine how he felt when he was put to death? I just can't imagine. I don't even want to go to visit Georgia now if they can be so callous.
Goldie September 22, 2011 at 08:05 PM
I truly believe that Troy Davis was innocent. After laying down on that gurney, he knew his life was over. I cannot imagine why he would want to lie. One youngest male reporter last night says Davis was defiant. I would dare his ignorant ass to say such as thing. I know how it feels to be set up by lying cops that fabricate lies on people because of their racism. It was done to me. I did not commit the crimes that I was accused and convicted. Therefore, I know how Troy Davis must have felt. This system is not fool proof. It is not fair especially if you are an African American! The justice system stinks to the core! I wish Clarence Thomas suffer for all the wrongs he has done, first to his own African American peoples and the American justice system, which includes all citizens. It will be a glorious day when his ass drops dead! Right on to President Obama when he said he would not have selected his dumb ass to be a Supreme Court of Justice.
Robin Skinner September 22, 2011 at 08:39 PM
I'm sorry for the loss of your brother. I'm glad you and your sister can share different views. Some people would let it destory a relationship.
GardenMagik ~ Melissa Allman September 23, 2011 at 02:19 PM
I love the State of Georgia... There are awesome people here... & Thanks so much Robin for your nice comment and for reading my story -on my own personal opinion of this subject.. My family has an awesome relationship, maybe because we accept and respect each other's opinions and feelings- even in the hardest of times.
GardenMagik ~ Melissa Allman September 23, 2011 at 02:27 PM
Goldie, Trish and KK... Thanks for reading , commenting and expressing yall's opinions... I hope the Troy Davis execution wont make you think that everybody in the state of Georgia is insensitive, because it is a sensitive subject all the way around... for everyone, no matter what color, creed or gender... ~Melissa
chime September 23, 2011 at 05:01 PM
now i c d reason why Osama did wat he did ,injustice is somthin dat trips d mass nt 2 talk of execution of d innocent .but i pray dat God wud grant de family of d executed d ability 2 bear d loss.nd i pray dat God shud help us all.nd bless our souls
Mrs. Arroyo September 23, 2011 at 10:40 PM
Amy September 24, 2011 at 03:34 AM
I'm with Melissa on this one, but I respect Ivy's point of view. I've always been against the death penalty, until one year ago today, my cousin's 18 year old son was murdered. It was a 15year old's bday party and the 18 year old DJ came packing with a weapon. That was the first time I became pro death penalty. And then the Troy Davis story broke. I foolishly read the details about how the drugs were administered, and my mind has been made up. I think one death is dreadful enough. Taking another life would make me feel worse. I can't imagine a mother, father, sister, cousin, uncle, and grandma going thru the same loss my family is going thru. The case is still ongoing and the Killer DJ is fighting for some freedom. He may spend the rest of his young life in prison, and I can't help but feel sad about the whole situation. And you're right Mrs. Arroyo, there are no winners..
Susan September 24, 2011 at 01:37 PM
I hate that many our blaming Georgia for the Troy Davis case. Where have they been the last 20 years, and now they come down on the system. To late guys. And to slow of a system, which is torture to the families involved. The system is flawed, which is why I don't believe in taking a persons life. With new DNA test so many cases are being reopened. Scary knowing these convicted people are now being proven innocent-in some states "Texas" they might have been died.
GardenMagik ~ Melissa Allman September 24, 2011 at 02:11 PM
I've been reading on-line where Michael Moore is wanting to boycott Georgia over the Troy Davis execution and believe me, I am extremely angry. The justice system might not be exactly what we want it to be, but it was not the WHOLE state of Georgia who decided on whether Mr. Davis should die or not. We all have our own opinions on planned execution, so I must write and say that in my opinion, as a resident of the state of Georgia, I think that what Michael Moore is doing- is a an overly aggressive publicity stunt that adds insult to injury. ALL Georgians did NOT want this to happen. There was a HUGE gathering of people in the state of Georgia who marched- against the execution... I had respect for Michael Moore. Don't punish the whole state, or try to annihilate our economy any worse than it is - just because of a justice system decision.... I would LOVE to hear from Mr. Moore! I am @GardenMagik on twitter ... Talk to me Mr. Moore!!!!!
Ann Raiford Key September 24, 2011 at 03:51 PM
Melissa and Ivy, I remember so vividly when Jay was murdered and having been a classmate of his, having known him virtually all of my life, I was shocked and saddened that not only this could happen to someone I knew, but sever the sweet innocence I had known all of my life in our small town. I am in favor of the death penalty and had not "commented" on the execution of Troy Davis until I read all the facts. To "Goldie" above, it is so sad that you have to "play the race card" in something as serious as this issue. Get your facts straight...the media stated that "7 of 9 witnesses recanted their statements" when in fact, there were 36 witnesses to this heinous act! Mr. Davis had the opportunity to have his witnesses get on the stand and testify on his behalf in the hearing for appeal and he decided AGAINST this because he did NOT want them to be cross-examined. In fact, their recantation was simply, "It was so long ago, I don't really remember." I am not sure where Justice Clarence Thomas fits into this whole debate, however, having read his autobiography, I can tell you that this man suffered greatly in his youth because of his race and his dialect/heritage. He chose to rise above all of this and use his intelligence and education to put himself in a position to effect change for others. He is truly an honorable man. This world will be a much better place when one can look beyond the color of skin and see the heart of a person. Again, to Melissa and Ivy, may Jay rest in peace
tk September 26, 2011 at 01:10 AM
Ms. Key - you are inaccurate. You did not read all the facts. I don't care that your opinion differs from mine but to state that you read all the facts is not true. You read from selected pieces of information - not both sides. Your so-called facts are incorrect. I've been involved with this case for years and understand far better than you - from both sides. My favorite is your recantation quotes. Read their affadavits - their recanted testimony. You're not even close with what you say they stated. You're clueless and it's people like you who claim to know that facts - that don't - who perpetuate our country's ignorance. An innocent man died that night in the execution chamber in Jackson, GA. You are wrong. You are an idiot. And I'm sorry Melissa that I have to write this on your amazing piece but it sickens me when ill informed individuals taint stories and spread untruths. They should be ashamed.
Dudley Sharp August 14, 2012 at 10:20 AM
Melissa, Please share with Ivy. First, I am terribly sorry that both of you lost your brother to that horrible crime. My thoughts to you and your family. It is always terrble to lose a loved one. Murder is particularly gut-wrenching. We have" planned" execution, becaue we must have due process with all of our legal sanctions. There is no more equality in executions and murder, than there is with incarceration and kidnapping, fines and theft, meaning none at all. As you both know, there are distinct moral foundations of murder and execution, guilty murderer and innocent vicitm, crime and punishment. Please review. "Killing Equals Killing: The Amoral Confusion of Death Penalty Opponents" http://homicidesurvivors.com/2009/02/01/murder-and-execution--very-distinct-moral-differences--new-mexico.aspx "The Death Penalty: Neither Hatred nor Revenge" http://homicidesurvivors.com/2009/07/20/the-death-penalty-neither-hatred-nor-revenge.aspx "The Death Penalty: Not a Human Rights Violation" http://homicidesurvivors.com/2006/03/20/the-death-penalty-not-a-human-rights-violation.aspx
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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