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HuffPost Table Talk: Understanding The Death Penalty


Every week, editors at The Huffington Post highlight a story that will spark a lively discussion at the family dinner table. The Table Talk this week addresses a very serious topic that is more appropriate for older children.

If you logged on to Twitter on Wednesday, you might have noticed multiple trends referencing Troy Davis. Most children hadn’t heard Davis’s name before because he was accused of murdering a police officer over 20 years ago and has been in jail ever since.

Even though Davis never plead guilty to murder (he swore he was innocent), he was sentenced to death. Typically, it takes years for someone on death row to be executed, so it isn’t uncommon that Davis was there for 21 years.

The death penalty is a highly controversial topic – many people argue passionately that it should be abolished. But, others think execution is an appropriate punishment for the most horrific crimes. The issue becomes most fraught when you think about it from the perspective of a victims’ family members who may want vengeance. But, is revenge something the law should uphold? In this case, people on both sides of the issued agreed: if there was even the smallest chance that Davis was innocent, he should not have been sent to his death. On the day of his execution, protestors around the world stood up. The Supreme Court reconsidered their decision, but in the end, he was executed by lethal injection.

Questions for discussion:

* Do you have questions about the events surrounding Troy Davis’s case?
* What’s your opinion on whether the United States should abolish the death penalty?
* If you think the death penalty is an unfair punishment, what are some actions you can take?


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