*If you know me, you know I am not fond of the death penalty. The death penalty is a vengeful act masking itself as justice. “Justice” is a subjective term and what may be just to me may be unnecessary to someone else. Nonetheless, we live in a nation-and world believing that death is justice under certain circumstances.
I don’t believe heinous, violent people who target innocent people for personal satisfaction or evil should walk around with the rest of us. People who have the propensity to commit violent crimes make us all feel unsafe, so I never feel TOO badly when violent career criminals go to jail for a long time. I have gripes and complaints about how the justice system doesn’t works, but for crimes like rape, child molestation and serial murder I have little empathy.
People who don’t live in Cleveland may not be familiar with Anthony Sowell. Anthony Sowell is a man accused and on trial for luring (black) women to his house, raping, killing and stowing their bodies in and around his house on Imperial avenue. These women had been missing for months, and some for years, some even unreported. It was a gruesome discovery that shook up the city and highlighted the disposability of black women. Sowell is now on trial , and if he is found guilty he will receive the death penalty. It seems like a pretty just punishment for such hateful, heartless behavior.
A month ago, in an effort to keep up with the case, I read that the families of the women who were murdered would be satisfied with a plea deal offered to Sowell. This deal would have taken the death penalty off the table, but also spared them from a public trial that would reopen wounds that they would have to relive. The prosecution did not bend despite a petition that was sent stating, “The death penalty for Anthony Sowell is not necessary, or even desirable, in comparison to the grief we families will continue to suffer under the realities and uncertainties of the criminal justice system.”
Bill Mason, the county prosecutor says, he wants the death penalty, which he will more than likely get now that Sowell is on trial.
In no way do I feel sorry for Anthony Sowell, whether death or life in jail, it doesn’t bring back those lives or undo the hurt he caused-what’s done is done. I don’t feel any safer knowing he is behind bars or dead. I am sure there are other serial killers being born or who have yet to be discovered. Evil does exist in this realm, and I have yet to find a quick fix against it. Peace and love will hopefully triumph one day.
The families of the Imperial street women don’t believe death is justice, and I believe their opinions and feelings should hold weight. If Bill Mason wants justice, who is he getting justice for? Maybe the rest of us? Maybe the deceased women? Either way, when people die, we are left to suffer their absence. I don’t know if we suffer in death, but we certainly suffer in life and justice should also be about easing suffering and reducing pain. There are times when I am a proponent of an eye for an eye, and even though the law is the law and the “proper” channels have to be navigated, sometimes justice does not prevail.
Cherina Jones is a blogger and photographer residing in Cleveland, Ohio. She graduated from Cleveland State University with a degree in creative writing. You can visit her blog at Cherinajones.blogspot.com and she can be reached at [email protected].