Just Mercy

It took me a long time to come to grips with my views on corporal punishment, and I do think that if you take a life, purposefully with intent, you have forfeited your own. But lawyer and teacher Bryan Stevenson asks do we have the right to take it?

His answer is clearly and affirmatively no. And his experience makes it hard to argue otherwise. Starting in the deep south, Alabama, which in the early nineties had one of the highest incarceration rates in the country and one of the highest death penalty rates, Stevenson goes through his struggles to represent those whom justice has abandoned. It won’t surprise you to learn that they are almost exclusively poor and black.

Men, women, children, condemned to die because of lazy and many times racist prosecutors. Even when Bryan achieves success and gets clearly innocent people off of death row, the palpable sense of justice miscarried weighs on every celebration. People’s lives were forever altered when nothing wrong was done.

We went through a horrible phase, our country. And we are still in it’s death throes. But hopefully, through the work of people like Bryan, the death penalty will be banned. Because even if just one person is executed who was innocent, we have no right to do it to a thousand that are guilty. The world is not perfect, but we must strive to be.

Prepare to feel a lot of feelings through Bryan’s thorough prose. But also be left wanting a conclusion that doesn’t amount to the goal Bryan earnestly desires.

3 out of 4 stars.

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