Wednesday, September 21, 2011

I am Troy Davis

I started watching the Democracy Now! live feed from the Georgia prison at 3pm / 6pm EST, too late to contact the parole board, the local judge or the governor's office to voice my opposition one. last. time. 1 hour before they killed Troy Davis, and all the government offices were closed for the day.  How could office hours be a part of state-sanctioned homicide?  How can something like this be so neat and tidy with hours of operation, how could so many agencies ignore millions of people asking for a stay of execution, individual cries for justice and life from around the country and the globe?

Then, already in tears as the 7 o'clock deadline approached and passed, I took a breath hearing a cry of relief from the crowd, and then waited in confusion as the reporters tried to clarify what seemed to be a stay of execution.  I called out to my roommate to come watch.  I felt such relief, but also that OF COURSE they would grant a stay, they couldn't kill someone for a case that had so much doubt involved in it, where seven of the nine eye-witnesses recanted, where there was no physical evidence, where one juror stated that if she'd known then what she knows now, she would never have given a guilty verdict, and Troy Davis would not be on death row.  As someone stated later to Democracy Now's Amy Goodman, "Troy Davis doesn't need to prove he is innocent, the state of Georgia needs to prove he is guilty."

Oh right — innocent until proven guilty — the basis of our judicial system.  But after watching so much Law & Order and being programmed by our social system, how often do we really operate on that high moral ground?  Rarely, which is why a justice system that embraces the death penalty is flawed.  It is run by humans, with preconceptions, prejudice and emotion.  There is too much room for error, but there is NO room repairing that error after the lethal injection has been given.

My brain / soul / heart relief that of course a stay was going to happen, as it was the only rational response, was quickly ridiculed as idealistic when the crowd was informed that there was simply a reprieve, not a stay.  Davis would be allowed to breathe, his heart to beat, while the Supreme Court of the United States reviewed his final appeal.  So the torture continued, as Troy and his family waited hours for the decision to come down, one sentence from the Supreme Court that said they had denied the stay. 

How could I hope for rational thought when part of the state-sponsored killing is a suicide watch, to make sure the prisoner doesn't end his own life, ensuring the state gets to play god. When part of the process is a general physical, to make sure the prisoner is healthy enough to kill. Healthy enough. To kill.

Sadly, I'm not surprised, many of my friends commented on Facebook.

I was surprised.  Surprised to confirm that I really am an idealist / optimist, and believed that rational thought and the fear of killing a potentially innocent man would win the day. That the pride and ego of the state wouldn't be so large as to ignore the pleas of the people.  But, as Troy Davis himself shared in his statements, "This fight to end the death penalty is not won or lost through me but through our strength to move forward and save every innocent person in captivity around the globe. We need to dismantle this Unjust system city by city, state by state and country by country."

I needed this wake-up call. To the broken system that plays into our race and class problems, to the need to fight for reform, for reconciliation, forgiveness and real justice. I am Troy Davis. Our government killed him, but his spirit must live on in us as we put an end to this grotesque, inhuman act. Visit Amnesty International to sign a pledge to abolish the death penalty, that you do not want anyone killed in your name. And then learn how to take action, to contact and partner with organizations in your area who are fighting for the lives of others.

(from 1DeadlyNation)

(From road2justice)   

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