Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Who needs killin'?

When you get right down to it, the United States is really just a great big Texas. We're pretty sure that some people just need killin'.

Cop killers need killin'. They're at the top of the killin' list. They need killin' even if we're only pretty sure they actually killed a cop.

Troy Davis, down in Georgia, needs killin' bad. The convicted cop killer needs killin' so bad that the state parole board looked past seven of nine original witnesses recanting all or a portion of their testimony, as well as a dearth of physical evidence, to make it so come Wednesday night.

HERE IS the latest from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
A landmark Georgia case brought about the abolition of capital punishment in the United States, and another landmark Georgia case reinstated it. But even with those monumental precedents on the books, no Georgia death sentence has drawn as much international attention and controversy as the one scheduled Wednesday night for Troy Anthony Davis.

If Davis is put to death as scheduled, the legacy of this bitterly fought case could be the persistence of unyielding prosecutors -- and the victim's family -- who stared down worldwide criticism and innocence claims to see his execution carried out. It will also leave many wondering if the state executed an innocent man.

"Justice will be done and that's what we were fighting for," said Anneliese MacPhail, whose son was a 27-year-old Savannah police officer when he was gunned down 22 years ago. When asked if she thinks Davis killed her son, she answered, "There is no doubt in my mind."

Davis sits on death row for the 1989 killing of Savannah Police Officer Mark Allen MacPhail, a former Army Ranger who was moonlighting on a security detail when he was shot three times before he could draw his handgun. Today marks the fourth execution date for Davis; on the three prior occasions, he was granted a stay.

A decision early Tuesday by the state Board of Pardons and Paroles rejecting pleas to halt Davis' execution appears to have all but sealed his fate. The board has the sole authority in Georgia to grant clemency to a condemned inmate.

Still, Davis' lawyers said they plan to file last-ditch appeals today claiming there remains new evidence that shows Davis was convicted and sentenced to death based on misleading evidence and testimony. "I am utterly shocked and disappointed at the failure of our justice system at all levels to correct a miscarriage of justice," Brian Kammer, one of Davis' attorneys, said.

Davis' supporters said they would ask Chatham County prosecutors to void the execution warrant. "This is a civil rights violation, a human rights violation in the worst way," the Rev. Raphael Warnock, pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church, said at a Tuesday press conference.

The five-member parole board did not disclose the breakdown of its vote. It also did not address questions involving Davis' innocence claims or say it was convinced beyond any doubt he is guilty.

Instead, in a statement, the board said its members "have not taken their responsibility lightly and certainly understand the emotions attached to a death-penalty case." The board said it considered all the information and "deliberated thoroughly" before reaching its decision.

I DON'T KNOW that anything will change how in love with death -- and the death penalty -- we Americans are. Some people just need killin'. That's it. Period. End of discussion.

We kill crooks because they done killed somebody. We kill fetuses because they done inconvenienced somebody -- or their presence done scared somebody to death . . . or they might be born deformed . . . or Mama and Daddy are dead broke . . . or something.

In foreign lands, we kill foreigners -- with bombs and tanks and assault rifles. We get pissed off, and they get in the way.

That's just the way we are. There is no problem so daunting that we can't fix it with somebody's premature demise.

What part of "end of discussion" do you not understand?

Then again, since we're stuck with our penchant for "the final solution," it seems to me that we can at least be sporting about it. Take executions, for example. The Georgia parole board is dead-set (pun intended) on executing Troy Davis no matter the doubts, no matter the protests . . . and no matter getting seriously on the wrong side of the pope.

Fine. Obviously the members are sure enough to stake a man's life on their findings.

But are they sure enough to stake their own lives on it? It would only be sporting if they weren't as sure as they ought to have been -- screw up and kill an innocent man, give up your own lives as retribution. It's the American Way, and we Americans are about nothing if not retribution.

If we are to have the death penalty, that is the only fair way to implement it . . . and to make sure we're not killing innocent people for others' sins. If a parole board orders an unjust execution, and it's carried out, and the error is uncovered, the members should be given just enough time to get their affairs in order before their case is forwarded to the Court of Heavenly Appeals.

The same should apply to sentencing judges, condemning jurors and clemency-denying governors. After all, fair is fair.

And we Americans are about nothing if not fairness, right?


1 comment:

Russell W. said...

I'm not entirely sure Troy Davis was not guilty.

At the same time, I'm not entirely sure he's guilty. Lately, my thoughts have veered to the latter.

What this amounts to, in my humble', is one thing: a LYNCHING.

Somebody killed a cop. We have the black man who was framed. Let's take out our white-backlashin' hostility on the black guy. Instead of a rope, let's use lethal serum. It's all the same, anyway. With or without a hood and/or a Mississippi Citizens' Council.

I think, deep inside, somebody else pulled the trigger - but he was either a white man, or else a black who was "useful" to the ghetto, i.e. a stoolie. Troy was nearby, they all "look alike" anyway, so let's lynch him.