Thursday, February 19, 2009

Troy Davis

I've been trying for a couple of unsuccessful evenings to somehow get the YouTube video to load here, but I'm going to override either my or my connection's inadequacies and just post the link.

The Troy Davis case is a cause celebre, which may or may not help save his life. I'm opposed to the death penalty on principle, but this case is a bit different. As they say in all those shoot 'em up revenge movies, 'This time it's personal'.

For a few years now, I've participated in the Amnesty International holiday card write-a-thon. It's a nice thing to do to remind you of some of the true values of the season, but though I send cards off to people in far parts of the world who are imprisoned or beleaguered, I don't know if they ever get them, or if they get them whether they ever see them, or if they see them, whether they can read English or understand what I'm trying to express even if I do.

Two Christmases ago, though, I got an answer back from one of the people I had written to. It was from Troy Davis, who was, and is, sitting on death row in Atlanta, Georgia, after being found guilty in the shooting death of a police officer.

I, of course, have no idea what his involvement was that night. I do know that a lot of the witnesses have since recanted, but you can read all about that here.

Having exchanged a few letters with Troy over the intervening time, I do consider him a friend, and if asked to place a bet, would bet on his innocence. What I do know is that this is not some depraved and hardened individual who deserves to die. And I also know that what he has been seeking over time is not just clemency, but a new trial, where witnesses who were young, poor and vulnerable might be called again to tell what happened that night. Again, there is much more information on the Amnesty site than I can articulately post here.

I'm posting this here, not because this blog has any big following, but because I've already written to the Parole Board and the Governor and emailed friends, etc. This is just one other small thing I can do, and so I'm doing it.

This is a man who has come down to the wire on being executed three times. Talk about your cruel and unusual punishment. Even Dostoyevsky only had to go through that once.


  1. Good god, I wish I believed in divine retribution or divine anything, for that matter. A decision whether another person lives or dies is not anything any human should have to make.
    Detectives Beyond Borders
    "Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"

  2. It's sometimes difficult to put life and all it's tribulations into some sort of perspective.....issues and worries over job security, bills
    and general money management, are but nothing compared to the trials others face.....not just this guy, residents of Gaza, Zimbabwe, Australian bush fire victims to name a few

  3. Peter and Colman,

    Thanks so much for checking in and commenting here. I feel a personal obligation to do what I can think of to do because at this point there is some kind of personal connection. But with or without me, the Troy Davis case has received a lot of attention, and Troy has received a lot of support. The cases that hardly bear thinking about are those of people who are languishing in prisons, uncertain of their fates, and with no knowledge of whether the outside world even knows of their existence.

    Yes, it does put all our petty grumblings into a different perspective, doesn't it?

    Not that I'm going to stop grumbling, of course.