Thursday, September 22, 2011

Feeling Ashamed to be an American

I am appalled and outraged by the execution of Troy Anthony Davis. I support the death penalty in limited cases, but it is truly sickening and outrageous that this man was executed for the murder of a white police officer, Mark McQuail, even though its not even clear whether or not he committed this crime. I frankly thought we were done with these kind of legal lynchings in the United States, that this kind of racial horror was consigned to the history books where it belongs. I never imagined that America in 2011 would be committing the kinds of racial lynchings that I read about in 1930 or 1960. I feel sick to my stomach about this atrocity.

It seems rather elementary to me that you should make sure you have convicted the right person before you send him or her to the death chamber. To send a person to the death chamber when you’re not even sure if he’s guilty or not is to me really incomprehensible. But this example shows me that the whole criminal injustice system is flawed in the United States. This was not an act of justice, and it was actually a farce. Rather it was an act of revenge for the murder of a white police officer in a Deep South state of Georgia which still has a grimly troubled record of racial injustice.

This entire process was rigged from the start. The courts did not intend to determine in a fair manner whether Mr. Davis was guilty or not. The courts intended to use the legal process to do what Southern whites have done for centuries: to take revenge on the black community for the murder of a white authority figure. In many Southern towns, anytime there was an allegation of a white woman being raped by a black man, the whites would simply pick a black man at random and kill him in revenge. Or they would kill the accused black man without a trial – hanging him in an act of vigilante injustice.

So we have the same process in this case. In 1989 this white police officer Mark McQuail was murdered while policing a black community. So the white community needed to find a black man, any black man who was in the vicinity at the time the crime occurred, and kill him. Troy Davis was basically in my view killed by the state of Georgia for the “crime” of being born as a poor black male in the Deep South. The courts didn’t care if they found the right person guilty for this crime. For them killing any black man they could find would do just as well.

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