Wednesday, September 21, 2011

I killed Troy Davis

So, tonight a man will die. We killed him. All of us. In a democracy the state is a collection of all the voters. Tonight in Georgia we will kill Troy Davis. And he is probably innocent. He is almost 43 but will not reach his 43rd birthday.

Officer Mark MacPhail was working as a security guard at Burger King for extra money. Officer MacPhail saw a man being assaulted in a nearby parking lot and intervened. Officer MacPhail was killed. MacPhail was a former Army Ranger and father of two children. Troy Davis was convicted for the crime. There were eyewitnesses to the crime and two people claimed that Davis confessed to them that he did it. Nine witnesses in total. The gun was never recovered but there were bullet casings found nearby.

Seven of the nine have recanted their testimony and signed an affidavit to that effect. They said they were pressured by the police to implicate Davis. New witnesses implicate Sylvester Coles for the crime. The courts found the new evidence unpersuasive.

Amnesty International, The NAACP, Jimmy Carter, Al Sharpton, Pope Benedict XVI, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and former FBI Director and Judge William S. Sessions called for a new trial or evidentiary hearing.

Sylvester Coles (who was later implicated in the crime)reported that Davis was seen with a .38 calibre pistol (calibre used in the shooting).

During the trial Coles testified that he had argued with the victom of the parking lot scuffle but that Davis had hit him. Coles also admitted to owning a .38 but that he had given it to another man earlier on the night of the shooting.

Troy Davis was convicted of murder and sentenced to death. Tonight will be the fourth and final date for his execution. Courts have stopped it the three prior dates. Not this time though. Tonight he dies.

I have always had a problem with the death penalty. It seems to be a statement that government sovereignty includes our lives. The government has the right to kill its own citizens. They have the right to kill you or me. I cannot accept this. It is fucking barbaric! What purpose does this serve? Punishment? He is dead, he can't feel pain anymore. Revenge? Who gets satisfaction from a needle going into his arm? It is sterile of vengeance. It does not make the populace safer, he was already incarcerated.

We do it because it is the worst we can do. That is only because we decided that it is. We have all the power. We could stone him. We could cut off body parts and poke him with a stick. We could torture him. We think those are too much. But state sponsored murder is ok. We decided that is where we drew the line. All of us. We are all killing this man. I am killing him.

There are times that I wish there were a God who could bring divine punishment on all of us. Were fucking murderers. Apathetic to the murder we sponsor.

My family is pretty liberal. As a child my mother dragged me and my sister to anti-nuclear protests and save the whales and all kinds of crap. My sister, who died when I was nine, really had only one cause she felt deeply about. My sister Katie had this button "Why do we kill people who kill people to show people that killing people is wrong?" I still have that button. I think of her more from holding that button than looking at her picture.

I am a man of ideas and abstractions. These are the things which hit me deeply. That idea is my big sister. She died at 12. She would have given her life every year for all 12 years to prevent guilty men from being killed by the state. The killing of innocent men is just murder.

Rick Perry is one of the front runners in the Republican nomination for president. This is a man who killed 235 people. He took all of us with him. This is your Republican party. These people who hate so much that they kill. I wish I could blame the 'other party' but the democrats are almost as pro murder as republicans.

Only 12 states have no Death Penalty. Since 1976, 1,267 human beings have been killed by me. A democracy is not just rights but responsibility. I am responsible. You are responsible. We have murdered people in cages. We had them in fucking cages. And we killed them.

I mourn today. Were I a man who had faith I would pray to whatever God I accepted for mercy for my crimes. I would pray that my soul could be cleaned from this horror. If I were that God though, I would refuse. Apathy to horror in your name is horror committed by you.

Troy Davis refused to choose his last meal.

At six they offered him Ativan, an anti-anxiety drug.

It is now 6:25 pm. In thirty-five minutes he will die. It just started to rain. I can hear it. So loud. It cannot was away our sin. We are guilty of this act.

Tomorrow I will go to work, eat lunch, go to the gym, and spend a little time with my girlfriend. I will go on. I will go on as if nothing happened. I would like to say that I will stand up and shout NO! But we don't. We sit back and let the world spin. We watch things happen. We get better and go on. What are we supposed to do? New York does not use it's Death Penalty. Where is the fight? How do I vent this rage. Who do I focus my rage on?

I know this post was like the ranting of a madman. For that I am sorry. I would have hoped that I could create a coherent line of thought or a particular perspective or something of use. All I could do was think of my sister. How I had failed her and failed all those who reel from this thing we do. All the murderers who go free because they do not like to bring up the fact that they killed an innocent man.

Why am I writing? I am writing to get out the demons that are in me. I am writing to free myself of the guilt and the sadness and the rage that I feel. This impotent rage. I am writing because that is what I can do.

It is 6:43. I am gonna just stop writing. There is a terrible crime being committed tonight. I thought writing would release the bad that was inside. It just turned rage to sadness. Dark, cold, empty sadness.


Addition: The Supreme Court has stayed the Execution! A temporary stay to see if there should be a stay! Troy may not die after all!


  1. Apparently the delay from the supreme court was for an hour. 60 minutes to decide whether or not to stay the exicution

  2. The event happened in 1989 - that's 22 yrs ago. Doing another trial based on people's recollection of events from 22 years ago would not provide any clearer of a picture, especially since now the burden would be on having to prove he's not guilty rather than guilty, having been previously convicted. Troy Davis had a previous conviction for a gun crime - a shooting incident, so this is not a person who was incapable of murder. We have to trust that our legal system works! Trust that a jury of his (and our) peers convicted him of murder beyond a reasonable doubt - and on multiple occurences too, considering his multiple appeals. Yes, sad. But also hopefully closure for the family of the slain policeman.

  3. Closure? Is that what we call the killing of a defenseless person? If a cop kills a person in the line of duty it is sad but if the cop really thinks "him or me" and kills someone it is reasonable. Sad but reasonable. If Officer MacPhail had shot and killed the assailant it would have been sad. But I would understand. I once heard a police officer friend of mine say that he was trained that when he fires his weapon he empties the weapon. Seemed shocking to me but in retrospect it makes sense, if a cop feels the need to shoot a person that person was a danger and needed to be stopped. Stopped cold. When someone is in a cage, locked in a box, they are no ready threat to anyone. Killing a human being for "closure" is such a mockery of life that I cannot begin to comprehend it. Mobs do this. Angry mobs. The state is supposed to be cold and clinical. Objective. The reason that the state steps in in this sort of offense is that this crime is a crime against the state. The danger has been muted and removed once this person is in a cage. Killing them then is just vindictive. Not cold or clinical. For closure why not give the family of Officer MacPhail the power to beat Mr. Davis to death? It is cruel. So murder is not cruel? Murder for emotional "closure" is disgusting and shocking.

  4. And, to quote 'Anonymous,' "The event happened in 1989 - that's 22 yrs ago. Doing another trial based on people's recollection of events from 22 years ago would not provide any clearer of a picture..."

    So the picture, by admission, is unclear? The problem with execution (or, one of the problems) is the permanency of death. The standard of 'beyond a reasonable doubt' is what we apply to verdicts with the understanding that if new evidence comes to light, there will be a reconsideration of some sort. That is not possible once the convicted is dead.

    Will further evidence come to light in this case? Probably not. Probably is not good enough in the face of an irreversible action.

  5. How is the state serving justice 22 years after a POLICE OFFICER was killed NOT clinical?? darwinseye, you misunderstand the intent of the death penalty. It's not simply removing the convicted murderer from society and "locking him in a cage," as you say. The intent of administering the death penalty was to serve justice. He was convicted of killing Officer MacPhail by a jury, whose verdict was subject to multiple appeals and reexamining of the evidence over a period of 22 years, and still his verdict never changed. They still said he was guilty. Of course, he said he was innocent - but wouldn't we all say the same thing, if our lives were on the line? Especially after 22 years, any remorse he may have had, if any, was probably long gone, and thus, he maintained his innocense.

    You and I were not in those multiple court rooms hearing evidence over the past 22 years, but those that were have determined that he was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt and deserved the justice of death. We have to trust that our legal system, including a jury made up of people just like you and me, works. It is overwhelmingly sad that all this happened at all, both Officer MacPhail's and Troy Davis's death, but in the end, justice was served yesterday.

  6. I would argue that the state does not have the authority to kill its own citizens. I do not care how you shape it sovereignty does not extend that far.