Thursday, September 22, 2011

Murder by State

When I turned out the lights at 2am last night, the last thought I had was that I might wake up this morning and this world that we occupy might just be a little bit of a better place. Like I do most nights, I take a look at the news and catch up on the events of the day. As the news anchor weighed in on the economic doom that's coming, a news bar at the bottom of the screen said that Troy Davis, an African American on Death Row in the State of Georgia was temporarily reprieved as the US Supreme Court debated whether to grant him a longer stay of execution. If that failed the President could have intervened.

I woke this morning to the news that as I slept, Troy Davis had been executed after the Supreme Court ruled he should be put to death. Obama didn't intervene. The world wasn't a better place. A sense of real sadness came over me and it has remained all day. Humanity, it seems, is sick and you won't see any pharma company coming up with a pill to cure it any day soon.
I don't know if this man is innocent or guilty. Perhaps only he knows. In his final words he once against protested his innocence. But I do know that what he has had to endure over the past 20 years shows a level of inhumanity that is truly sickening.
Guilty or innocent the facts of the case present a reasonable doubt in my opinion. Davis was convicted of shooting dead an off-duty police officer. No gun was ever found. No DNA to put the matter beyond a doubt. Zero physical evidence. Ten witnesses signed affidavits saying police coerced them into implicating Davis. Eight more signed affidavits implicating another man. This held no weight with anyone of influence.
For 20 years Davis languished on Death Row. Some would say punishment in itself. Here in Ireland if you commit the ultimate crime, you're usually out in 10-15 years. This was the fourth time a date for the sentence to be carried out had been issued. The physiological impact of that perhaps is justice enough. To know and protest throughout your innocence can only make it worse.

The facts and figures don't lie. As a deterrent the Death Penalty has been proved time and time again to be a failed practice. It does not deter. The Troy Davis case is but one of many where serious grounds for innocence has been known, but yet the executions were still carried out.
Here's one case you can read more about. Sunny Jacobs was a death row inmate for 17 years on Death Row in Florida before her conviction was overturned. Her partner was not so lucky. He was executed. She currently lives in the West of Ireland.

Since 1990 the State of Texas has executed 442 people. Hardly surprising that, when you consider George W. Bush was a previous governor. A war-mongering half-wit who is responsible for, at a conservative estimate, the deaths of well over 100,000 innocent men, women and children in illegal wars.
Presidential wannabe and current Texas governor Rick Perry is another blood thirsty hound. In a recent debate Republican supporters clapped and cheered when Perry was asked how did he sleep at night after ordering the deaths of 234 people. Of course the animal said he slept very well. Perry it seems also has the blood of the innocence on his hands.
And what of Obama - the great hope of just three years ago. I saw the pictures of him witnessing the death of Osama Bin-Laden. Fair enough, he may have had proper cause on that one. But last night he shamed the colour of his own skin by standing by for political gain and allowed it to happen. He allows wars to rage and his presidency has been nothing but lies and empty promises. He may very well lose his office come next November and to what. Another blood thirsty Republican?
It's at times like this you hope for the existence of some form of justice on the other side for all this. But then you realize that no all-powerful or all-loving entity would stand by and allow the travesties of humankind to take place if such powers existed. These morons know this. Otherwise they would simply not act in such a way. But for all we don't know, there is a wrong and a right. Wrong seems to have been the order of the day throughout human civilization. And we seem further away today from ever reversing the blood splattered pages of our history to set about correcting it. And maybe with that sadness I mentioned above comes also the feeling of powerlessness. I accepted the philosophical guidance of Absurdity a few years ago. But even the freedom that comes with that, the search for a personal meaning to all is at times pretty hard to find.

I've mentioned a filmmaker by the name of Terry McMahon before. His film, Charlie Casanova is currently ripping through film festivals the world over. I don't know nor have I ever met the man.
Today he posted a piece of writing any of us practitioners would have been proud to write. In a country so devoid of any inspiration, it's nice to come across people who don't hold back - who say it as it is - whatever the personal cost to them as we stumble through this absurdity of life.
I hope he won't mind me re-posting what he had to say.
It deserves to be read -

''I am not Troy Davis. I remained silent during this. Why are you surprised he was... executed? Because the colour of the skin of the U.S. President is the same as Troy Davis's? Power turns all skin grey. I am not Troy Davis, I am an Irish working class white male where we have Burger King and security guards and cops but we don't have guns or execution chambers. We don't need them. Our state uses different weaponry but the result is the same. I am not Troy Davis, I am Terence Wheelock and I lived in Summerhill, Dublin, until I robbed a car and was found dead in a police celI. Nobody campaigns for me. I am not Troy Davis, I am a nameless-faceless protester on the Shell to Sea campaign who daily has my face smashed in by police and IRMS private security. Nobody shouts about me. I am not Troy Davis, I am one of the 110% increase in suicides who save the state the cost of lethal injection by taking my own life. Nobody turns up at my funeral. I am not Troy Davis, I am Teresa Treacy, in prison because I tried to get the state to compromise on entering my private land and destroying its beauty. Nobody is chanting outside my jail cell. I am not Troy Davis, I am one of the countless parents of special needs children who have been condemned to the shadows. Nobody has called to offer assistance. I am not Troy Davis, I am another homeless body. Nobody has offered me a room. I am not Troy Davis, I am ashamed at who we have all allowed ourselves to become. Nobody does anything. I am not Troy Davis, I am alive and capable of fighting back, before I am Troy Davis.'' - Terry McMahon

I'll never figure out life. I accept that. But I do still cling to some hope that karma plays some part in providing justice. I don't believe life with all its genetic complexities could come about by accident. I don't believe in any entity that has the power to stop injustices could let a child starve in some dust bowl or allow half wits like George W. Bush rise to power to massacre the innocent as they sleep in bed in a cowardly fashion by firing a missile from the middle of a sea. There is no justification for that. Not in any civilized world. Perhaps that is the problem. We've yet to civilise. And at the current rate of going, we're hardly likely to ever be.

Troy Anthony Davis 1968-2011
Murdered by The State of Georgia - September 21, 2011


  1. ‎'They' are usually wrong - 'we' are usually right. Who votes these people in? (Who ever and where ever 'they' are) NOT ME!!! I couldn't bear the responsibility of that one.... I am a white Englishwoman (not that I think that matters) I am a lawful rebel and a humanitarian and my name is not Troy Davis.... Very well written Terry McMahon. I salute you and grieve for the repressed, depressed, those too poor to eat, and those, including my son, who had pneumonia because he and his family could not afford to buy oil in Ireland! How can that happen in the 21st century?? I mourn those who have died (whoever they are) because they have been unjustly convicted by those who are (according to the Human Rights Act) supposed to be our equals. Stand up and be counted, folks - who wants to be equal to THEM??

    RIP Troy Davis and ALL victims of murder...Murder should never be called 'justice' or 'war' in my opinion!

    PS This comment keeps disappearing from the news feed on FB.....WHY??

  2. Posted a comment, don't know what my URL is so posted it under anonymous...Jackie Rice