SODOM & GOMORRAH: In the rush to either save or kill Troy Davis, Troy Davis was sadly forgotten.
Troy Davis’ funeral is scheduled for Sunday, so this, as opposed to the moments leading up to his execution, are more appropriate for discussing the sad fact that Troy Davis has been forgotten. One the one hand, anti-death penalty activists used the flaw in Troy Davis’ case to hint at his innocence so that he might be spared. On the other hand, pro-death penalty supporters downplayed such doubts (for example, by suggesting that the “lack of physical evidence” was not a lack of physical evidence and just the lack of a mere search warrant) in order to justify the death penalty.
Neither side cared about Troy Davis or Officer MacPhail.
Those who oppose the death penalty cared about the points they could score with Troy Davis’ dead body (or before, the risk of his dead body) – the fact that his body was black allowed them to score further points against Justice Clarence Thomas because they were then able to accuse him of being an Uncle Tom and not caring about black people. The disgusting signs of “We are all Troy Davis” show the real farce that their support of Davis has been; Troy Davis is dead, we are not. We are not Troy Davis and he is no longer one of us. Your t-shirts, rallies, and Facebook groups will not bridge the divide between the living and the dead and you will never, ever know what it’s like for the state to kill you or a loved one until one of those two situations happen.
Those who support the death penalty must insist on Troy Davis’ guilt and must use his dead body to counter-balance Officer MacPhail. MacPhail, likewise, does not matter. Articles refer to MacPhail as a cop and Davis as a cop killer. The lines are drawn rather abstractly so that each becomes an example of a general case instead of a specific one. Cops are good, noble, and protective of society. Cop killers not only commit crimes but they take aim at those who volunteer to be good, noble, etc. The case becomes one where the cop killer should be killed because no one should get less than death for being a cop killer. Who the cop is, who Troy Davis is, and whether Davis is actually guilty don’t matter; the latter is assumed to be true and deserves attention only to the extent that it can fit Davis into the archetype of the cop killer.
This Sunday, let’s pray for Troy Davis and Officer MacPhail. Everybody seems to have forgotten about them.