Posted by meghanpurvis under News
| Tags: troy davis
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I always hesitate before posting anything super serious on this blog—if you came for the book reviews or the cursing, you’re not always in the mood for heavy stuff, and switching between “HA HA JOKES ABOUT WINE” and political ranting is a quick path to total cognitive dissonance. But I suppose I’m more interested in writing about what’s important to me, and I’m hopeful that the fact that this blog is a collection of anecdotes from my life means you’re okay with the occasional (regular?) movement between highs and lows. And besides, I would rather you think I’m a little emotionally uneven than I’m the type of person who doesn’t care about politics. (Because if you know me in real life, and perhaps have had to shush me or catch your overturning pint glass as I rant about health care or the primaries or feminism, then you’ll know that’s definitely not the case.)
At any rate, today I don’t have much to say that doesn’t revolve around Troy Davis. I’ll be upfront: I oppose the death penalty. I think a judicial system that says our government will potentially kill you sets up a relationship between citizens and their government, and a moral system, that is wrong.
But even if you do support capital punishment, I honestly cannot see how you could support it in this instance. The fact that Davis was convicted purely on eyewitness testimony is, given what we now know about the reliability (or lack thereof) of eyewitnesses, horrifying in and of itself; but once you factor in the myriad ways in which the overt facts around that testimony have been called into question—the fact that 7 out of 9 witnesses have since recanted, the fact that the police brought the witnesses together to reenact the crime and come to a consensus decision about what happened, the fact that several witnesses now believe a fellow witness was actually the murderer—it becomes a case that makes you question how we can allow the verdict to stand and remain proud of our country.
Bombastic? Probably. But hey, bombastic is what I do. I am proud to be an American, even though I recognise that’s more down to luck than anything else. I consider myself a patriot. I think the Constitution is one of the most important and one of the most right documents out there. And while I can also recognise that America is far from perfect, to see something like this happening—where someone can say “he has had ample time to prove his innocence” and we don’t all stand up like our hair’s on fire saying What godforsaken country are you from that you think that’s how justice works??!!—it makes me incredibly sad. It makes me despair.
That is not America. That is not what Americans do.