Thursday, September 22, 2011

Why Cutting Up is NECESSARY

I have so much things to say right now. And when I have "so much things to say", I intentionally try to keep it brief and manageable, or else, we'll both be here all day. By now, I'm sure you've heard all about the Troy Davis tragedy. Yesterday, justice was not served, in fact, the United States' criminal justice system continued it's campaign of victimizing and terrorizing citizens. This is literally like a terrible nightmare and this morning when I opened my eyes, I was sad that I hadn't successfully awakened from it. I sincerely feel trapped within the borders of this country. I feel abused by it. I just want to run away. I honestly feel like I can't live here anymore.

Where am I gonna go? I have absolutely no clue. Because the truth is that though The United States of America is brutal, ugly, murderous, wicked, and unjust, it is not the only country that gets down like that. The United States' behavior is just a reflection of the people that live in it and run it. And since people are people everywhere you go, I'm afraid I will not be able to outrun human nature.

I am often perplexed by our attitude toward and treatment of others. Why do we hate and kill each other? From the time I was a young child and able to have real, cohesive, logical thoughts, I've racked my brain trying to understand humankind's predisposition to malice, and I have not yet been able to figure it out. We mostly act like wild animals.

My feelings on the Death Penalty have vacillated over the years between support of the concept (ridding society of "evil", reserving resources for those among us who don't commit heinous crimes, "making things right", "bringing peace to the victim's family") and believing that there's no place in our judicial system for such an archaic practice. Throughout my adult life, as I've matured and learned more about the history of my people and the history of this country, I've steadily moved away from supporting even the concept of "an eye for an eye"; not because I'm some super peaceful, new age, yoga mat toting, liberal, artist, but because, in a country where institutionalized racism is, as I type this, digging it's roots deeper into all facets of our social structure, and corruption is common place, there is no possible way that a person of color or of a lower socio-economic class can truly, fairly be tried for any crime and sentenced properly. If a fair trial by a jury of your peers cannot be had, then the option of capital punishment should not exist. It is dangerous. Innocent people will inevitably die.

I do not know if Troy Davis committed the crime that he was executed for. I wasn't there. He says he didn't. There was no real evidence to say that he did and no reliable witnesses. In the years since the trial, most of the witnesses recanted their statements. More than one witness said that they were bullied by the police into incriminating Troy Davis in the murder of Officer McPhail. More than one juror on the trial basically said that knowing what they know now, they would have never found Troy Davis guilty. There was entirely too much doubt to execute this man. And yet, that's exactly what happened.

Now, I'm always slow to shout, "RACISM" whenever something dumb happens. However, sadly, in this case, I must. Because, how is it that after all of this non-evidence was presented and these shady witnesses were cross examined, and the jury, eager to return to their regularly scheduled lives found Troy Davis guilty, did the presiding judge actually get it into his legally professional, logical mind to sentence him to death? If no one in the courtroom has an ounce of sense, at the very least, wouldn't a judge? This leads me to believe that there were other factors that influenced the judge's decision. I suspect that other factor may have been Troy Davis' color.

Then I read about a case just three years ago in which a white man was sentenced to death in Georgia after shooting an individual three times, beating them with a crow bar and a can of paint. He admitted that he did it, probably did the Harlem Shake while confessing, and then managed to have his execution halted 3 hours before it was to be carried out. This man, David Crowe, was spared and had his sentence commuted to life in prison. Oh. Okay. See.

But Georgia couldn't do that for Troy Davis.

And I'm not really in support of setting fires and turning cars over, but...

It is definitely time to start some fires and turn some cars over. Because, I for one am tired of the United States killing my folks. And if the judicial system and it's police officers will mercilessly murder Troy, and Amadou, and Suzy Pena, and wrongfully imprison Assata, then they will do it to my children, me, and you. And they won't stop there.

The conversation since last night has been about exactly what to do. I don't have that answer. I'm still trying to figure it out. Petitions are nice and are helpful in effecting some kind of change, but I'm really not interested in being polite about this anymore. I am dedicated to figuring it out. I encourage you to do the same. Maybe I will see you and celebrate alongside you in a place where our paths converge.


  1. #word . It's definitely time for change. It baffles me that though the State (via the appellate court) was prepared to ignore proper judicial procedure that the Governor, nor the President, were able to trump that in the name of justice. Something has to give.

  2. I wish I had words for this situation... it still sticks in my craw and now I can't go back to not knowing. I just wonder sometimes "Now What?" and "What can *I* do?"