After three hours and twenty minutes the Supreme Court unanimously refused to stay the execution of Troy Davis. The court offered no comment to the order. And like that, it was done.
Meanwhile in Texas white supremacist Lawrence Russell Brewer was killed by lethal injection after being convicted in the gruesome dragging and beheading of James Byrd Jr.
Two men executed by the government, one an admitted killer, and one surrounded by reasonable doubt. That right there is the very crux of tonight’s tragedy.
Regardless if you believe Davis or you don’t, if you feel vindicated in Brewer’s execution or repulsed, as a nation we should be horrified that our criminal justice system cannot weed out for execution those cases where reasonable people can disagree on an accused’s innocence.
That’s because whether we support the death penalty or oppose it, tonight we all have blood on our hands. The state killed two men, one of them may have been innocent, and we, as citizens and as voters, are collectively responsible because we are the state.
To those of you who fought for Troy’s life, who recruited friends, family and even strangers to fight for justice for Troy, let’s not let this tragedy derail the attention and the focus on the long-overdue need to eradicate capital punishment entirely. Let’s amplify it. The state of Georgia responded to protesters outside the death chamber with a show of force–riot gear, police dogs, and helicopters. Davis’s sister told the crowd this was to be expected from the “Old South” but that they were ready for the “New South”.
Photo from davidshankbone via flickr.