Without an intervention of some sort, Troy Davis will be executed by the State of Georgia tomorrow – September 21 on the International Day of Peace at 7:00 p.m.
I do not believe in the death penalty. I do not think it makes us safer. It does not bring anyone back. It rips the fabric of society – causing more wounds rather than working healing and restoration. It is rooted in vengeance – a lethal concoction of drugs injected into one’s veins in exchange for murder or rape or other capital crime. Such crimes are heinous. Monstrous. Evil. Unspeakably so. But there has to be another way, other ways, to respond than execution. As my friend Shannon points out, are the countries that use the death penalty really the company I want my country to keep?
All that aside, there is also the question of doubt in the case of Troy Davis. He was convicted, but since then: seven of the nine original witnesses have recanted or changed their testimony; many of these witnesses have stated in sworn affidavits that they were pressured or coerced by police into testifying or signing statements. Courts have ruled that Troy Davis’ innocence cannot be proved. But when does doubt reach the level of being “reasonable?” Does that level change after a person is convicted? Should the fact that the punishment is death affect what constitutes “reasonable doubt?” Does proving innocence trump reasonable doubt after conviction?
The NAACP provides a petition to ask Chatham County District Attorney Larry Chisolm, who requested the death warrant against Troy Davis, to petition the judge to withdraw the death warrant against Troy Davis.
Amnesty International also provides an opportunity to contact the Georgia State Board of Pardon and Paroles.
I have taken both of those actions. In addition, I plan to fast tomorrow evening. And I will pray.
I will pray for Troy Davis and his family and friends.
I will pray for the family and friends of Savannah Police Officer Mark Allen MacPhail. Officer MacPhail’s brutal murder was the crime of which Troy Davis was convicted.
I will pray for those who are in a position to stop this execution.
I will pray for those who are in the position of having to carry out this execution should it come to that.
I will pray for all people who have had a loved one murdered.
I will pray for all people who have had a loved one executed.
I will pray.
May God have mercy on us all.
See you along the Trail.