R.I.P. Troy Davis

September 22, 2011


Troy Davis. I’m a hypocrite for even posting your picture here, now that it’s all been said and done, now that it’s too late. I did nothing for you. One million people signed a petition to save your life; I was not among them. Not due to lack of knowledge  about it – the petition arrived in my inbox, just as so many do. Not due to lack of sympathy – I’d heard your story before and my heart went out to you, just as it goes out to all the prisoners who were unjustly executed before you and all those to come. I believed in your innocence; I still do…but then, even if you were guilty, even if you were Lawrence Russell Brewer or Timothy McVeigh or Saddam Hussein, I would not call for your death. 

I heard the news of your imminent execution weeks ago, and I did not respond. I figured that I didn’t need to. So many other people were calling for your life; the Pope and former US president Jimmy Carter had spoken up. What difference would my name on a petition make? None whatsoever. You had come near to death three times before; every time, a last-minute pardon spared you. Surely the same would happen this time…Wouldn’t it?

Troy Davis. I did nothing to save you. Please, if you can hear me, forgive me. “I will not stop fighting until I’ve taken my last breath,” you said, just hours before you died. Now, that chance has been taken…but the fight is only just beginning. It’s too late to save you, just as it’s too late to save so many others who have been victimized by our culture of death. But all around the world, small but strong groups of people are coming together to tell the world that this culture is wrong.

Rest in peace, Troy Davis. Your fight is far from over; it’s up to the rest of us to reject that vengeance which masks itself as justice, to understand that true justice can only be found through mercy, that for as long as capital punishment exists, our culture will be one of death.