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The Lynching of Troy Davis

September 22nd, 2011 Comments off

I thought, “They can’t execute Troy Davis because of the international image it creates,” but reality told me that Troy Davis would die at the hands of the State of Georgia and he did.  In murdering Troy Davis, the State of Georgia kept its hold on the number one spot in history for lynching.

At a recent GOP debate applause greeted the revelation that more than 200 men died by execution on Texas Governor Rick Perry’s watch. No one mentioned the 44 men on death row exonerated by DNA evidence. Troy Davis’s death is a tragedy and a direct indictment of the death penalty, especially its selective application. Troy Davis’ lynching requires mentioning the South accounts for nearly 85% of all executions in the United States.

Since 1976 more than 1,200 men and women died by capital punishment in the United States; more than 1,000 of them died in the South. As the number of prisoners exonerated each year continues to grow it is clear the process has fatal flaws. Exoneration after the execution does little good although it happened with Timothy Cole, exonerated ten years after his death in a Texas prison.

Lynching Troy Davis in Georgia overflows with irony as the South is the most religious portion of the country. The South leads the nation in murders with a homicide rate with 6 per 100, 000 the compared with the northeast, the least religious portion of the country with the lowest rate at 3.8. A survey by the New York Times found that states without the death penalty have lower homicide rates than states with the death penalty. The Times reports that ten of the twelve states without the death penalty have homicide rates below the national average, whereas half of the states with the death penalty have homicide rates above.

During the last 20 years, the homicide rate in states with the death penalty has been 48%-101% higher than in states without the death penalty. “I think Michigan made a wise decision 150 years ago,” said the state’s governor, John Engler, a Republican, referring to the state’s abolition of the death penalty in 1846. “We’re pretty proud of the fact that we don’t have the death penalty.” Experts reject the idea the death penalty affects murder rates.

Troy Davis’ lynching now makes him a symbol of American barbarism that overshadows those human rights concerns the country has with stoning deaths. A death is a death; cleaning it up with words like more humane or civilized make no difference to those dying. If anyone thought executing Troy Davis would put the matter to rest, they are wrong.

Martyrdom comes from unjust persecution and every September 21, Troy Davis’ name will be on the lips of millions against the death penalty. The story will constantly hit the news as proof of the flaws in the laws governing capital punishment in the United States. Conservatives and Right Wing religionists widely support taking another human life, but forgot that “The whole world is watching” and the reaction to this affront will not be kind. The resurrection of Troy Davis began with his lynching.

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