Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Troy Davis: Are you a bandwagon activist?

Tonight Troy Anthony Davis was declared dead at 11:08 p.m. As expected, many are outraged citing a faulty judicial system as the reason for such injustice. I am one of these people, but I am also a bit perturbed about how and why some elected to protest Davis' execution. Over the past week I have witnessed a significant amount of rallying by thousands of people who believed there was "too much doubt" in Davis' case for him to be executed.

Of those thousands of people, I wonder how many actually researched the case. I wonder how many knew the details of what he was arrested for before sending tweets and signing petitions. I'd estimate that nearly half of the people posting about Davis' pending execution had the slightest clue about all of the components involved. This brings me to the mention of bandwagon activists, individuals that unite for a cause only because they see others doing it; society is filled with plenty of these people.
While his claims of innocence drew worldwide support this week, Davis' case has been ongoing for 22 years. His execution had been stopped three times since 2007. Did we really expect justice to be rendered on a case of this magnitude after 48 hours of Facebook statuses, retweets and blog posts? Are we that naive? Yes, social networking is powerful but this is the Supreme Court we're talking about here, not Beyonce's baby bump.

I wonder how many of us thought about Mark MacPhail. If you aren't aware of who I'm referring to, please include yourself in the above mentioned 50%. Whether you choose to believe it or not, justice has been served for MacPhail and his family tonight for they believed that Davis was guilty. Imagine if it was your relative that was killed, would you be against the accused murderer's execution then?

I truly believe it's important to be informed and consider all sides of a story before taking a stance. If you were one of the people rallying, what were you doing it for? Were you protesting the death penalty or injustice on a Black man? Don't just campaign for a cause that you know nothing about, do some research so that you'll know exactly what you're fighting for. Don't call a man innocent when you really don't know because you were not there.

Please don't get me wrong, I too am saddened by what happened to Troy Davis just hours ago. Do I believe he was innocent? Yes, but I'm not a judge in a court of law. Neither are most of the people that posted tweets and signed petitions. Deep down I wish that the rallying and protests would have produced a much different outcome. There is no question about it, our judicial system is flawed. I wonder how many of us will spend future hours trying to change it.

I honestly can't believe that I'm witnessing this type of history in 2011. It's all very reminiscent of the Jim Crow laws when things were outrageously slanted against the interests of African Americans. How can a case with seven of nine witnesses recanting or disputing all or parts of their testimony repeatedly be denied a new trial? How can a man be indicted and executed with no existing physical evidence? I have tons of questions, but do they really matter at this point? After all, Troy Davis is dead and "justice was served" according to several state and federal judges.

Please feel free to answer any of the questions I posed above, comment below or post links to articles or posts that you think will be interesting for me to see about the topic.

Thanks for reading,

Alexandria B.