- Politics and Social Issues»
- Social Issues
It Should NOT Be This Hard to Live, Unscarred
What's Right is More Important Than What's Legal or "the Process" or "the Way it is".
This is a stream-of-consciousness purging, of sorts, because I have to get this down and out. I'm reeling and near overwhelmed and steaming angry. When I conceived of this hub, it was just an abstract idea to rant about my own problems and how unfair and shitty and unjust so many elements have been.
But as I type here and now, I've got a 2010 movie playing behind me on HBO. It's called Conviction, and it's about how so damned MISERABLE, unfair, and so thoroughly sapping of life's meaning-impossible it is to steer your own ship along waters that guarantee perfect karma and that when something goes wrong, everybody - *and* *I* *DO* *mean* ***EVERYBODY***! - has access and means, position and power, strength and resources to fix it FORTHWITH!
Because, of course, NONE of us is *guaranteed* fairness. But, and this is why I think this movie has me revved to smash through my writer's block, damn the censors and proper etiquette, "netiquette", or your classic "Strunk & White" guidelines for proper and effective exposition.
I have something to say - and I'm going to God-damned say it. I'm gonna say it once. I'm gonna say it twice. I am GOING to say it until I'm hoarse and dizzy and delirious and I don't give a flying duck who may get their undies in a knot - and I'm testing it in this opening to either offend and/or get rid of anyone who cares more about profanity than they do about message.
About what's right.
About what's right.
ABOUT WHAT IS RIGHT!!!
The fictional case on HBO involves a wrongful conviction for murder and the hell it causes and the carnage and destruction to the lives it indelibly leaves - even after "justice" is restored. Justice is in quotes - because not only was it delayed - it was delayed for all - all - ALLLLLLL the wrong fucking reasons. And I'm not gonna rail against Martha Coakley, either - as she is portrayed as this "tough-broad prosecutor" who can't admit her mistakes and is more concerned about showing herself to be a powerful and aggressive woman who can get the job done.
I'm not going to do that because this is a movie. This is a depiction. Yes, Ms. Coakley was a prosecutor. That's the only thing I know about her that I hold against her. I don't like the job prosecutors do. It should be to find the truth. But it is not. It is to "protect the public" by putting away the bad guys, period - even if a few good guys end up as "collateral damage".
Most of America is familiar with another person, hell - an American military veteran! - Timothy McVeigh, whose moral compass seemed to have gone awry (or, whose grip on reality suffered this malfunction), and whose actions were defined as one of the worst acts of domestic terrorism in American history. He regarded the government as "the bad guys". He tried to get rid of 'em, just as prosectors do.
And he regarded the innocents who lost their lives in the metaphorical crossfire as "collateral" damage. Hmmmm.....just like the now proven instances of innocent people who have been murdered by the state.
"Well...ahhhrrum....yeah...but....cough...we-uhh...we still need the death penalty, no question...law and order you know! Yeahsss....Gotta be tough on crime to get re-elected!"....Oh, shit. You can edit that last part out, right? Admit it out loud or not - the death penalty has resulted in TRAGIC, unjust "collateral damage".
That's wrong. Period.
Thank God Massachusetts doesn't have the death penalty. That's one of the reasons I live here. Well, it's the result of the (mostly dominant) political and moral culture of this region.
There are places in America, believe it not, where keeping people in their place, even for reasons that by now - in 2011 - should be shit-canned among the fossils of other systems, life-forms, ideas and attitudes that didn't and damned well shouldn't have made it past the Darwinian gatekeeper. There are places in the Great United States of America where - and this: no word of a lie - the fact that the guy is actually innocent doesn't really matter.
You heard me.
There is a man named Troy Davis, who is scheduled to die (ugh!!! What an absurd and offensive phrase in and of itself!!) on Wednesday, September 21st for a murder he might very well not have committed.
There is nothing new in that aspect of his story, or that the entire history of the "death penalty debate" hasn't bantered and fought over as long as state-sanctioned-murder has been a part of our so-called justice system.
But some of the statements, opinions, and facts that have come to light as this particular case - and this man, Mr. Troy Davis - accelerates in popular awareness, and saturates many media - professional and social, traditional and 21st century, should shock you, shake you, and all of us, and why it hasn't resulted in some sort of uprising or public rioting (not condoning, but it is befitting a common "group hysteria" among those writhing and desperate for justice), I have no idea.
And I'll add this. Given the position of the parties who have so denied Mr. Davis true and fair justice, and the egregious finality and arrogant dismissal of that significance, I am disgusted, and tingling-angry enough to state the following: the treatment Mr. Davis has endured these last 20 years, up to and including his execution (and even excluding it!) - are worse than the crime for which he has been wrongfully murdered.
Go 'head. Huff and puff. Rage at your screen. Litter my uttered name with your epithets and condemnations. Just do me a favor while you're pissing out your "hey, man, they protect and serve us all, man! Toughest job in the world, man! Lives on the line every day, man!" - hold still so that I can aim my piss stream right at your hypocritical face.
I can't speak for all police officers (and, I remind you, Mr. MacPhail was off duty, so no notice or indication of his "status" as a cop was given or known), but there are plenty out there - a handful I've dealt with personally, who are as "dedicated to the public good" as some of the sleaziest politicians. Again - not all. I don't hate all cops. I don't hate all politicians. I adore Obama. I'm pretty fond of internal afffairs personnel as well. And, yes, I do know a "street cop" or two whose integrity I don't question (because their lives emit it every day), and to whom I would go if I needed help - or if they needed it. It's not the position. It's the person. And I think it's a travesty (and quite the waste of tax dollars, and human and material resources, for these so-called "police academies" to train even a fraction of previously decent and maybe even idealistic people into becoming such thin-blue-line-towing, gutless, arrogant pukes.
Those who DO make it into the uniform, and yet have the personal morals to stand up for what is right, even if it means going nose-to-nose with their brethren in blue - or even their C.O.s - THEY are the heroes among the many who DON'T wear a badge - and it is this righteous integrity and courage which would compel me to run into a burning building to pull said person out - whether he was decked out all in blue or not.
Too many in society want to place "authority figures" on a pedestal. They do not deserve it. It is actions and integrity that determine one's worthiness of respect. It aint the gavel, the gun, or the glamour that should inspire our respect and admiration and trust. It's one's personal character, honesty, focus on helping OTHERS, an a decent attentiveness and diligence, at LEAST while on the clock, that makes one's authority legitimate or not. Cop or not - killing a "killer" and especially if he is not - in the name of saying killing is wrong - is a hypocrisy that makes my blood boil. And to elevate one human being to a certain class such that killing HIM or HER justifies yet another killing by the state - makes me want to puke all over the constitution and ram it so soaked down the throats of the bigots and hypocrites who covet the glory but lack the grace.
I don't fucking care. What I just said is true and if you cannot handle it - well...umm....*t-o-u-g-h S-H-I-T*. No. Eat shit! It's still the truth. And a public defamation falls WAY short of the final justice Mr. Davis' murderers THEMSELVES deserve! And by that I mean some hellacious pain and humiliation that only CONCLUDES by snuffing them out.
The fact that 7 of 9 of the witnesses who testified against Mr. Davis - which were the most powerful evidence that resulted in his conviction on August 28th, 1991 - have recanted, apparently means nothing. Oh, and the jury took 2 hours to convict - guess they were in a pretty damned hurry to get home by day's end. 2 hours. That's a moderate-length movie. That's a Facebook session - half of one for many. Two days later, on August 30th - a clear and temperate day - around 66 deg. F - pretty nice for Georgia - it took the jury 7 hours - less than a typical workday on this most horrible of Fridays in the history of American justice - to sentence Mr. Troy Davis to death.
News coverage, which, at least on the big cable news channels, is saturated with this case, aired a brief section of an interview with one of those jurors who said that, had she known then what she knows now, "Mr. Davis would not be on death row".
If she knew then what she knows now - Troy Davis would not be facing murder by the state. He wouldn't have spent the last 20 years waiting to die.
The real killer might have been caught.
Here are some things she did not know:
-the only forensic evidence presented at trial were some bullets and casings that were determined to have come from a .38 caliber pistol, and that, according to witnesses "that a man in a white shirt had struck (Larry) Young and then shot (off-duty police officer, Michael) MacPhail"
-in their efforts to search and seize the home of Troy Davis' mother, without a warrant, they threatened to break the door down if she did not let them in
-that one witness, a Mr. Darrell Collins - a *friend* with whom Davis attended a pool party on the evening in question, recanted his statement that he had seen Davis "shoot at people in a car", because during his August '89 police statement, he was threatened by police.
-that police pressure had put the Davis family in mortal danger by local drug dealers whose business was being interrupted by all this hubbub
-that one of the crimes (pistol whipping a homeless man, a Mr. Larry Young) was actually perpetrated by Mr. Sylvester "Redd" Coles, who was arguing with Mr Young - over a *beer*
- this same model citizen Coles, in his testimony, cowardly pointed the finger at Davis for the pistol-whipping.
There's so much more. In later stages of this whole debacle, one judge William T. Moore Jr. spat all over a pillar of American jurisprudence, that of "innocent until proven guilty" when he ordered that "Davis needed not only to cast doubt on the evidence against him, but to provide “clear and compelling” proof of his innocence".
One jurist, somewhere at the appellate level or higher, made the statement (granted, more likely an observation of judicial philosophy and practical legal theory, but STILL!) that Davis' guilt or innocence may be largely irrelevant.
One of the "experts", who testified during the sentencing phase that Mr. Davis was likely to reoffend and posed a "significant risk" to society - BECAUSE HE IS BLACK!
I am utterly spitting, white-hot disgusted that this is the type of "justice" that exists in America today. There are myriad examples, large and small, where what is right and just take a back seat to "the process", and what is politically or judicially expedient.
Fuck the process. And fuck those who make the process' wheels turn.
The "process" wants to kill an innocent man. I will NOT "respect" the system, or any of its stewards (read: "authority figures") that allows ANY type of power to usurp justice and treat any human being like his and everyone's individual rights aren't the most important thing in any society.
Anyone who reflects such arrogance, such frighteningly warped judgment, such evil, such hate, such...cold-hearted selfishness, whether he weilds a gavel, a gun, the Governor's mansion or a juror's sanctity - should trade places with Mr. Troy Davis RIGHT NOW!
I bet the clarity that comes with the possibility of YOUR imminent death just might shake you to your very core and force you, kicking and screaming, to understand that truth and justice matter more than "the system", "the process", "respecting authority", or "the greater good".
By the way - the greater good consists of each and every one of its component parts - we the citizens. Every dollar is comprised of a hundred pennies. And every society is comprised of individual citizens. Citizens like Troy Davis.
He is a part of "the greater good". What's good for him is good for all of us. What can happen to one citizen can happen to almost ANY citizen.
I am Troy Davis. You are Troy Davis. We ALL are Troy Davis and we should not rest until our fellow citizen is rescued from the tyranny of expediancy, bigotry, and a system that revs on WAY beyond the capacity of one person, even WITHIN it (other than the Governor) to change a damned thing.
We all need to rise up and say WE DEMAND JUSTICE. You will not kill another American in my name. You will not call it justice when a man is deamed "dangerous" because he is black. You will *not* pretend to be just when you abuse the legal system for revenge against ANY innocent out of vengeance or well deserved professional humiliation, or because YOU want to claim God's, nature's, or one's authority over his being, by so arrogantly calling for what YOU alone call final justice! You will NOT call it "legal" or "justice" when you strap a man down, forcibly inject lethal chemicals into his arm, and blatantly poison him to death in any disgustingly formal ritual sacrifice!!! - ah, but on some occasions not before the writhing, foaming and convulsing that can accompany a "just" murder.
Justice is FULL. Justice is FAIR. Justice is THE FINAL WORD.
Or else justice is bullshit