Thursday, April 28, 2011

Take a Moment to Help Save a Life

I have no control over the ads that show up on this site; often they have little or nothing to do with what I write about. How many posts have I done on bird cages, after all?

But when I re-posted my old rant about the death penalty earlier this month, the advertising bots decided to post Amnesty's ads on the case of Troy Davis. Since then, there has been a steady stream of messages across the Net about this impending miscarriage of justice in the state of Georgia: potentially, yet another execution of an innocent man.

The state has no murder weapon; indeed no physical evidence linking Davis to the crime. Seven witnesses have recanted their testimony against him, and new witnesses have identified another suspect. He needs a new trial, but was denied justice one month ago by the US Supreme Court. Now, time is running out for Troy Davis.

Now, if you oppose capital punishment, you oppose it for the guilty as well as the innocent. Once we establish that the government can take the life of its citizens for "heinous" crimes, we give police and prosecutors incentive to frame and railroad people in order to find someone to blame. And as we have seen, police and prosecutors are loath to admit they've made mistakes - which has, too often, led to the execution of the innocent.

But quite frankly, even if you support the death penalty, you should sit up and take notice when a case like this one pops up. Your belief in the appropriateness of such penalties doesn't include support for its application to the wrongly convicted. You, too, should fight to stop such executions, lest support should crumble for what you consider a legitimate measure.

So everyone who reads this should take a moment to try to save a life. There is far too much reasonable doubt about the culpability of Mr. Davis. And once his life has been ended, there is no way to set it right again. Moreover, letting Georgia make this mistake not only compounds the initial crime, but lets the real culprit off the hook forever.

Here's an appeal from a friend of Troy Davis, explaining various steps you can take to speak out. If you are lawyer or a member of the clergy, there are separate petitions you can sign on to. For the rest of us, that Amnesty link above will help you take action, as will this campaign from Color of Change.

It costs you nothing to take this step. It costs him everything if we don't.

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