Justice Delayed

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Ron Shakir holds a sign as he and other demonstrators call for Georgia state officials to halt the scheduled execution of convicted killer Troy Davis at the state capitol in Atlanta on Tuesday.

By the time you read this, cop-killer Troy Anthony Davis — whose street name in Savannah, Ga., was “Rough as Hell” — will be sporting a toe tag… or not, depending on whether President Obama decides to grossly overstep his authority and commute the death penalty to which Davis was sentenced more than 20 years ago. Davis has been dodging the needle through every legal avenue available since the day he was convicted of murdering Savannah police officer Mark MacPhail. Davis is entirely unremarkable: He’s just another thug who committed an unconscionable crime and got caught and convicted. But the objections to putting Davis down like a rabid dog have almost nothing to do with Davis.

Some of the people vocally opposing the execution of Davis stand on religious and moral ground. They simply don’t believe the death penalty is an acceptable form of justice. There are good people who oppose capital punishment and will do so vocally no matter who is strapped to the gurney. For my part, I remain convinced that some people — Davis among them — simply don’t deserve to continue consuming our oxygen.

But even a casual glance at the mob shrieking for clemency for Davis reveals that many of Davis’ supporters back him for a more pedestrian reason. According to one such supporter, Alicia Blakely: “We as African Americans have never gotten a fair shake.” Begging Blakely’s pardon, but Davis has not only gotten a fair shake, he has been given about a dozen appeals over two decades since he murdered MacPhail. I’d say Davis has received a surplus of fair shakes.

The case for clemency for Davis has been fanned by a fairly impressive campaign of disinformation and distortion. At the fore of this campaign is the modern incarnation of a once-great civil rights organization: the NAACP.  The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People professes to focus on the struggle of black people in America. Davis was convicted by a jury of his peers, the majority of whom were black. So I suppose the NAACP is not focusing on the struggle of those particular black people. The NAACP has proffered a litany of excuses for Davis, none of which hold up to real scrutiny. On its website under the headline “Clemency Denied: Last Chance For Troy,” the NAACP points to claims that seven of the nine witnesses who identified Davis as the killer have recanted their testimony. What the NAACP doesn’t mention is that all of those witnesses testified in court two years after giving their statements. Not one wavered until years after Davis’s conviction — and only after considerable pressure from Davis supporters and defense team. The NAACP website also ignores a pile of material evidence and the endless stream of failed and rejected appeals. It also ignores Officer Mark MacPhail, the victim (but he’s white, so screw him).

The NAACP was formed out of righteous indignation. But that era has been relegated to the history books – or it would be, if chapters hadn’t been replaced by “Heather has two mommies, three daddies and a disabled goldfish, all of whom are better people than you are — unless you’re black, Hispanic, Muslim or some combination of the three.” With the Jim Crow era dead and gone, the NAACP has only two choices: disband or find something else about which it can be indignant. So the NAACP has evolved from righteously indignant to professionally indignant. And an indignant black community gives parasites like NAACP President and CEO Ben Jealous a paycheck to rally indignation over the long-overdue execution of dangerous creatures like Davis. In a sense, we should be glad that Jealous has a job. Without it, he’d be a creepy fat guy in the two-sizes-too-small “I Am Troy Davis” T-shirt shrieking on the corner. (Note to Mr. Jealous: either wear the extra-large, or start doing sit-ups.)

Under normal circumstances, the kind of racism peddled by hucksters like Jealous and the modern NAACP is annoying, perhaps outrageous. But Davis murdered another human being in cold blood. While some might object to capital punishment, Davis earned his sentence. The idea that the justice system has maintained a massive conspiracy over more than two decades just to put this dog down is ludicrous: Davis isn’t that important. The debate over capital punishment may be worth continuing. The debate over Troy Davis is decidedly not.

–Ben Crystal

Personal Liberty

Ben Crystal

is a 1993 graduate of Davidson College and has burned the better part of the last two decades getting over the damage done by modern-day higher education. He now lives in Savannah, Ga., where he has hosted an award-winning radio talk show and been featured as a political analyst for television. Currently a principal at Saltymoss Productions—a media company specializing in concept television and campaign production, speechwriting and media strategy—Ben has written numerous articles on the subjects of municipal authoritarianism, the economic fallacy of sin taxes and analyses of congressional abuses of power.

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