UK Telegraph: The shallow anti-Americanism of the ‘I am Troy Davis’ crowd


I wrote about the Troy Davis and Lawrence Russell Brewer executions last week.  I touched on the trial by “public opinion” that was attempted in the Troy Davis case and the hypocrisy of the anti-death penalty crowd who only had room for “I am Troy Davis” T-shirts but no words about the death of Lawrence Russell Brewer.

Today, an article in the UK Telegraph sums up nicely the shallow and politicized efforts of those who tried to “save” Troy Davis based on no new evidence and picking and choosing the facts of the 20-year-old case.

There are few subjects that provoke as much smug condescension and shallow anti-Americanism as the death penalty in the United States. And the “debate” over the execution in Georgia last Wednesday of Troy Davis, 42, convicted of the 1989 murder of Mark MacPhail, an off-duty police officer, marked a new low.

The sheer emotionalism and partisanship of much of the coverage of the case in Britain was an embarrassment. On virtually no other subject could you find facts presented so selectively, conclusions so sweeping and reasoning so simplistic.

American campaigners against the death penalty know the buttons to press. Thus, we have statements like that from Thomas Ruffin, a lawyer for Davis, who said that Georgia had “legally lynched a brave, a good and indeed, an innocent man”.

We saw “I am Troy Davis” T-shirts being worn as far afield as London, the message being that Davis was somehow plucked randomly from the streets and arbitrarily condemned, perhaps because he was black.

Unfortunately, little about the Davis case fits this naïve picture. A jury of seven blacks and five whites found that Davis, who had a street name of “Rah”, standing for “Rough As Hell”, had been pistol-whipping a homeless man in a Burger King car park and had shot MacPhail dead when he intervened.

And this article makes clear that racism was not a part of Troy Davis’ execution…as a matter of fact, all legal efforts were attempted (including recanting witnesses that the defense would not call) that further validated his guilt:

Judge Moore concluded in his 174-page ruling that the “fresh” evidence Davis had gathered amounted to little more than “smoke and mirrors” and the “vast majority of the evidence at trial remains intact”.

Indeed, a reading of his judgement indicates that by not calling two of its recantation witnesses (one was waiting in the courthouse to testify and the other, the homeless man who was beaten, was readily available), the Davis defence team was preserving something they knew would damage his case in court if tested but if left intact could be of publicity value. There has never been a scintilla of evidence that Davis’s race has ever been a factor in his initial conviction or in it being upheld.

The current Supreme Court contains four liberal judges, none of whom issued a dissent in the Davis case. Two of them were appointed by Mr Obama who, incidentally, supports the death penalty himself and declined to make any statement about the execution. Another justice, Clarence Thomas, is a black man from Georgia.

Read the whole article here.

3 Responses

  1. It has nothing to do with the death penalty.

    These people are only interested in undermining American values.

  2. Again, you seem to miss the point. When people talk about racism with this case, they’re NOT just talking about his race or who tries him. They’re talking about the statistical and historical TREND that there are more Black men, specifically, who are killed by the death penalty than Whites and more Blacks are more likely to be sentenced to death for many of the same crimes where Whites either have their crimes commuted to life or a far less penalty.

    Also, let’s be clear, as it doesn’t seem you are. Blacks can be just as racist against Blacks as Whites. Racism isn’t just about the color of the person who delivers it. Again, this case could be debatable as some of the “facts” you’ve introduced, I’ve not researched enough for myself. So I am NOT talking just about this case.

  3. Return2Source,
    I’d love to see the statistics that prove a TREND where black men are executed more than whites and more likely to be sentenced to death. That is quite a statement when you have to also consider the nature of the crimes, laws in the states in which they were committed, and the total numbers of whites vs. blacks committing crimes.

    It is hard to believe a trending inconsistency in how crimes are handled when you look at statistics such as gangs and race. A “National Youth Gang Survey Analysis” in 2009 determined that of gang members in America there are 3X more Hispanics and 2X more blacks in gangs than whites/other ethnicities. (Gangs are ridden with crime)

    In addition, a United States Department of Justice report which surveyed homicide statistics between 1974 and 2004 stated that of the crimes surveyed, 52.2% of the offenders were Black, 45.8% were White, and 2% were Other Races. And it should be noted that what constituted “white” or “black” was not listed, but in other studies, hispanics were lumped into the white category.
    This information clearly finds that a majority of homicides in those 30 years were committed by black offenders, while the US population in 2008 consisted of 13% blacks.

    Theses are few statistics in a complex issue. But even with these stats, including those showing a large number of black-on-black crimes, it could be concluded that community, economic status, lack of father’s in the home, welfare, gang status, and unemployment in the black community contribute to black crime that is not consistent with the population.

    As far as what I have stated in the last week on the death penalty, I have been blogging about 2 cases in particular. One of those cases, Troy Davis, has specifically been my focus because of the grandstanding and “trial by public opinion” of death penalty opponents.
    Even if a TREND exists, it should not mean that a specific case shouldn’t be handled with appropriate justice. Is our justice system supposed to handle minority crimes with kid gloves so as the lower the “trend”? Are we not supposed to seek justice for each individual crime because of a “trend”?

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