The execution of reason

21st September 2011 marked a grievous day for the
judicial system of North America as the southern US state of Georgia condemned
a man to death under very contestable circumstances and this drew an
international outcry.  The “victim” in mention is a 42 year old African American male named Troy Davis.


As the story goes, Troy was convicted of murdering a police
officer by the name of Mark MacPhail in Savannah, Gerogia, August 19, 1989.  The report by the Associated Press, as published in The Straits Times 23rd September 2011, submits that Officer MacPhail was shot in the head and heart while attempting to intervene in an argument at a Burger King parking lot.  Solely based off eyewitness testimonies and despite the lack of concrete physical evidence, Davis was sentenced to the gallows.  And this obviously angered many—the family of Mr. Davis notwithstanding.


Now I am no student of law but it certainly doesn’t take one to feel that the case of the recently deceased Troy Davis should have been received fairer treatment.  Even after the revelation of the alleged biasness of eyewitness testimonies after some of them
revealed that they were pressured by the police into writing slanted accounts,
the case was not reviewed.


Reason, defined as the capacity for rational thought, inference or discrimination, should be the governing component to all judicial decisions so as to ensure impartiality on all parts, yet unfortunately the crucial element has failed all too often.
To have a man put on death roll would be to say that he has been proved,
beyond reasonable doubt, culpable of the heinous charges put against him.  While I cannot speak for the late Mr. Davis’ innocence, I do not find substantial evidence to prove his guilt either, but what I would like to do is present my observations in a case which has so irked the world.


Racial prejudices still cloud the judicial system.  Unless key findings of the investigation were withheld from the public, I find it hard to see how Troy Davis could be
sentence to death by a slew of dubious eyewitness accounts, without the
influence of some sort of racial prejudice against the African American
community.  These prepossesses biases often hamper effective communication, and in this case, void the word of one man against the word of a questionable few.
Radio journalist John Lewis, who witnessed the event, said Davis
continued to protest his innocence even in the death chamber.  And this quite rightly sums up the entire affair of a man being heard but ignored.


Contrary to most public sentiment at the moment, I do believe a thought has to be spared for the family of the slain policeman.  Amidst all the controversy and inciting developments with regards to the case, the original victims have been unintentionally
forgotten.  From their perspective, having lost their beloved family member to a brutal slaying, the execution comes as reprieve for their long-running sorrow.  Some may think of the MacPhail family as being the villains here simply because they celebrate the death of a seemingly innocent man.  Yet one must be board
enough in compassion to realize that when the context is reversed, their
“happiness” is justifiable for it brings closure to a miserable period of their
lives.  Their feelings should not be disregarded.


Finally, with the unhappy resolution of the Davis affair, many groups and activists have renewed their fight for the abolishment of capital punishment.  Although I would say that I am not for capital punishment the use of it in some instances does seem permissible,
but definitely not in the case of Troy Davis.  Whether the American judicial is going to revise its punishment system because of this remains to be seen but I have an inkling that this matter is going to be swept under the carpet.  Authorities however, will be careful to skirt around future sinkholes such as this one because if another similar occurrence like such were to arise, the peaceful protests will not be looking too peaceful no more.

Bottomline, if you’re going to have someone executed, you better have a pretty darn good reason and evidence to do so.


pictures courtesy of Yahoo News


15 thoughts on “The execution of reason

  1. This is so tragic!!!! And to think that the sentencing was just passed a little over a month ago? That’s preposterous. It’s not as if we are living in 1st century with no forms of technology available to set hardcore evidence on the table and then judge accordingly.

    It reminds me of the case that was discussed in my Psych class(can’t remember the name of the case right now :\). Really similar case: eyewitness account during the time of the incident was the primary evidence used against the “criminal” who in fact was not the criminal at all! The accused was also an African-American. It’s truly frightening how “prepossesses biases often hamper effective communication” .. and in this case, someone’s life.

    • To add insult to injury the eyewitnesses accounts were skewed in the face of police pressure! So yea, terribly tragic. I’m not saying the guy is innocent because there’s still exists possibility he was the murderer, but still, in this day and age it just saddens me to think that for all the leaps and bounds we’ve made in our judicial system, we cant give a man a fair trial or a worthy sentence, free from racial prejudices. Although, with things having already come to past, i would like to think that Troy’s death will serve as the cornerstone for which racial discrimination within matters of the law will be eradicated. Hopefully there on forth, racial hate will not rear its ugly head in any matter, law or outside it.

  2. My heart goes out to Troy and his family. It’s painful enough to have a family member who is a felon executed for his wrong doings, and totally another to have an innocent family member slain by the law. I do agree with your point that this case should serve as the reference point for any future dumbass executions.

    • I share your passion and drive for justice! Yet you must know that while Troy here cannot be fully incriminated, he was never acquitted too. So in all fairness, esp to the family whose cop-son was slain, they may (and i say that with much reservation) have sentenced the right guy.

      So while the Troy case will certainly be referred to in similar cases in the future, i doubt it will be the game changing event that will eradicate any form of biasness in the legal system.

      • Sidestepping my point, tbh i think absolute impartiality will never be achieved. If it were not race it would be religion, if not a matter of wealth, then a matter of opinion… sometimes if even boils down to who paid the right person and who has the right connections to save him. Inequality will always reign but we can do our best to beat it out

        I suppose all we can hope for is a favorable state of things.

  3. oh man i hope they got the right guy. cos if not hw do u right a wrong like this one. i rmb there was a case also in america whr they wrongly imprisoned this guy for a few decades until they finally realised their mistake when they reopened the case.

    • Hi there Yellow Sub (:

      yea I’ve heard of that too. Unfortunately they’re going to continue making the same stupid mistake over and over again until there’s a gargantuan uproar with incessant rallies and a slew of bloody stikes and clashes with the authorities. A humble man dying to a sombre vigil and some protest walks is just not going to cut it…

  4. like you, i too do not agree with capital punishment. i mean, who are we to play God and take people’s lives at will? …even if it’s in the name of justice. and in troy davis’ case, his guilt (if he is guilty!) has not even been solidly proven. but yet, he has already been hanged. oh well, i suppose all i can say now is rest in peace, mr davis. and people should at least make it a fair trial before they decide to hang someone!

  5. People who are against corporal punishment are like people opposing the punishment of people who drive and talk on their cells, its a justifiable form of punishment. And it brings to the table a very effective deterrence as well. Statistics prove that countries that implement corporal punishment have significantly lower crime rates than countries that do not.

    • “But what then is capital punishment but the most premeditated of murders, to which no criminal’s deed, however calculated it may be, can be compared? For there to be equivalence, the death penalty would have to punish a criminal who had warned his victim of the date at which he would inflict a horrible death on him and who, from that moment onward, had confined him at his mercy for months. Such a monster is not encountered in private life.”
      -Albert Camus, writer, philosopher, Nobel laureate (1913-1960)

      Just a thought 😀

  6. @ Sevenstripes, you troll.

    Paul is suggesting the use and effectiveness of captial punishment so i’m recalling a saying I’ve come across on the same subject which suggests that capital punishment is the most inhumane act a person can subject another person to despite it being “essential” under certain circumstances.

      • My write is on capital punishment, his reference to corporal punishment is clearly an honest mistake, unless he’s greatly off-topic, which would make not only his comments but yours and mine, awkward and misplaced. No?

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