declare the pennies on your eyes


It doesn’t take much for me to be ashamed of my country; if there ever was a pinko bleeding-heart Blame-Old-Glory-First freakshow progressive, I’m happy to dress up and be a caricature of permissive, limp-wristed liberalism. But nothing makes me want to actually vomit like seeing us execute one of our own citizens. There’s just no joke ironic enough to staunch the sickness I get when the Supreme Court fills a fellow human being with potassium chloride.

Troy Davis was killed by the state of Georgia on Wednesday for the alleged murder of an off-duty policeman in 1989 – despite seven of the nine original witnesses recanting their testimony (some claiming police coercion), evidence pointing to another man, terrible lawyers, and a law that made appeals for new evidence almost impossible. My own disgust for the execution, however, has nothing to do with the facts surrounding the incident. I just think that a country that kills its own people is fuckin’ barbaric, especially when it doesn’t work.


The death penalty is racist, prone to prosecution error, and sickeningly cruel. And Georgia’s refusal to hear new evidence is truly Orwellian. Andrew Cohen said it best in a barnburning article in The Atlantic:

Whether the trial witnesses against [Troy Davis] were lying then or are lying now, by fighting against his requested relief Georgia is saying that its interest in the finality of its capital judgments is more important than the accuracy of its capital verdicts.

To those who would say “yes, but what if it was your daughter who was attacked?” I would respond, “What if it was your son spending twenty-two years on Death Row, lying before you, strapped to an IV full of poison, about to be executed for something he didn’t do?”

And yet, an astonishing 64% of Americans favor the death penalty. I’m with Dahlia Lithwick: I hope the Troy Davis case acts as a tipping point to bring America back into civilization.


yay, look at our ideological buddies! China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Chad…

0 thoughts on “declare the pennies on your eyes

  1. Ehren

    I think it is hideously ironic that the folks who think the government is so incompetent that it shouldn’t be allowed to administer a highway construction program are the same people who think that the justice system always gets the right guy, administers justice with perfect fairness and only executes those who are 100% deserving of it. Bonkers.

  2. Touche

    Would you feel the same way about the death penalty if the sentenced person were someone like Dahmer, Gein, Gacey, or a terrorist?
    What about the white guy who was executed a day before Davis by lethal injection for the heinous 3.5 mile dragging of a black man in Texas? Do you weep for him as you do for Davis?
    On the flip side, would you ever be able to sleep again if you discovered, AFTER seeing your father’s killer executed, that they got the wrong man?
    Not opposed to seeing a person die for the taking of a life in cold blood. But make sure you’ve got the right person.
    I hope the slain officer’s family finds peace now. 22 years is a long time to harbor a grudge.

  3. Tammy O.

    I find it nearly impossible to articulate the sadness, outrage and shame I feel about the death penalty. I’m moved to near paralysis when this topic comes up in conversation because my head and my heart feel like they’re going to explode.

  4. Caroline

    Ian, I 99.2% agree with you. The only thing I will say that irks me is that you mentioned us executing our own citizens a few times. I don’t believe in execution — at all — of our citizens or anyone else’s. But I know I am splitting hairs and that was not your point. And bravo to Ehren’s comment. So freaking true!

  5. Ian

    Caroline, I’m with you – it’s just the idea that our nation kills the people it was formed to protect is like a parent eating its young. It’s cannibalism.

  6. Alyson

    To Touche’s comment: Yes, I did feel this same sick, sad feeling when Timothy McVeigh and Saddam Hussein died.
    I just cannot see why this is anyone’s idea of the sensible, just, moral thing to do. To me, it’s uncivilized and barbaric. It doesn’t make anyone feel more free or more protected. I don’t think we as a country need another hateful thing to be excited about.

  7. Anne

    From my blog post following the hanging of Saddam Hussein:
    “It seems to me that we did lose something tonight – not a man, but a small shred of our humanity.”
    And yet I had no sympathy for that particular man.

  8. wottop

    If you really want to show you are against it, show outrage when a child killer gets the juice. One that is clearly guilty.
    This guy got the shaft because the system was not willing to bend. That is the real crime here.

  9. dob

    Dean, Ms. Coulter’s article doesn’t address many of the relevant facts of the matter. First, eyewitness testimony is grossly unreliable. She may complain that there’s not other useful evidence available, but you know what, that’s too fucking bad; the state’s job is still to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Second, were you aware that Mr. Davis picture in the lineup had a different background than the other black men featured? That police were present with the witnesses, and encouraged them to pick a culprit even when they weren’t sure? That the seven recanting witnesses assert that police badgered and threatened them until they made their false statements?
    Were you aware that it’s not even that hard for police to extract a false confession from an innocent person?


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