The Fall Of Troy

In 1991, Troy Anthony Davis was sentenced to death for the murder of an off-duty police officer in a Burger King parking lot on August 19, 1989. Today, almost two decades later, Davis still sits on Georgia’s death row — even though the case against him, which wasn’t very strong to begin with, has all but crumbled.

Not only was there no physical evidence or murder weapon tying Davis to the crime, but, since the trial, seven of the nine eyewitnesses have recanted or contradicted their testimony, and one of the remaining witnesses has been implicated by nine others as the actual murderer! Yet, instead of being released or given a new trial, Troy remains in prison awaiting execution while running out of appeals… and time.

How has this miscarriage of justice been allowed to continue, one might ask? Here’s a hint:

I Am Troy Davis

(Troy Davis is African-American.)

The notion that we suddenly live in a post-racial society, simply because the country elected its first black president, is a complete whitewash. But whether white America is so far removed from the plight of minorities that we fail to recognize it, or we pretend the rise of Obama has somehow appeased centuries of inequities (just so we can continue reaping the benefits of those very inequities), doesn’t really matter. Because the truth is that, on top of all the other socio-economic disadvantages that historically come with being anything but Caucasian, we can now add target of the burgeoning corporate prison system to the list.

Fortunately this sort of stuff only happens in the Deep South though, right? Think again.

Last August, Hiu Lui “Jason” Ng, a 34 year-old Chinese immigrant, died in the Wyatt Detention Center in Central Falls, RI, but it wasn’t by lethal injection, electrocution, hanging, firing squad, guillotine, or crucifixion. Those would have been much too quick for the likes of an illegal who (gasp) got caught applying for a green card! Nope, the capital punishment Mr. Ng received was a slow and excruciating cancer:

  1. Of the liver.
  2. And of the lungs.
  3. And of the bones.
  4. Oh and he had a fractured spine too, but who’s counting?

See, despite complaining for months of severe pain while in custody, Ng was refused medical treatment by immigration officials who told him to stop faking his illness. I wonder if they think he’s faking his death now too.

Sadly, the increasingly disproportionate number of minorities in prisons, the harsh crackdown on illegal immigration, and even the detainee torture scandals of the Bush Wars are all symptoms of a booming private prison industry, one that is profiting from taxpayer dollars to house so-called criminals, who in many cases are guilty of charges that might not equate to such stiff penalties if they were more white, more American, or more holy.

Of course, it’s not like we’re a bunch of closet Klansmen. While the country isn’t yet post-racial as a whole, many of us have welcomed our melting pot of diversity. However, as long as segments of the population remain disenfranchised and perceived as vulnerable by those looking to exploit others for financial gain, then places like Wyatt will continue to exist and good people like Jason Ng and Troy Davis will continue to suffer.

Davis, a young guy hanging out with his friends who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, could just as easily have been me in my early 20’s. Ng, a husband and father with a background in computers, was at the same stage of his life as I am today. My heart goes out to them because, in a sense, I am them. We all are.

Indeed, if only we lived in a post-racial America, we would prevent the tragedies that befell these men from ever occurring again…

I Am Troy Davis

by embracing our common humanity.

One Response to “The Fall Of Troy”

  1. bristolbullraker Says:

    AIUSA Local Groups 702 and 49 will hold a vigil on Tuesday, May 19 as part of Amnesty International’s Global Day of Action for Troy Davis. At the RI vigil, scheduled for 5:30 pm in Providence’s Burnside Park (near Kennedy Plaza), participants will be able to sign the Amnesty petition to Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue.

    When: 5:30 PM
    City: Providence
    Location: Burnside Park, Kennedy Plaza
    Organizers: Local Groups 49 and 702
    Contact: Shari Bitsis (shasongs@aol.com), Linda Darman (401-301-7112, lsdarman@aol.com)

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