If you were on Twitter at all yesterday, you no doubt followed and possibly took part in the endless tweets about the execution of Troy Davis. The righteous indignation was flying fast and furious, retweeted with phone numbers of judges to call to protest, everyone voicing their opinion of how unjust and disgusting it was, how ashamed they were to be Americans, and listing off the countries that still resort to capital punishment such as China, Yemen, and Syria. “Murder.” “State-sanctioned murder.” “It’s not a crime deterrent and it doesn’t save money.”
There did seem to be a great deal of doubt about Davis’s guilt with numerous witnesses recanting their testimony, and that to my mind was enough to make carrying out the execution an unconscionable act. But here we are. We are still here, and Troy Davis is not. He claimed to be at peace with his fate, despite protesting his innocence to the end. I hope he is at peace.
What drove me over the edge last night was a tweet from someone I do not follow, but was retweeted by someone I do, which said, “Was it good for you, America?” I don’t remember the person’s name now, and it’s too far back in the timeline to dig it up, but I did take a quick look at the sender’s profile. He’s in Chicago. Correct me if I’m wrong, but that’s the same America I’m in. I wonder if he got a boner from it. Seems like a reasonable question since he seemed to feel his countrymen were enjoying themselves over the whole thing. It could be he’s not an American citizen, I don’t know. Everyone hates us. We know the drill.
This was the last of it I could take, so I made my little diva exit from Twitter. I checked back in today, wondering if the outrage and horror and indignation over the killing of this man was still boiling over. And what do you know? We’re back to talking about Sesame Street, and romance books, and jewelry, and surf reports, and birthdays and cake and cookie recipes and… you get the idea. For all the angst and horror people were displaying last night, I’ve seen three tweets all day related to the execution of Troy Davis. People sure get over stuff quickly.
I had nightmares.
It baffles me how someone can tweet for hours of their disgust for capital punishment one day, only to show up bright and shiny the next day as if nothing happened. The people who were last night the most vocal in their objections and overarching zeal to condemn and speak against the death penalty are today tweeting about designer shoes. Like some kind of empty-headed evil twin.
I don’t even want to get into the death penalty debate, or the racial bias that made the Troy Davis case possible. Others have done those topics far better than I could. I’m simply astounded that no one seems to be giving it a thought. That was yesterday’s cause, I guess. I’m not sure what I expected to see today. Revolution? Marches? National day of mourning? Hardly. But maybe a little less frippery and frivolity, a more subdued atmosphere. No such.
The United Nations, headquartered on U.S. soil, condemns capital punishment. For those who are interested, Christopher Hitchens, the well-known atheist, has an eloquent essay on the death penalty at Lapham’s Quarterly.
The United Nations condemns capital punishment—especially for those who have not yet reached adulthood—and the Vatican has come close to forbidding if not actually anathematizing the business. This leaves the United States of America as the only nation in what one might call the West, that does not just continue with the infliction of the death penalty but has in the recent past expanded its reach.
“The first horror is that there’s horror. The second horror is that you accept it.” – Glen Duncan, “The Last Werewolf.”
I guess that’s why we’re back to posting pretty pictures on Twitter.