Troy Davis’s Death, and a Project Going Forward

The tragedy of Troy Davis’s death tonight is overwhelming. The thought of a man strapped to a gurney for hours waiting to find out if he will be unstrapped from it, if he will walk—back into his cell rather than out into the world, but still, to live—out of the room where is supposed to die is so hard to bear. Was the needle in his arm the whole time? He must have been in such discomfort. The shame is so big.

I feel some guilt for not pressing harder on the death penalty as an issue on this blog. That ends now. I’m going to make a project of consuming our culture on the death penalty and see if there are arguments we can glean from it, ideally to convince people that the death penalty is in and of itself immoral, but barring that, to convince them that the risk of executing an innocent man is just too high. What’s most powerful? What works? What doesn’t? What moves the conversation towards reconciliation, collective grieving, and a commitment to actual justice? If there’s interest in making this a reading and watching group separate from our regular book club, let me know, and I’ll try to work out a schedule.