Sunday, September 25, 2011

In the Matter of Troy Davis

Last Wednesday convicted murderer Troy Davis was executed in Georgia. In the days preceding the execution the case became a cause celebre for those who oppose the death penalty.

Since most people, myself included, do not have the time or the expertise to study the case files, we are prey to the presentation offered us by the media.

Even when the media does its job, there are always going to be a few brain dead celebrities who will exploit the situation to enhance their fame.

Alec Baldwin had this to say to the parents of the Mark MacPhail, the man who was murdered by Troy Davis: “Wonder if the McPhail [sic] family will seek death penalty for US leaders who killed thousands of US soldiers and countless innocent Iraqis."

The next time you are wondering about the coarsening of public discourse in America, the absence of civility, and the crass vulgarity of people who aren’t even smart enough to know that they should keep their mouths shut… think of Alec Baldwin.

Even when the media do a fair job of covering the story, they are obliged to report the information that is being provided by activists who are creating their own narrative in order to advance their own agenda.

Apparently, a similar phenomenon has manifested itself in Great Britain. This morning Toby Harndon commented in the London Telegraph: “The sheer emotionalism and partisanship of much of the coverage of the case in Britain was an embarrassment. On virtually no other subject could you find facts presented so selectively, conclusions so sweeping and reasoning so simplistic.”

Harndon offers an excellent account of the facts of the Toby Davis case. If you are interested in seeing whether Davis received every possible judicial protection, his article is worth reading.

Notably, Harndon himself opposes the death penalty. In providing the facts of the case he allows us to see through the fog of storytelling and to arrive at a well-informed opinion.

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