The Curious Case of Judge Lynch

September 22nd, 2011

America claimed the life of another Black man at 11:08pm on September 21st, 2011.  The NAACP’s call that there was #TooMuchDoubt was unheard by the United States Supreme Court who upheld the decision of the Georgia Supreme Court to execute Troy Davis.  On the heels of a Republican audience offering a thunderous applause at the mention that Texas Governor Rick Perry has signed 234 death warrants, his lips forming to say that the death penalty is the “ultimate justice,” Troy Davis, a Black man is dead at the hands of the State.

“It’s a sad day. There’s nothing to rejoice,” said Joan MacPhail-Harris to the Associated Press describing how the family can now start to heal…  What type of healing?  Another man dead doesn’t bring MacPhail back.  And I would put my life on it, that the MacPhail family doesn’t feel better now, and they will always feel a deep and profound sense of loss because what they lost can’t be brought back.  “Grief is the thing left over after grievance has had its say” says Anne Anlin Cheng in The Melancholy of Race.  What they lost is gone, forever, but it will always haunt them.  Their grievance answered in the State’s murder of Troy Davis; his blood, on their lips… now the ghosts come to fill in that empty space.

And since revenge prompts the MacPhail’s healing process, what would healing look like for the family of this man?

George Meadows was lynched at Pratt Mines (in Jefferson County) Alabama January 15 1889

Or this one?

A postcard with the picture of the charred, castrated corpse of Jesse Washington, Waco, TeXas 1916

Or this one?

Leo Frank, Marietta, GA 1915

My argument against the death penalty is simple:  MY country, with its sadistic history–Salem “Witch Trials”, Slavery, the Trail of Tears, the Klu Klux Klan–has no right to claim that it can offer an “Ultimate Justice.”  The State and its laws have been the source of injustice, the tool of it.

Emmett Till’s body. His mother insisted on an open casket.

Yet (if we are to follow the logic of the Social Contract) that the State can set itself up in the case of the death penalty to determine that it can kill the very individuals whom are supposed to authorize its existence, its citizens, then that’s just illogical.

Finally, let the record reflect that I don’t care whether or not Troy Davis killed MacPhail, or if there’s #TooMuchDoubt.  That’s irrelevant to the fact that THE DEATH PENALTY/LYNCHING is the Ultimate Injustice.

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