Monday, October 3, 2011

Troy Davis and Jamey Rodemeyer: By A Jury Of Our Peers

JCF points us at this essay about the deaths our society sanctions:
Troy and Jamey may not stand in line together in heaven, but they stand together in history; tried, convicted, and ultimately bullied and betrayed.

Bullying is about entitlement; who belongs and who doesn’t, who can be “othered.” I was ganged up on that day in 4th grade because I was new to the school; I didn’t belong. The image of Troy and Jamey stays in my mind, and begs the question: Who is the face of America? One of the reasons that Michelle Bachmann can be so smug, despite what was once considered the fringe politics of the Tea Party, is that in her whiteness and privilege, her belief is unshakeable that she is America. She owns; blacks and gays are renting. The only way out of this hell is for those of us who have been marginalized to insist on visibility, to find solidarity and stand together....

Troy Davis and Jamey Rodemeyer are dead, both killed at the hands of the State, and the sad news, beyond the fact that no one saved them, is that no one is going to save us, either. And as horrifying as it is to consider, we all know: Troy Davis will not be the last person executed on Death Row who may be innocent, Jamey Rodemeyer won’t be the last gay child to take his life. And the bullies will thrive, and will continue to thrive until gay white men and women will say, “I am Troy Davis”; and blacks — rich and poor, Christian and secular — step out front and say, “We won’t allow you to bully our gay children anymore. I am Jamey Rodemeyer”....

Everyone is essential. There is no one who can be thrown away. And we who are called different will not be “othered” any longer. We stand together. We are America. And the day will come when we all realize there is no “Them”; there never was. It always is, and always will be, “Us.”


Brother David said...

I think that it is a cheap shot to compare the two situations and insulting to the memory of Jamey to link these two in this essay.

Jamey was an innocent. I am far from convinced Troy was an innocent man.

JCF said...

And for your "far from convinced", Dahveed, Troy should be DEAD at the hands of a (United) State?

There is nothing "cheap" about this essay. There is plenty CHRISTIAN about it!

I am Troy Davis. I am Jamey Rodemeyer. I am innocent. I am a sinner. I am Imago Dei. Treat me w/ compassion and dignity.

Brother David said...

Treat me w/ compassion and dignity.

Do not murder anyone and you likely shall be.

IT said...

It amazes me that the Republicans who do not trust govt to do anything, place utter confidence in the govt process that leads to execution.

But as Justice Scalia has pointed out, actual innocence is not a barrier to punishment.

Stats show us that the death penalty is disproportionately applied to men of color. No state should be killing anyone. Surely there must always be space for redemption or even forgiveness.

Like this:

DNA helps free Texas man convicted in wife's death : "Morrison also said there were six instances where prosecutors and investigators hid non-DNA evidence that could have exonerated Morton from his defence attorney during the original trial".

So, no, I don't trust the state to get it right with Troy Davis.Not killing him isn't letting him free.

The US is an orgy of violence and death of the "other". It is dehumanizing those who are brown, gay, speak with an accent, disabled, different....

So making us look close at our cultural willingness to demonize is not a cheap shot, IMHO.

JCF said...

Do not murder anyone and you likely shall be.

SRSLY, Dahveed?

[Am ignoring the "likely shall be" towards Genderqueer Me. :-/]

Does the phrase "While we were still in our sins..." mean nothing?

The Love of God isn't an "If/Then" statement. That's the ESSENCE of Jesus's Message!

"Go and Do Likewise"

Brother David said...

I am not opposed to the death penalty for serious capital offenses. I am in support of returning the death penalty to Mexico for many of the serious crimes of narco-traficantes.

I think murdering a police officer merits loosing your own life. That is my opinion. I am entitled to it, just as you are entitled to yours.

JCF said...

Because I can't this out of my mind:

There But For Fortune - Phil Ochs

IT said...

I can certainly see why Dahveed has a different view, when you consider the mindless viciousness that comes from Mexican narco criminals.

My concern with the Troy Davis case is that enough doubt was raised to be "reasonable".

And our history in this country of executing people indicates that it is not uniformly, fairly, nor accurately applied.

The same day Troy Davis was executed, so was one of the men who lynched an African American man in TX, dragging him to death behind a truck. It's much harder to advocate against that criminal's death, since his crime was so heinous and his guilt not in question.

But still,even though I know there are truly evil people who probably deserve execution at some level, I think we cannot risk executing anyone.

It isn't a deterrent. It isn't applied fairly. It eliminates the potential for forgiveness, restitution, and redemption. And I do not trust us not to kill the innocent.

Brother David said...

Troy Davis had more opportunities than most folks in the various US state legal systems to raise serious doubt and was never able to do it legally, even when the US Supreme Court gave him an extra chance. What he did have was a great outside smoke screen generator that was able to raise doubt in the general public's mind and was able to psychologically confuse witnesses long after the trail to doubt their own eyes and previous testimony. The smoke screen generator was able to arouse such folks as Jimmy Carter and Benny 6 teen, but unfortunately for him, the doubt was not raised where it counts, in the legal system. Not even in the minds of the four most liberal US Supreme Court justices.

JCF said...

Yes you're entitled to your opinion, Dahveed. As I'm entitled to my opinion, that capital punishment, for ANYONE, is BOTH anathema to the Gospel AND futile to reducing violent crime...

{sarcasm/On} let's move on, to something uncontroversial!


Today, I heard something thought-provoking: reasons for the 20 year decline in violent crime in the USA, in economic good times and bad alike.

The most compelling:

Roe v Wade

That is to say, those MOST LIKELY to constitute the crime-committing population, since 1973 simply weren't born.

{Heads explode across Anti-Choice-dom}

[Let's set capital punishment aside, as minds aren't going to change] What think y'all about this?

Brother David said...

JCF, I did not write the post, I responded to it. Someone has voiced a different opinion and it seems that you want to shut an opposing opinion down.

Not everything about punishment is about being a deterrent, sometimes it is about being a punishment. In this instance you take a life, you loose yours.

As far as the Gospel, based on my experience lately on a Kiwi blog, it seems that Gospel is very loosely defined and not everyone means the same thing when they use the word. At this point I have no idea if what you mean by Gospel is even what I believe the Gospel to be.

IT said...

Guys, peace out. Of course you are entitled to different opinions! We know that JCF as always has passions running high, but Dahveed, please don't take that personally. I think it's important that you fleshed out the discussion with valid points made on both sides.

JCF said...

{bites tongue in two}

Catherine said...

Brilliant. Thank you, IT and JCF. Powerful images to keep in mind as I work with middle schoolers on a daily basis.

wv=inell, where you are if you ignore God's grace and marginalize those around you.

Brother David said...

Be grateful Catherine, according to JCF's link, you do not have to put up with the bad middle schoolers you would have had to, because thanks to birth control and abortion, they have mercifully never been born!