"Fire is motion / Work is repetition / This is my document / We are all all we've done / We are all all we've done / We are all all we've done / We are all all defenses."

- Cap'N Jazz, "Oh Messy Life," Analphabetapolothology

Thursday, September 22, 2011

the executioner's song

as you'd know if you've been visiting the blog lately, i've been reading Norman Mailer's The Executioner's Song. it's a great read, albeit disturbing. it is such a visceral book, leaves me with a knot in my stomach most of the time and i've even called ben crying on the phone after reading chapters of it.

the book is a strange accompaniment to the recent execution of Troy Davis by the state of Georgia. while reading Mailer's book, you get to know Gary Gilmore and his victims, and you really get to hate him and all of his meanness and violence, and you cringe at all his dirty-mouthed arrogance and disrespect for life. but, you know that he's going to be executed. you have that expectation going into it: that the whole thing ends in justice. that SOB got what he deserved. and though you feel sick about it and kind of hate yourself for having these feelings, you just can't reconcile that with the fact that Gilmore was a vile individual, and a danger to everyone around him. so in this case, where the facts of Gilmore's crime are all laid out by Mailer for your omniscient reading experience, you feel satisfied knowing that justice was inevitable, and perhaps more importantly, deserved.

not so when history is being made by the minute. when i found out the Supreme Court denied Troy Davis clemency, despite the recanting of witnesses in his case, and the pleas of thousands of people, and went ahead and executed him anyway, just a few moments ago, i felt a really sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. just this crushing overwhelming sadness. hearing about how he refused his last meal, because he didn't think it was going to be his last, i dunno, for some reason, that thought really got to me. like, my mother always calls me to make sure i've eaten my dinner, every night she always makes sure i'm staying fed, and i always do the same thing to ben now. and Troy Davis, he had hope until the last minute in justice or mercy or pity or something, and then he goes to his death in a cold concrete prison, hungry. that thought, of a man going suddenly to his death, without all his worldly ends taken care of, made me really, really sad. we were all watching and hopeful of little minutes that would build into hours, into days, of delay and finally a stay of execution or a commuted sentence. and then, suddenly, they just went and executed him anyway. one minute he was alive, with family and with a past and with mortal fear coursing through him, the will to keep up a legal battle that has lasted years, and hunger pangs in his stomach and then the next minute, he's gone.

i'm scared. i'm scared of a justice system that will execute people without even a moment's pause. i'm scared of a justice system that is so dysfunctional that sometimes witnesses are talked into giving incriminating testimonies, that sometimes allows potential murderers to play the system and pin their evil deeds on others. i'm scared of a justice system that satisfies itself with murdering potentially innocent citizens instead of seeking out the truth. and i'm scared to live in a world in which such a tragic farce is permitted to exist.

in moments like these, i really hope there is some Plan to all of this chaos, this madness and despair. i hope there is justice at the end of all of it, even when it doesn't seem that way. whatever higher powers that be, please have mercy on us all.

‎"The moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends toward justice."
— Martin Luther King, Jr.

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