Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Troy Anthony Davis: October 9, 1968-September 21, 2011
Troy Davis was scheduled to be executed at seven p.m. this evening, Atlanta time. In California this was four p.m. and as usually I would be starting a register shift at this hour, I asked to be let off early. The idea of being so fully in the world of commerce at that hour seemed like a big contradiction to me. I didn't know quite where I would go, but after I left, I thought I might walk the labyrinth outside the Episcopalian church as a fitting thing, but I'd forgotten that it was the open market day and it didn't really seem like a very introspective place to be. I then thought I might walk on to the Progressive Missionary Baptist Church nearby, because with it's predominently black congregation, I thought it might have been the kind of place that Troy might have liked to worship if he'd had the chance. I've often heard some great sounds coming over the fence, but this was a Wednesday afternoon and the place was shut and empty.
I decided to walk on home, as by now I assumed Davis would be dead and I would rather walk home and think about this quietly than ride home on a bus full of students. I didn't really feel that I'd had a significant deep moment, but I thought walking in solitude might go some way towards reaching this goal. My feet aren't the best these days, but I thought it would still be better.
I reached King Street, a street I had walked on this very morning as I usually do, and saw from quite a distance that there was a gigantic crane some ways down and it was at work on a tremendous project. As I got closer, I saw that the crew was busy at work bringing down an enormous tree. People were stopping and watching and taking pictures, and it was a busy intersection with a guy standing in the middle of the street just to direct traffic. I saw a woman that I knew and she said that her daughter lived in the house that had been in its shadow and that it was being taken down because its branches kept knocking out the wires and cutting off people's electricity. We were all impressed by the efficiency of the men high up in the branches. I said, well, I suppose there's some positive side to the tree coming down for the neighbors.
My friend said, "It's a hundred year old tree. Nobody thinks its a good thing."
When I got home, I was surprised to learn that the Supreme Court had asked for an eleventh hour delay in the execution of Troy Davis. I watched events unfold on television. The delay did not result in a stay, and the executioners proved just as efficient as the tree men had. Troy Davis was pronounced dead at 11:08 tonight, still protesting his innocence.