Who are the murderers?
Thursday, September 22, 2011
I always picture killers as at some level deranged. Damaged goods. Maybe momentarily blinded by passion, maybe methodically malevolent, somehow off kilter. I am optimistic enough to believe that a “normal” person does not murder.
I am thinking about killers this morning, reading the news of the death of Troy Davis. Right to the end there was doubt and, as Nick Kristof, for whom I have great respect, said, “When smart people debate whether or not a man should be executed, that’s a good reason not to execute him.” Seven of nine witnesses who had testified against him later changed their testimony.
Still that was not enough to instill doubt in the minds of Georgia’s highest court. A judge presiding over a hearing last year said that although the case against Davis “may not be ironclad” and that there were doubts about his conviction, there would be no new trial. And, finally, the U.S. Supreme Court, too, remained convinced that, even with the “reasonable doubt” jurors are cautioned about, the case merited no further consideration.
And so last night Troy Davis was walked through the hallways, through the meticulous preparations, past the credentialed witnesses to his death. And this morning I am wondering who is a murderer.