frightened: (v governments should be afraid)
On 21st September, Troy Davis was executed by lethal injection by the state of Georgia, after the US Supreme Court denied a stay of execution. The day before, Cleve Foster, facing the same fate in Texas, received a stay of execution from the same court.

Which, don't get me wrong, is a very good thing. I am against the death penalty. Everybody should get a stay of execution. Hell, nobody should be sentenced to death in the first place. People sometimes say, "oh, well yeah, in general, but about this really bad one?" Unless you're in some hellhole like Iran, one would hope that the death penalty would only be reserved for the really bad ones. To be against the death penalty except for the really bad ones is not to be against the death penalty at all. Anyway. Not the point.

The point is, what does Cleve Foster have going for him, that Troy Davis didn't?

Cleve Foster was convicted of raping and shooting Nyanuer 'Mary' Pal, a female Sudanese immigrant. Troy Davis was convicted of shooting Mark MacPhail, a white male police officer.

The evidence against Cleve Foster was not conclusive: his semen in her vagina, and weapons soaking in cleaning fluid in his truck. Her blood was found on his co-defendant's clothes, but not his. The evidence against Troy Davis was even less: nine eyewitness testimonies, seven of which were later recanted, and one of which came from the other possible suspect.

Cleve Foster was a US Army recruiter and Gulf War veteran. Troy Davis signed up twice with the US Marines, but had a generally poor employment and school record.

Cleve Foster is white. Troy Davis was black.

I cannot escape the conclusion that Mark MacPhail was simply a higher-status victim than Nyanuer Pal, and that Troy Davis was simply a lower-status convict than Cleve Foster.
frightened: (karate)
So Troy Davis is dead, despite significant doubt as to the safety of his conviction. Turns out human rights and good sense can't stand against racism and the death penalty.

All throughout this case I have been wondering: what are they scared of? Why are they so desperate to have him killed? Pig-headedness is one thing; pig-headedness that gets someone dead is another. When you're blocking emails from Amnesty International, does it not cross your mind that you might be the bad guys here? Two of the five people who were supposed to be witnessing his execution received last-minute phone calls telling them they couldn't. Was Georgia ashamed? It should be.

I remember in July 2008, when the Georgia Parole Board and the Georgia Supreme Court refused to grant clemency or a stay of execution even though his case was currently before the US Supreme Court and he hadn't had a hearing yet. What drives that kind of decision? I want to say "sheer cruelty", but I'm trying to understand. Fear of the irregularities of the case coming out? We already know. Troy Davis was named as a suspect by the other major suspect, the one witnesses have subsequently named as the real killer, and since that rather dodgy accusation, they just haven't bothered to investigate further. Several of the witnesses who changed their testimony say their original words were as a result of police coercion, and that they signed statements that they couldn't read. We know.

Maybe it was burnout. I get burnout; maybe they did to. Yeah, everybody says they didn't do it. Yeah, every cause gets protesters. Blah blah blah. Show must go on. Well, if you're getting that way about a process that is allowed to kill people, then it's time to stop using it, because you cannot be trusted to act with basic humanity. I think it was the Plaid Adder who said that the decision to end a life should not be easy. It should upset you. You should burn out and you should stop doing it.

And yes, let's use the L word, because I think it applies. A black man was accused of a crime against a white person - a high-status white person - and that accusation was enough. There was no real attempt to determine who was guilty, and attempts to get the case reopened were treated as so much annoyance. In 2008, 42% of death row inmates were black men. This was a lynching.

One of the people Democracy Now interviewed put it best: in America, you have no actual right not to be executed if you are innocent. If you have been convicted, if you have had due process, then even if you have conclusive proof it was not you, DNA or something, then legally, they can still execute you. Once the killing machine gets going it really doesn't like to be stopped. As of 2010, America has dropped from the third to the fifth most execution-happy country - oh, well done, what a great achievement - and still should be ashamed of itself for the company it keeps in that list.
frightened: (v governments should be afraid)
Via [personal profile] skibbley: Equalities Act is being debated on the Red Tape Challenge website. Because ensuring equality for the vulnerable and stigmatised is OMG RED TAPE BUREAUCRACY POLITICAL CORRECTNESS GONE MAD.

Particularly since the Equalities Act, er, pulled together all the different pre-existing legislation. It was not, in fact, a brand new Act bringing in a bunch of new stuff. Fucking morons probably should not be talking about scrapping something if they don't know what it is.
frightened: (v governments should be afraid)
I'm re-reading Mark Thomas's As Used on the Famous Nelson Mandela: Underground adventures in the arms and torture trade. That's always a fun read, in a horrifying kind of way.

On a similar note, Chicken Yoghurt has some smart things to say about David Cameron: gun slut. (I can't remember who I got this link from. May have been [personal profile] nickbarlow.)

Control Arms.
frightened: (v governments should be afraid)
In Cameron's generally ludicrous article about how if you want essential services, you'd better provide them yourself for no wages Big Society is coming like Jesus to save us all, one bit was particularly egregious:
And if someone wants to help out with children, we will sweep away the criminal record checks and health and safety laws that stop them.
Wait, what? WHAT?!?!?!?!

Now I'll grant you, there's room for discretion in criminal record checks. I don't give a damn if someone shoplifted ten years ago or possessed cannabis ever. But is he seriously saying that if someone wants to work with children (or vulnerable adults, for that matter, though they're generally a lot less photogenic than the darling little kiddies), someone shouldn't check to make sure that they don't have a history of violent or sexual crime?

Oh, but they're volunteers, you see. Because in Conservative Land, nothing is serious unless a profit is to be made from it. So if there's no money involved, then it happens in a magic special bubble where there are never any consequences. It's not a real thing, so we don't have to apply real-world rules. They talk up the importance of volunteering, but they betray their real feelings: we don't need to apply the usual rules, because it's voluntary, so it doesn't count. There's no money. How could it matter?

Okay, that's the easy one out of the way. On to the dreaded Health and Safety. Read more... )

Flat what.

Nov. 19th, 2010 08:32 am
frightened: (v governments should be afraid)
Via [personal profile] snakey, UN decides extra-judicial killings of queers aren't worth condemning.

They have been for the past ten years. But no, now we've been taken off the list of people it isn't okay to randomly kill. Hooray!

[personal profile] scattermoon provides a handy map of places that think it's okay to kill you for being queer.


frightened: Photo by Jason B (Default)

August 2012



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