At 11:08 last night, the state of Georgia carried out the execution of Troy Davis, a man found guilty of killing an off-duty police officer in 1989. A worldwide hue and cry seeking clemency arose after witnesses recanted and other evidence in the trial was found faulty. Appeal after appeal was rejected and the sense of injustice mounted. And now Troy Davis is dead.
I thought the most compelling part of the reaction that welled up after the execution came from the mother of slain police officer Mark MacPhail. Anneliese MacPhail was quoted as saying:
I'm kind of numb. I can't believe that it's really happened. All the feelings of relief and peace I've been waiting for all these years, they will come later. I certainly do want some peace.When is the end ever the end? And what sort of peace is it that twinkles on the horizon of "later?" Which of us has not felt the same only to find peace trickling through our fingers like water lifted from a stream?
Killing -- whether of off-duty police officers or convicted felons -- simply doesn't work as a mechanism of peace. It is better to acknowledge this and dwell in an uncertain limbo that seeks certainty than it is to weave tales that may please the mind but let the heart go begging.