Thursday, December 6, 2007


I look at the pictures of Troy Davis in prison and I seem a man poised, faithful, confident that his innocence will one day bring his freedom. I’ve read some of his correspondence and I’m amazed at the hope that leaps from the page, inspiring anyone who truly stop and read, or listens to them read aloud. I have conversed with his sister and heard about the constant battle she wages for Troy’s freedom. How can I not be involved? How can I not push what little resources I have to the forefront in support of Troy? Yet, my involvement through Professor Gemma Puglisi has caused some self-examination.

I have had and continue to have trials and tribulations throughout life that push me to give up. The birth of my son, the incarceration of my own father, the mental bondage that I still exist in, all conspire to halt my progress. But how can I stop? If Troy Davis, and innocent man on death row can reposition his decade plus unfounded incarceration and emit such positivity, such hope, it would be ridiculous for me to give in.

The Troy Davis case is not simply a case of the Murder of Mark McPhail. It catalyzes an internal debate concerning the way we all live. When faced with circumstances beyond our control, will we halt and exit, or patiently persevere despite enormous opposition for what we believe? Despite the lack of physical evidence, witness recantations and public outcry for his freedom Troy Davis still remains behind bars. It saddens me that his fate may be determined by procedural roadblocks, that his present incarceration may be due to ineffective national legislation, and initial arrest was unwarranted.

Professor Puglisi said that Troy intends to help at-risk youth once he gains his rightful freedom. Well, I am not at-risk, and at 23 I can no longer be considered youth- but his story, his strength his optimism has had such an impact on me that I know he will be successful in his future endeavors. And while we, the Grad 14, still rally support for his freedom through our Public Communication pursuits, I can honestly say that I have been forever affected by his candor, his veracity, though he is surrounded by forces which want his death.


Friday, November 30, 2007

Truth on Lockdown

Movies have desensitized us to violence, we watch people’s guts and blood gushing out of their bodies almost everyday on TV and don’t even see anything wrong with that. If anything we want more vivid images of brutality and violence. How else could we justify the plethora of these images on our screens? Video games are even more disturbing because they invite you to participate in the violence and they just get gorier and gorier with no end in sight. But the common most distressing thread is that most of the time the consequences of those actions are not shown. The perpetrators usually get away with it or in most cases they are shown in a positive light and viewers identify with murderers and killers.

I strongly believe that this approach to entertainment has effected people’s perceptions of and tendencies toward violence. But has this recent trend affected our judicial system too? Have we scared the system out of its wits that now for fear of things “getting out of control” it’s willing to punish anyone for anything? Did you know that in some states you could get arrested for wearing your pants too low?! The reasoning for this is that it might be a gateway style to a life of crime!! And how many stories have you read of people paying for crimes they didn’t commit. Too many, in my opinion. The problem is that anyone could fall victim to this circumstance (statistically more so if you’re black). Imagine the things you would go through if you are thrown in jail for one day for something you didn’t do. What about a whole month? What about 16 years? What about 16 years on death row? Waiting to get murdered for a crime you didn’t commit, would you survive?

Troy Anthony Davis, has not only survived but has inspired our whole class. This man’s life is of importance to us all, and I hope that movies haven’t desensitized us to the point where we could walk away from such an outrageous case. The systems haste to hold someone accountable for the murder of Officer Mark MacPhail did not heed with the absence of evidence or the recantation of witnesses. A new trial is the only way to set things straight. Until we recognize the major flaws in the judicial system one too many will fall victim to it. Until we properly examine this case the real killer maybe on the loose and the truth remains on Lockdown.


Thursday, November 8, 2007

Five Days

The death penalty. Flawed judicial values. Clemency. Stays of execution. Civil rights. Racism.

Not the terms you would normally associate with a Public Communications Writing class. While other students spend class time drafting Public Service Announcements and media advisories, we’ve been writing to save a life. We have spent the semester writing for the rights of Troy Davis, who is in desperate need of a fair trial to clear his name. In a matter of 5 days, his life will change forever.

Troy Anthony Davis has been on death row for 16 years, convicted of crime that has yet to be fully examined. No found murder weapon, seven recanted testimonies, police coercion…the list goes on. The issue here is not the death penalty, nor is it “closure” for the family…it’s the TRUTH.


Inconsistent Standards

The case of Troy Davis is so interesting because it gives me such an odd and skeptical perspective on our current society. How can we be such an advanced nation yet we pose such inconsistent standards on crime and punishment? The argument about capital punishment in itself is very inconsistent, as it is left to the decision of each U.S. State. I do not understand how a life or death situation should be left up to the discretion of anyone less than the national level. And from a larger perspective, most advanced nations have already abolished the death penalty and are cynical about the conflicting standards of the U.S.

The Troy Davis case, specifically, is a very problematic situation. By chance, Troy was convicted in a state that favors the death penalty. Further, he was convicted without any physical evidence or murder weapon. What is most disturbing is that the trial was only based on witness testimonies, which was said to be inconsistent even at the time of the trial. Granting a death sentence based on this faulty trial is very disconcerting.

I just hope that our criminal justice system improves and that the battle for granting Troy a new and fair trial is reached.

-Megan Tyson

Lessons Behind Hardships

I am a Taiwanese Graduate student at American University. Recently my classmates and I are working on a project with the aim to help Troy A. Davis. In my opinion, Troy’s case is not only about human rights, racial discrimination, and death penalty. His story is also a big lesson for us to learn in terms of our morale in challenges and spiritual fights.

More than once I imagine if I were Mr. Davis, what would I do and feel being put into jail for some crime that I’d never committed? I don’t think I can bear with the burden of fear and betrayers and the loss of my freedom. I also ask myself: if anyone of my family members were going through this kind of hardship, could I be supportive and brave enough to stand with him?
Mr. Davis is the living example and at the same time, a great warrior standing still in difficulties. I believe his story must have given other people strength to face their own problems. I am one of those who are inspired. If he can overcome all these challenges, why can’t I?
I also want to put forward that God usually build and equip us through hardship. Moreover, I think that only in hard times, can we see the true values of our life and the greatness of God.

In Troy’s case, I believe he knows much better than all of us to cherish our lives, freedom, and the time spent with our family. Just think of how many people commit suicide and how many marriage and families are breaking up per day. What is wrong with us people who have freedom and right to live but take them for granted? And think of how many times we complain to our environment, family, work, or anything. I think we seldom feel enough and satisfied with what we’ve already had; instead, more than often we pay much attention on what we still don’t have. That’s the origin of our pain and sorrow, which, compared with that of Troy and his family, seems to be so little and unimportant.

I encourage everyone who read this article to express your love to your family if you haven’t done so today and try to count the blessings you’ve had if you aren’t satisfied with your life now. The key point in the pursuit of happiness is to love yourself and to be brave and optimistic.

Chi Wang

An International Opinion

As someone born and raised in Saudi Arabia, I’m not someone who is particularly gung-ho about abolishing the death penalty. To be honest with you, I’ve seen how the death penalty can work. I don’t feel threatened when I’m out and about in Saudi Arabia; rather, I feel safe and secure. I know that anyone who even tries to get near me will be punished, and punished severely. However, as a foreign resident, I also understand that Saudi Arabia runs on strict Sharia law. I believe that most living there are mindful of the fact, and take it into heavy consideration before making any decision.

A person imprudent enough to ignore the laws and customs of the society within which they live warrant some sort of penalty. The extreme disregard and disrespect these people demonstrate threaten the well-being of others, and sometimes their actions merit more than just a slap or two on the wrist. That is why we have justice systems and that is why we sanctify our courts. We hope that they will protect us and we pray that they will never be misled. Unfortunately, that is not the case; justice fails one too many of us far too often.

I’m not from the United States of America, and I don’t need to be. I understand what America stands for, and it’s not “life, love and the pursuit of happiness” as its citizens so often claim. It is not for liberty, nor is it for freedom. Had it been, Troy Anthony Davis would not be in a jail cell, withering away whilst he’s praying for a positive outcome to a crime that he most likely did not commit.

Mahwish Khan


Today, America is at war: at war with Iraq and at war with itself. America is killing individuals in other countries, but it is also killing its own people. This country was built on freedom and justice; however, are these principles being fulfilled today? Troy Davis, a black man who has been on death row for 16 years for killing a police officer in Savannah Georgia, has been deprived of these rights. Evidence suggests Troy did not commit the crime. Troy’s case is based strictly on eyewitness accounts in which seven of the nine witnesses recanted. These eyewitnesses state they were coerced by the prosecutor and police. Also, the murder weapon was not found and gun powder residue was not found on his body.

How can America put someone on death row without a fair trial and with no evidence? America must re-evaluate the system so that it is fair for everyone. America has checks and balances; however, situations like Troy’s are still occurring. We, as Americans, must do our jobs as citizens and fight for the rights of those being wrongly accused. We cannot let a man like Troy be put to death for a crime he may not have committed.

Troy has been granted a 90-day clemency. On November 13, the Georgia Supreme Court will decide whether he will receive a new and fair trial. However, we will not know the verdict until January 2008. Hopefully, Troy will have a chance to prove that innocence matters.