Execution bigger than just Troy Davis
Troy Davis was executed late Wednesday night after one of the most contested and controversial death-penalty cases in the country's history. The SMU and local community held a vigil in protest of his execution and to honor Davis' life.
"I was very glad we had a vigil here last night for Troy Davis," Dr. Rick Halperin, the director of SMU's human rights program, said. "I wish we would have one every night that someone in this country is executed."
However, Halperin believes that the Troy Davis case was outrageous on more levels that just his potential innocence.
"The media consumption with the Troy Davis case was equally outrageous," Halperin said. "Don't get me wrong it merited a great deal of attention, but I bemoan the fact that there was another execution here in Texas last night that received no attention at all."
Lawrence Brewer, a white supremacist, was executed Wednesday night in Texas for the dragging death of James Byrd Jr., a black man, in 1998.
According to Halperin, Ross Byrd, James' son, had forgiven Brewer and protested his execution.
"Where was the media on that case?" Halperin said. "This was a story about forgiveness, compassion and redemption and the murder was equally as horrific."
Another execution is scheduled for tonight in Alabama. Derrick Mason is accused of shooting 25-year-old Angela Cagle in the face during an early morning robbery.
"It's not right to out one case the way the media did on Troy Davis," Halperin said. "Every case needs media attention."
To Halperin, these cases are also a measure of the value of human life in America.
"There were a million signatures garnered across the world last night to stop the execution of Troy Davis," Halperin said. "He has the same value as a human being as Mr. Mason, Mr. Brewer and everyone else condemned or not. Where are the million signatures for Mr. Mason?"
Halperin also believes these executions are a reflection of the darkness of our country. He thinks that continuing the death penalty will lead to further immoral and criminal government behavior.
"The system failed Mr. Davis and it failed this country," Halperin said. "It will fail Mr. Mason tonight and it will fail this country again."
(sources: SMU Daily Campus & Associated Press)