At the South Carolina State Penitentiary on the 16th, June, 1944, 14 year old, George Junius Stinney, was strapped to the electric chair. Securing him to the frame holding the electrodes proved difficult as the child was so slightly built and merely 5’1”, a reason to suspect it wasn’t he who had wielded the huge railroad spike, the weapon used in the killing of two white girls. In a locked room with only white officers bearing witness, Stinney confessed within an hour of his arrest. The court appointed lawyer, did not call any witnesses and as the Stinney family were moneyless, an appeal could not be raised. Another harrowing and messy murder took place towards the end of WW2, when 24 year old, Eddie Slovik was strapped to a post and shot by firing squad, eleven bullets entering his body, but not immediately killing him. The appointed executioners were reloading their weapons when Slovik finally died: “They’re not shooting me for deserting the United States Army, thousands of guys have done that. They just need to make an example out of somebody and I’m it because I’m an ex-con. I used to steal things when I was a kid, and that’s what they are shooting me for, they’re shooting me for the bread and chewing gum I stole when I was 12 years old”, Slovik had told them. Stinney was black and Slovik white. They had in common their poverty and thus their utter powerlessness, as simultaneously, the allies allegedly fought for freedom.

We no longer believe the WW2 myth that America fights other nations for liberty’s sake, but how can we believe that US citizens are free, when with 5% of the world’s population they have almost a quarter of the world’s prisoners. With the “3 strikes law”, people have been sentenced to 25 years porridge for shoplifting. US citizens are the most incarcerated in the world, their prisons stretched to bursting with a population of 2.3 million. China with 4 times the population has 1.6 million prisoners. Little wonder the People’s Republic of China likes to confront the US with its annual, ‘Human Rights Record of the United State’s’ as a retort to the US practice of issuing its own, ‘Country Reports on Human Rights Practices’, never addressing their own egregious methods.

“Capital Punishment is the most premeditated of murders” said Albert Camus and Troy Davis had many premeditating accomplices take a hand in his death, from Obama, who it seems has taken the 5th amendment, to the police who intimidated “witnesses”; from the medics of the sinisterly named companies, Correct Health and Rainbow Medical Associates, who for money injected a healthy, man with the lethal cocktail which ceased his heart and respiration; from the careless court-appointed lawyers, to Nathan Deal, Georgia’s Republican Governor, responsible for the 70% cut in the federal funding of the Georgia Resource Centre (Georgia’s legal aid) and from the section of the public who whoop and applaud the statistics on prisoners put to death in the state of Texas, State governor’s, Rick Perry and previously George W Bush, literally killing for votes.

Troy also had against him the endemic racism of his Southern state home of Georgia, where as in other southern states, black people joke bitterly of being arrested for DWB, (Driving While Black). Blacks, representing 10% of the American population as a whole are 40% of the population on death row. Though victims of murder are roughly 50% white and 50% black, those murdered by the state, have in 80% of cases, (since the DP’s reinstatement in 1976) been where the victim was white. In Mobile, Alabama, 1981, Michael Donald was the last known person lynched by the Ku Klux Klan. The police initially lied that he was the victim of a drug deal gone wrong, though Donald had never taken drugs. It took the efforts of Jesse Jackson to get a rightful conviction. In 1997 Henry Hayes was executed for the crime by electric chair. Prior to that gruesome death, the last time somebody was executed for a white on black crime in the state of Alabama was in 1913. Now they use legalised murder in place of lynching.

Sharon, the commune

1 Comment