I did not sleep last night. Before padding up the stairs to bed, I turned on CNN and watched those who’d witnessed the execution of Troy Davis step to the podium, big notebooks clutched to their chests. I listened as each person give his or her account of Mr. Davis’s last hours, last minutes, seconds. And though I don’t know Troy Davis or his family and I don’t really pray, I said a little prayer for them and weeped my way to bed.
I don’t believe in the death penalty. Though I admit that, sometimes, when a horrific crime occurs — with witnesses and confessions and undisputed evidence — I question myself. OJ Simpson comes to mind. Casey Anthony. At 2 and 3 a.m. I was imagining little Caylee Anthony, abandoned in those dark woods, and her mother out in the sunshine living her life. 4 a.m. 5 a.m. Troy Davis is dead.
In the Davis case, the key witnesses all recanted their testimony. How do you put someone to death with that kind of doubt? I can’t sleep, but I figure Casey Anthony is resting in a nice warm bed tonight, and maybe she wakes up thinking she might be due for a salon appointment, should she have eggs or cereal for breakfast?, what will she do with her day….
We have no idea what the hell we’re doing.
This year my friend Charles McLeod published his first novel in the U.K., AMERICAN WEATHER, a brutal satire on our current way of life. One of the big events in the book is a public, televised execution. A fine new way to make millions! Ask yourself, if significant money could be raised by advertising executions — to invest in our schools, get healthcare for children, to put the unemployed back to work — would you watch?
I’ve only read the first 30 pages of this book, but my husband finished it last week and I hope he leaves his comments here later. You can read a review here. This is the publisher’s description:
Meet Jim Haskin. He’s forty years old. He’s worth around thirty-five million. He runs his own San Francisco ad firm, American Weather. AmWe’s image is green, modern and forward-looking: if your product is upcycled or hydro or vegan, they’ll make you an ad. But behind the scenes, Jim manufactures ways to support the old captains of American industry; bleach, beer and guns. But all is not well: Jim’s wife, Denise, has been in a coma for over a year, a state brought on by a drug Jim helped promote. A live-in nurse, a former Salvadorian gang member, helps Jim tend to her. And Haskin’s only child, Connor, has been sent away to a boarding school three thousand miles away, after assaulting a student at his former high school. Orphaned at 14, Jim and his three closest friends grew up at Mr Hand’s Home for Well-Behaved Boys. All have profited from the American dream.
In 2008, on the brink of the Presidential election, the quartet finds themselves short on cash and look to Jim for a solution. The scheme he devises involves a Death Row inmate, pay-per-view television, and most of America’s major corporations. Everything is set for it to be his greatest achievement yet.