Sep 222011
Authors: Collegian Editorial Board

After reading yesterday’s news, it’s hard not to wonder: what does 630,000 signatures, the support of Jimmy Carter, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Cee-Lo Green and Big Boi, not to mention the help of hundreds of protesters, really do?

Well, if your name is Troy Davis, pretty much nothing.

Davis, who was convicted of murdering a cop in 1989 and has since been on death row, was executed Wednesday night following more than 20 years of appeals, all while maintaining his innocence.

His case is tragic, but it isn’t necessarily anything special. And until very recently, it has more or less flown under the radar. But with the help of social media and a collective outcry of advocacy groups like Amnesty International, Davis’ case has captured our national imagination, at least temporarily.

Regardless of what you think about how fairly or unfairly Davis was treated, one thing about his execution is tremendously concerning: it proved that no matter what amount of grassroots advocacy a case has, it doesn’t really make a difference.

It doesn’t matter that Amnesty International has collected more than half a million signatures; Troy Davis is still dead. It’s not like our legal system is radically different, or all of society’s problems have been solved.

Injustice happens all the time, but Troy Davis has proved that there’s very little we can do about it.

After all, if more than half a million people can’t stand up to our legal system, who really can? What kind of influence do so-called game changers like social media, Amnesty International and celebrity advocates really have?

If your name is Troy Davis, pretty much none.

And that sucks for pretty much all of us.

 Posted by at 4:36 pm

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