Sunday, June 7, 2009

Where is the Smoking Gun

I want to preface that I feel for the family of Patrolman Mark MacPhail and although my heart goes out to them however we would all be remiss if a innocent man is executed for his murder. Wanting to have someone pay for the murder of there son should not outweigh convicting a innocent man. What is at stake is a human life, one who may have spent 20 years on death row .

This has been the second stay of execution for Troy Davis.The facts of this case have been debated for several years now. Seven of the nine witnesses have recanted there testimony. One witness never even testified under oath at the trial. This witness claims that he stated many times over to the Savannah Police of Troy’s innocents and it was only after several hours of interrogation that he signed a affidavit stating Troy Davis as the shooter. The witness then dodges subpoena and fled rather than face Troy Davis in court and testify against him. The DA in this case was allowed to present his statement in as evidence at the trial.Of the two key witnesses who have not recanted their testimony we find one changed his story after being interviewed and another maybe a potential suspect.

Stephen Sanders, was at the scene with his Air Force colleagues at the time of the shooting. Sanders initially told police he could not identify the gunman, but at trial, he testified he saw Davis fire the fatal shots. The other witness whom had not changed their testimony is Sylvester “Redd” Coles, was at the scene and later told police Davis was the shooter. But new witnesses, found by Davis’ lawyers, now say Coles confessed to them that he killed MacPhail. Other witnesses say Coles had a gun immediately after the shooting contrary to what Coles testified at trial.We know according to court records that no DNA evidence was found. There were no fingerprints at the scene of the crime linking Troy Davis to the murder. Lastly there is no murder weapon presented at trial. There have been several hearings over the last several months and now two stays of execution. No physical evidence and 7 witnesses recanting there testimony. We have two witnesses who would most likely be discredited at a new trial.

I am grateful for the support of Troy Davis by Pope Benedict XVI, former President Jimmy Carter, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond M Tutu and the work of Amnesty International. Killing a innocent man does not bring justice to anyone and furthermore keeping him on death row is a travesty in and among itself. All hate crimes are not committed in the streets some are committed in American court rooms.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Curt Gowdy

I have often wondered what was the perfect story. When I was a kid growing up long before the internet and color TV all I had was my transistor radio. It would be way past my bed time and I had this little ear piece plugged into my radio. Fenway Park was a cathedral to every 10 year old in the early 70’s. It was spoken with the same kind of reverence as Notre Dame, the Hall of Independence or the great Pyramids of Egypt them selves. Curt Gowdy was the voice of the Red Sox‘s the Olde Town Team. The one thing I remember, more than anything else, was how I hung onto his every word. Some folks when they are at church can just lean forward in their seat hinging on every word as if Moses was on the pulpit. When the game was on it was as if I could close my eyes and smell the infield grass.

Curt Gowdy was the master story teller. His gift was that he didn’t have to make it up it, just seemed to unfold in front of his eyes and his voice would just describe what he saw. My imagination would run wild as inning after inning and pitch after pitch, I could see the seams on a one hundred mile an hour fast ball coming strait towards my bed. As each batter took a swing, I could feel the air move like a mighty jet soaring through the sky.I could see the third base coach with his hands on his knees and a mouth full of tobacco in his left cheek. I could feel the muscles in the forearms as the hitter gripped his bat and dug his feet into the ground much in the same was a gladiator drew a line in the sand and dared his opponent to cross it. Then just as the silence of the crowd deepened a loud crack cut through the air and I could see the ball just sailing over the left field green monster. Funny thing other kids had night mares of boogey men, werewolves and vampires. I had a green monster in my dreams and the only nightmare was for the opposing left handed pitchers.

No matter what was going on in the world, you could always escape with that transistor radio. It didn’t matter that there was a war in Vietnam or that the streets were full of protesters. I wasn’t old enough to carry a picket sign, nor did I have any idea what corruption was. At ten everyone just kind of patted you on the head and said someday you will understand. The older I get the more I understand and maybe I don’t want to understand, to show you how irony works. I would give anything to be ten years old again. To sit in my room past my bed time knowing my parents were on the other side of that wall. Listening to Curt Gowdy one more time and close my eyes and see all my idols again just the way I remembered them. To hear him one say signing off from Fenway Park with the Red Sox winning four to two this has been Curt Gowdy and goodnight.