The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

The Death of a Cop-Killer

Posted on | September 22, 2011 | 26 Comments

I haven’t blogged about last night’s execution of convicted Georgia cop-killer Troy Davis, in part because Ann Coulter and Ace of Spades already said pretty much what needed to be said. There isn’t really any need for me to dogpile the story except to observe that, even if you have doubts about the death penalty in general, executing cop-killers seems necessary to a civil society.

When a violent criminal is confronted by police, do we want the criminal to surrender peacefully? Or do we want every arrest to turn into a violent struggle in which the police officer’s life is at risk? If the policeman’s safety is not worth defending by the strongest possible penalties, no one’s life is safe — not even the criminals the policeman pursues.

Think about it: If the cop knows a rapist or armed robber is likely to shoot him, why shouldn’t the cop just shoot first, claim self-defense and be done with it?

Imposing the death penalty on cop-killers sends a very important message to criminals: When you see a policeman’s badge and uniform, don’t even think about trying to escape by shooting the cop.

If Officer Mark MacPhail had simply opened fire — instead of yelling “stop” — when he saw Troy Davis pistol-whipping a homeless man, then Officer MacPhail might today be looking forward to retirement and fishing with his grandchildren, while Davis would have been just a dead criminal, instead of a liberal cause célèbre.

Ginned-up arguments asserting that Davis was wrongly convicted do not hold up under critical scrutiny, and arguments in favor of mercy for cop-killers . . . Well, go tell it to the Pope. Don’t try that argument in Georgia. (CNN headline: “World Shocked by U.S. Execution of Troy Davis.” To which Georgia may reply, “F–k the world.”)

So the moral of the story is, don’t kill a cop in Georgia.

But I didn’t plan to write about the Troy Davis execution. Then I saw Mike Elk’s bizarre column in the progressive journal In These Times:

Last night at 11:08, Troy Anthony Davis was executed in the State of Georgia for the 1989 murder of a police officer. . . .
Last year on April 5, 29 miners died in a methane explosion caused by poor ventilation at the Upper Big Branch Mine in Raleigh County, W.Va. . . .
Despite this evidence of the willful violation of safety laws that could have prevented the miners’ deaths at Upper Big Branch, and despite evidence of widespread lying to federal investigators by Massey officials, CEO Don Blankenship is a free man allowed to enjoy the splendorous life of a multi-millionaire. . . .
Power and influence have clearly distorted the scales of the justice system when men like Troy Davis are executed in the face of questionable evidence of their guilt, while corporate CEOs like Don Blankenship, who evidence shows clearly and willfully disobeyed safety laws, causing the deaths of 29 workers, are allowed to go about sailing on their yachts.
I only wonder what would have been the Supreme Court’s reaction to a request for stay of execution, had the petitioner been a rich white man named Don Blankenship instead of a poor black man named Troy Davis.

Perhaps you need to fine-tune your analogy there, Mr. Elk, because I’m having a hard time seeing the equivalence. Don Blankenship might be culpable in this terrible accident, but it was still an accident, unlike the cold-blooded murder of Officer MacPhail.

Liberals want mercy for the criminal who pistol-whipped a homeless man in a Burger King parking lot and killed the cop who tried to stop him. But corporate executives? DEATH TO THE CAPITALIST PIGS!

Meanwhile, Alec Baldwin goes nuts on Michelle Malkin.

Is Baldwin another “rich white man” deserving of death?

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Comments

  • Joe

    To say only liberals questioned this execution is bullshit.  I support the death penalty.  But I would have not implemented it in this case. 

    Even Ace had this link today:  http://www.skepticaljuror.com/2011/09/yellow-and-white-case-of-troy-anthony.html

    And this commentary from Ace: 

    I don’t know. It’s a lot more convoluted and messy than I first thought. And in this situation — a cop murdered sadistically by a gun-wielding member of a two-man wolfpack — I can imagine cops making a lot of threats to get a conviction.
    It’s the classic two-man murder, one is guilty, and one is actually innocent (except for things that aren’t capital offenses, like palling around with killers).
    And which is which?
    Coles rushed to the police station the next morning to implicate Davis in the murder.
    Does that mean Coles was actually innocent?
    Or does that mean Coles was smart enough to realize that someone was going to hang for this, and better to get the police focused on Davis?

    Because I am a conservative and I believe human beings are very falible (and so is government), I am less inclined to just rubber stamp every conviction and death warrant as justified.  Most undoubtably are justified, but people screw up sometimes.  I was not arguing to let Davis go.  But I did believe his execution should have not gone forward with this sort of evidence and questions raised. 

    But since it is over now, I hope he really did the murder and deserved this sentance.  Because if he didn’t, it would be a bad. 

  • Joe
  • Joe

    And I am not disagreeing about the general policy issue of seeking the death penalty for cop killers.  Of course that can back fire like in the case of Corey Maye.  Because cops tend not to be the most impartial truth seekers when it is a cop who has been shot.  Emotions come into play.  That is normal but we need to recognize that. 

    And obviously there is a lot of hypocrisy on the left (the analogy of this execution and a mine accident is crazy).  Note how not many of them got down to Texas to protest the execution of James Byrd’s murderer.  If you are universally opposed to it being used, why not argue clemancy for some white racist? 

    Nor do I disagree Alec Baldwin is over the top.  But hey, given how he treats his own daughter is it any surprise he is over the top with Michelle Malkin?  Clearly the guy has issues with women in general.  I am sure Kim Bassinger can expand on that.  More leftist hypocrisy. 

  • Anonymous

    We need to streamline the process and bring back public hangings.

  • CalMark

    Some famous statesman once said, “Executions should be done in public, or not at all.” 

    THAT is where you REALLY get the deterrent factor.  Which explains why liberals are so dead-set against public executions:  makes it easier to claim falsely that execution “has no deterrent effect.” 

  • Pingback: The Troy Davis Execution And The Questions That Remain - The POH Diaries

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/EU5DQWQTTHTPO4A4ZYSL3AAV2U Adjoran

    There was NO DOUBT at all in this case, and the bogus coverage was extremely misleading.  Instead, read the federal ruling on the habeous writ hearing, where the affidavits of “recanting” witnesses were presented (NONE were called to testify, although only one was deceased and two were actually in the hallway of the courthouse, because Davis’ attorneys knew they could not stand up under cross-examination).

    The ruling is long and deals first with the law and the facts of the case in meticulous detail.  On page 127 (of the numbering of the scanned pages, not the PDF numbering), the ruling discusses the affidavits one by one in detail and considers NONE of them worth consideration – for very good reasons.

    http://tinyurl.com/3ho6ycs

    Those are the FACTS.  Davis was guilty as sin.  It’s one thing to oppose the death penalty, but it is just a LIE to claim there was any doubt of his guilt whatsoever.  There was not, and is not.

  • Joe

    I respectfully disagree (I do not disagree about your analysis of the evidence or the legal bearing of the affidavits, the court says what it said).  But  there was doubt as to whether it was Davis or Coles shot the officer.  I suppose you could argue that both deserved to be executed, but that is not the law.  And there was doubt whether Davis was the one, not enough to acquit him of the crime, but enough to have stayed the execution. 

    I am not lying.  Neither is Ace (who at least acknowledges there are real issues here).  Neither are other reasonable people who opposed or at least had serious concerns about this execution. 

    And I hope you are right that this was just some defense lawyer last chance legal tactic.  Because I do not want to see people executed who do not deserve it. 

  • http://profiles.google.com/kubby.communications Thomas Knapp

    Actually, most death penalty opponents I know FAVOR public executions, on the premise that if the public sees the executions, the public will stop supporting the executions.

    I’m not that optimistic — the American public seems more inclined to blood sport, etc., than Rome at its most decadent — but I don’t ever recall talking to a liberal death penalty opponent who was “dead set against public executions.”

  • JeffS

    I expect that lefties (which includes self-styled “liberals”) would be happy to execute someone if it suited their agenda.

    Or if that person was a conservative.  Just because.

  • Anonymous

    I’ll not argue that we are more moral than Rome but I suspect we are a tad less bloodthirsty probably not by much.

  • Anonymous

    The defense team and the other supporters had far longer to persuade the witness than the state did. This wrangle has been going on for twenty years, through the terms of two Democratic and the current Republican Governors, yet none of them interceded. The arguments for doubt of his guilt simply wasn’t compelling enough to interfere with the verdict from a Jury of his peers. There simply isn’t any compelling evidence that the system failed.

  • Anonymous

    No doubt, they’d like to start with warming skeptics.

  • Anon Y. Mous

    …even if you have doubts about the death penalty in general, executing cop-killers seems necessary to a civil society.

    I disagree. What if the police officer who called out to Davis, as Davis was pistol whipping the vagrant, had instead been just some random citizen passing by? He calls out to Davis, Davis begins to run away, then turns and fires at the citizen. After the citizen is down, Davis comes and fires a few more rounds into his body.

    Would that crime be any less horrendous because the dead man wasn’t wearing a badge? I don’t think so. There should be no difference under the law between killing an agent of the state as opposed to killing one of the citizenry. Both are terrible crimes that should be punished in an even-handed way.

  • chuck coffer

    “But  there was doubt as to whether it was Davis or Coles shot the officer.

    Doubt stemming from what? Some contrived, fantsyland  theory that the two traded clothes?

    Total bullshit.

  • http://twitter.com/ThatChristyChic Christy Waters

    As a Georgia resident, I’ve been enduring the Troy Davis saga for a long time. Glad he’s finally taking the eternal dirt nap… well-deserved, and long overdue. The people that protested on his behalf don’t care about Davis. He was just used as a prop in the anti-death penalty movement (one of the libs’ favorites).
     
    As for Alec Baldwin, he’s got his head stuck so far up his own anal cavity, that he wears his ass on his shoulders… he’s irrelevant.

  • DaveO

    Davis was convicted on August 19, 1989. From that day to this, he and his lawyers failed to overturn the conviction, sentence, trial, and so on.

    If he is innocent, he has been judged and is in a far better place than any of us deserve.

    If he is guilty of the murder of Officer McPhail, he has been judged and has just begun paying for his crime. 

  • Rcocean

    Pretty soon Joe will be telling us he’s a “life-long Republican”.  The man was guilty and had 20 years, and God knows how many levels of review to prove his innocence. 

    He deserved to die. Case closed.

  • CalMark

    I’m going by the fact that about 100 years ago, progressives (as Leftists called themselves) banned public hanging.

    So now they’re saying they’d favor public executions as a “deterrent.”  Even though deterrents, according to them, don’t work.  I think it’s a smokescreen.  Like it’ll ever happen–some leftie judge would stop it, just like everything else they don’t like.

  • CalMark

    There were pictures of liberals jumping up and down and hugging each other when Timothy McVeigh was executed.  And they say conservatives are bloodthirsty and uncompassionate!

    Suddenly, just for a moment–because the Left had smeared conservatives by labeling McVeigh as one of us–their hatred of executions was somehow suspended.  And there was no talk about “are we sure this is the right thing to do?”

    Now it’s back full force, even for the perpetrators of 9/11. 

    Hm.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/EU5DQWQTTHTPO4A4ZYSL3AAV2U Adjoran

    Nobody wants to see anyone executed who does not deserve it.  I think we’d agree the crime, where the killer didn’t flee when the cop went down, but fired twice more and pretty much blew his face off, probably qualifies, so the only question is who was the killer.

    There is no question among the witnesses about the shooter:  he was the one in the white shirt, not the yellow.  No one has recanted anything about that.  “Well, I could have been wrong 20 years ago” is NOT a “recantation,” especially if not subjected to cross examination.

    Every single “recanting” affidavit also alleges police coercion, even of initial interviews.  Since the original testimony of many of these witnesses was conflicting or obviously inaccurate in some details, the police weren’t able to “coerce” definitive testimony or coordinate the stories of the intimidated.  It’s a laughable charge, and one the federal court mocks.

    There were 34 witnesses against Davis at trial, not nine.  From those, after 20 years of silence, his attorneys were able to produce seven affidavits, one not notarized, none of which actually “recanted” any prior testimony by saying it was false.  The only two which “recanted” a material fact, under the law, were available to give testimony and be cross examined at Davis’ hearing, but he chose not to call them as witnesses, though they were both in the hall under subpoena.

    It should be noted also that these “recantations” are of recent vintage, and are so dubious as to attract the scorn of the court. 

    Read the whole thing.  There is no doubt the guy was guilty.  Are we also to pretend the excluded evidence of the gun and discarded clothing doesn’t even exist?  It’s fair and legal it not be used to convict him in the first place, because the police searched without a warrant and could not substantiate exigent circumstances for doing so, but are we really going to pretend he could be innocent?

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/EU5DQWQTTHTPO4A4ZYSL3AAV2U Adjoran

    Note also Davis was placed at the scene of the Cloverdale shooting earlier that evening, not only at the party but at the hedge the shots were fired from, wearing a white shirt with a Batman logo, by several other witnesses.  It doesn’t prove he shot McPhail hours later, but it does put him in the white shirt, not the yellow, as did every account from every witness at the time.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/EU5DQWQTTHTPO4A4ZYSL3AAV2U Adjoran

    No, you are wrong about Joe.  He’s a good lad and a strong conservative, he just fell in with the wrong crowd on this one.  Never underestimate the power of the Compassionate Side. 

    On the death penalty, it is always best to err on the side of caution so we do not unwittingly execute the innocent. 

    In this case I am fully convinced of the guilt of the condemned man and that the crime was sufficiently vile and depraved to merit the ultimate penalty (absent any extenuating factors; none were offered).  Joe is not.  I believe our difference is not a philosophical one, but due to multiple versions of the facts of this case being suddenly propounded about.

    In my zeal to convey what I perceive as the relevant facts to him, I tend to act like that crazy uncle who wants you to believe he was at Inchon when he was only seven at the time but keeps shoving old clippings in your face until the musty dust from the mold in the aged pages clogs your mind, and you pretend you are anywhere but there.

    NTTAWWT.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah you gotta keep an  eye on them compasionates.

  • Quartermaster

    It’s an unfortunate “bad fact” that Police are some of the biggest scoff laws in our society. They rank right up there with Judges and Prosecutors. I would be more comfortable if those three classes were more upstanding and actually upheld the law, but Prosecutorial misbehavior is almost a given in every case that reaches the criminal bar, and Police think that wearing a badge makes them a class apart with the privilege of ignoring the laws us mere mundanes have enforced on us.

    Having said that, no one should be able to murder with impunity. I don’t care who Davis’ target was, he should die if he killed them. The business that we *must* kill them if they kill a cop does not do justice to the rest of us.

    Rarely do we get justice these days. In NC a guy shot and killed a Highway Patrolman because the hiway cop stopped him for not having a tag on a trailer he was pulling. All the crook got was life without parole for a killing done in cold blood. That it was a cop that got killed was no worse an assault on society than if it had been a homeless man being robbed in the park.

  • Anonymous

     I don’t remember exactly but up north someplace where they don’t have the death penalty a guy serving a life sentence for murder overpowered, raped and murdered a woman prison guard. And that is why we need the death penalty for at least some murderers.

     I will note that there was not a peep when we Texans executed one of the murderers of James Byrd the same night that this Davis scumbag was done in. Oh, and don’t forget, the clothes that had Officer McPhail’s blood on them were found in Davis’ laundry. That was excluded, something about the search being wonky. If that had NOT been McPhail’s blood you can bet the defense would have used it to prove the white shirt wasn’t on the guy that shot McPhail.