Standing on the gallows with my head in a noose. Any minute now I’m expecting all hell to break loose.
Troy was in trouble in 2011. Innocent, but on Death Row… so we circulated a petition.
Lots of heartbeats spent, but it was worth all the time and energy and money that went into gathering those signatures. For we got a million plus. To save Troy’s innocent life and our innocence.
Signed Angela Davis and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
Pope Benedict XVI too.
Former president Jimmy Carter, former peanut farmer in the Peach State… Georgia where Troy was residing. Siding with us too were six conservative Georgia politicians who were — formerly — for capital punishment. Including one who was in office at the time, and really had something to lose. Ditto for former U.S. Congressman from Georgia Bob Barr and former FBI Director William S. Sessions.
Me too, of course. And the entire Carter family and their many friends.
A million folks — more — signed it, and we were very careful to hand in the petition properly… on time, all our ts crossed, is dotted.
The thing is, when I put my John Hancock on the dotted line I had no intention of letting my signature be the primary or exclusive means for saving Troy’s life. I have deep roots in Georgia on my mom’s side, and so I planned to offer up a supplement for the many hard won signatures. Such was necessary.
I went behind the scenes, calling in all the cards I could… drawing upon favors long owed. Wound up, I wound up putting my life and the life of my first born on the line. Offered a year of service to the state of Georgia, and my first born did likewise… without knowing that I had brought her into the loop. That risk, that gesture made NOT to get Troy out of Death Row. Rather, to merely get him another hearing. A postponement maybe. Something with a bit of life bite to it. Anything.
But the fact that I had crossed paths with Governor Lester Maddox as a young boy didn’t cut the muster with Nathan Deal. I couldn’t cut a deal.
They killed Troy on my 69th birthday.
But I’m older now, I know better. In such situations one has to have a Plan C. In 2011, Plan A was circulating the petition and making sure that great numbers were handed in to the powers that be. Plan B was that necessary supplement. Plan C could have been the preparation of yet another supplement that might make a difference.
Never ever get in deep without a Plan C.
Standing on the gallows with my head in a noose. Any minute now I’m expecting all hell to break loose. ‘Cause — so help me God! — we will put an end to the Death Penalty in the U.S.A.
Richard Martin Oxman is the founder of the Oxman Collective. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.