Social media has changed society.
Last night, the chilling news of the time Troy Anthony Davis died came to me neither from one of the TV news stations I was monitoring nor from the major high-brow traditional newspaper sites I kept checking online.
No, the news came to me first in a Facebook post from southwest Atlanta blogger Kupenda Auset:
"'They can take my body, but they cannot take my spirit.' ~ Troy Anthony Davis. Time of transcendence: 11:08pm. R. I. P."
Like me, Auset was monitoring livestream reports from Democracy Now as well as tweets, Facebook posts and even phone calls from people at the Jackson prison.
Troy Davis is gone but his execution late last night served as a wakeup call to the amazing power our government currently has over our lives.
The everyday citizen in the United States was able to see through social media that the letters, the recants, the three stays of execution, the maintaining of his innocence to the very end was not enough to sway the pardons board, the state supreme court or the highest court in the land.
That was humbling. But there was something else we learned in this saga.
That is the power we do have, moving forward.
Troy Davis had a face and a following but currently, some 3,500 more or less faceless men and women sit on death row and, reports show, there are a range if disparities in the lineup.
Though black Americans make up 12 percent of the U.S. population, half of all people on death row are African-American, according to Amnesty International. Numerous experts have shown that, no matter their race, they also are often from poor backgrounds and are likely to have been victims of abuse and violence in their childhoods.
But, statistics aside, though the vast majority are probably guilty, DNA tests have already proven that some are innocent. That is the sinker for many who oppose the death penalty.
We have power now in our real-time social media networks southwest Atlanta and friends.
So, what will we do about capital punishment in Georgia? In this country? What say you?