By Matthew Whalan
October 5, 2011
There is an African American man named Jimmy Davis Jr. who sits in a cell in Alabama, in the Holman Correctional Facility in Atmore on death row. He was charged with capital murder for the shooting and killing of Johnny Hazel, a Direct Oil service station attendant during an attempted armed robbery at around 7:15 P.M. at 20th and Noble streets in Anniston, Alabama, on March 17th, 1993.
Davis was sentenced to death in 1994, seventeen years ago, and has been sitting on death row ever since. Every day he waits: he waits for verdicts and appeals and information and ultimately, he waits and wonders if he will live outside of his current confinement again.
A running theme in this country is that it advertises its “freedom.” Many people may see freedom in the form of a good job, a good house, family, an American flag under the porch light, football for three hours every Sunday. Others may see it as the opposite; living within one’s self, examining the self, finding love, living deeply. For some freedom comes in the form of free speech or democracy. The list goes on.
But Jimmy Davis Jr. and others in his situation exercise the bravest form of freedom there is; the freedom to live. He lives in a ten foot by ten foot or so space, many want him dead, and many do not even know that he is alive, but he breathes and waits every day of his life. He lives in spite of the condemnation that the United States “justice” system may throw at him. He lives simply for life itself. That is freedom.