It happened 67-years ago this January. It was an occasion that few people take note of or know much about. It was an event meant to be seared into the minds of every American combat soldier serving at the time. It was 1945 and in France the fighting of a World War was fierce.
Eddie and Antoinette Slovik
Eddie, a Polish-American born in 1920, had grown up during the depression on the mean streets of Detroit. A petty thief when 12-years old he was arrested several times and incarcerated twice as a teenager. Released from reform school after a short-term for breaking and entering he was sent to prison for stealing and crashing a car while drunk at 19. Three years later in April 1941 Eddie was once again released. He found work in Dearborn, Michigan and at the age of 22 married Antoinette Wisniewski.
Originally deemed unfit for military service because of his criminal record Eddie was later reclassified and drafted in the Army in January 1944. Times were tough in those days, America needed every able-bodied man it could get. Even an ex-con would do with war raging around the globe. Eight months later, described as frail, timid and somewhat a misfit, definitely not military material, Eddie joined the troops in France as part of the historic 28th Infantry Division.
Two things would play a major role for Eddie and his future. One, he was familiar with prison life and running afoul of the law. And two, he did not want to fight.
Yesterday on Facebook a friend posted a video by T-V judge Greg Mathis with comments about Wednesday night’s execution of convicted killer Troy Davis in Georgia. With the video the person who posted it directed a question specifically to me, and to me only asking my opinion. I was curious and asked, “why me?” Their reply was: I always like to hear [your] point of view whether I agree with it or not. I think [your] smart and intelligent. Well… what can I say to that? Never afraid to express my political opinions on Facebook, and always looking for a writing challenge (those warm subjects) I responded as follows:
To fully address your question would take a lot more words than offered here to do it justice. I don’t intend to get in some ongoing debate about this case with those who all they know is what they read in the newspapers and see on T-V. I can tell you — as a former broadcast news reporter — news reporting is often totally unreliable for a clear picture on complicated matters like murder cases and appeals. Often one needs to dig beyond the reporting. Most aren’t willing to do that. Mix in the notables and cause-celebs who sometimes come out of the woodwork, with questionable motives; add the personal biases and opinions of the reporters themselves, who shape those stories and further cloud the facts and all you have is something worthy of lining the bottom of a birdcage with.
Judge Mathis’ 2 1/2 minute emotionally charged video appeal (which he couldn’t even do without 8 or 9 edits), while appealing to the emotions, runs quite contrary to the real facts (those dirty little facts) that were the Troy Davis case. Mathis’ first point is that Davis “maintained his innocence to the very end.” How many convicted murderers are we aware of that say the same thing? Don’t you know our prisons are full of innocent people? Continue reading