Last summer, Donald Trump’s immoral, murderous regime was allowed by right wing justices to move forward with its plans to kill as many people currently in federal custody as it can get away with, bringing to an end a seventeen year hiatus in the use of the death penalty by federal officials.
Trump’s punishment-obsessed subordinates promptly sprang into action and got the Bureau of Prisons’ Indiana-based death chamber ready for slaughter.
As of this weekend the Trump regime had, in a few short weeks, executed ten people via lethal injection in Terre Haute. Sickeningly, the regime has even more executions planned before January 20th, 2021, when Trump’s term ends.
- Daniel Lewis Lee (July 14th)
- Wesley Ira Purkey (July 16th)
- Dustin Lee Honken (July 17th)
- Lezmond Charles Mitchell (August 26th)
- Keith Dwayne Nelson (August 28th)
- William Emmett LeCroy (September 22nd)
- Christopher Andre Vialva (September 24th)
- Orlando Cordia Hall (November 19th)
- Brandon Bernard (December 10th)
- Alfred Bourgeois (December 11th)
- Lisa Montgomery (Scheduled January 12th)
- Cory Johnson (Scheduled January 14th)
- Dustin John Higgs (Scheduled January 15th)
No president in the last century has overseen as many executions as Trump, and no president has overseen as many executions as Trump has in a single year.
“According to the Espy file, a database of executions in the U.S. and its colonies between 1608 and 2002, the ten executions since July 14th constitute the most federal civilian executions in a calendar year since the federal government executed sixteen civilian prisoners in 1896, during the second presidency of Grover Cleveland,” the Death Penalty Information Center reports.
While Trump doles out pardons to his buddies and backers, his minions are using the resources of the United States government to kill people, because they can.
Other federal inmates, meanwhile, are dying of COVID-19, the novel coronavirus, just like hundreds of thousands of their fellow Americans, because the Trump regime isn’t interested in instituting public health measures to combat the virus.
Few of Trump’s many enablers seem the slightest bit bothered by all of this death, even though they proudly call themselves “pro-life”.
To their credit, the often out of touch Catholic bishops who are obsessed with denying Americans reproductive freedom did speak out forcefully in support of church teaching, insisting that Trump and Bill Barr stop the slaughter.
Trump and Barr have ignored the bishops’ demand.
“We’ve asked many times to stop the federal executions,” said Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City in a statement. “In fact, last Advent, three bishops wrote that the resumption of federal executions was at odds with this season of anticipated redemption. But the executions resumed. Eight since July. Two more this week. Three in January. A new regulation will permit federal execution by means other than lethal injection, such as the electric chair.”
“What does the birth of our Lord say to this? The Lord comes not to destroy, but to save. For the Second Sunday of Advent, we hear St. Peter counsel that the Lord ‘is patient with you, not wishing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance’ (2 Pt. 3:9). Can we follow the Lord’s example?
“We are all sinners. Some have done terrible things. Victims need help. Justice is needed for peace. But executions solve nothing,” Coakley observed.
Nearly every nation around the world has outlawed the practice of putting people to death. But the United States, indefensibly, has not. We talk about human rights while operating death chambers. It’s just awful.
Fortunately, progress has been made on abolishing the death penalty at the state level. In 2018, a few months after NPI announced its finding that sixty-nine percent of Washingtonians prefer life in prison alternatives to the death penalty, the Washington State Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional the law permitting executions and converted all death sentences to life sentences.
The now-unenforceable death penalty statute does remain on the books, although the Senate has repeatedly voted to get rid of it. (Getting the bill through the State House will be an NPI legislative priority in 2021.)
In addition to the federal government, twenty-eight states still have the death penalty, including Oregon, Idaho, and Montana. Alaska, however, does not: the Last Frontier has maintained a pro-abolition stance since 1957.
It is our fervent hope that the executions ruthlessly carried out by the Trump regime will galvanize support for new laws ending the death penalty.
It’s 2020. It’s time for this country to be the human rights leader it claims to be. It’s time for the death chambers to be demolished. It’s time for abolition.