Op Ed

Biden Needs to Stop Federal Executions

More executions in Trump’s last six months than in previous 56 years of the presidency.

By - Feb 8th, 2021 01:54 pm
Jail (Pixabay License)

Jail (Pixabay License)

I can’t find any moral reasoning to ever use the death penalty to convey society’s revulsion towards a criminal for an act that has been committed. I do not feel the government has the right to commit someone to death. I have felt this way all of my life.

President Joe Biden is the first person sitting in the Oval Office to openly, and correctly, oppose the death penalty. It was reported this weekend that he has discussed the possibility of instructing the Department of Justice to stop scheduling new executions. Make no mistake: should such a policy move be made it would be a most important step towards modernity.

It would abruptly end what can only be termed a troubling run of executions by the federal government, all during a pandemic that raged inside prison walls and infected journalists who cover such news, along with federal employees who undertake the work. And the pandemic, it needs noting, has even infected those put to death.

The bizarre and absolute soulless push by Donald Trump to execute people is one of the darkest aspects of his wretched term in office. More federal executions were held in the last six months under Trump’s term than in the previous 56 years combined.

Some criminal acts seem so barbaric that some wish to turn to death as a way to make a statement. It’s a natural but base reaction. And laws are made to curtail base reactions of people. While I can understand how upset people can be over the Boston Marathon bombing, as an example, I can not understand those who wish to translate those feelings of anger into a public execution.

As a nation, we must not allow ourselves to taken over by the darker forces that are a part of the human makeup. We must always strive to be better than those in society who have failed so miserably to live up to a certain code of conduct that we all know is the best way to live.

Two steps are needing to be taken by this White House. First, there must be a cessation of scheduling new executions. Secondly, and most importantly there must be a shredding of the death penalty from U.S. statutes.

There is no evidence that the death penalty prevents crime, but there is plenty of evidence to show it is used in a way that allows for minorities and economically disadvantaged people to have a higher chance of being placed on death row. If the death penalty is not a proven deterrent to murder, is it worth the excessive costs, risks of error, uncertainty of completion, and other problems that are inherent to its practice?

I would argue the sole motivating factor behind the death penalty is vengeance. A pure lust for vengeance. That is not how a civilized nation should operate. I do understand, and desire justice be brought for those who commit crimes, but I fail to understand how a government that forbids killing among its citizens should then be in the business of killing on the taxpayer’s dime. There is just no logic to this.

But there is a most logical rationale for ending the death penalty that even conservatives will find acceptable. Since the death penalty is a very costly and inefficient system, ending it will free up resources that then can be used on crime-fighting measures that have proven to be effective. Fiscal responsibility mixed with law and order.

Placing someone in prison for life is the only reasonable way to proceed for those who commit the ultimate crime in our society. Then allow for God to be the final judge on the matter. The government should not be in the business of taking a life.

I hope and believe that President Biden will end this awful policy with the death penalty. It is a stain on our nation.

Gregory Humphrey writes for the Caffeinated Politics blog.

Leave a Reply

You must be an Urban Milwaukee member to leave a comment. Membership, which includes a host of perks, including an ad-free website, tickets to marquee events like Summerfest, the Wisconsin State Fair and the Florentine Opera, a better photo browser and access to members-only, behind-the-scenes tours, starts at $9/month. Learn more.

Join now and cancel anytime.

If you are an existing member, sign-in to leave a comment.

Have questions? Need to report an error? Contact Us