The Trump Administration Has the Blood of Thirteen Individuals on its Hands

The Trump Administration Has the Blood of Thirteen Individuals on its Hands

Billy Bollbach, Writer

Lisa Montgomery was pronounced dead at 1:31 AM on January 13th. Her execution, which occurred following her murder charges, was authorized by the United States federal government after the Supreme Court denied pleas to reconsider capital punishment as a plausible consequence for her.

A day later on Thursday night, Corey Johnson, who was convicted of seven murders in the 1990s, took his final breath. Just like Montgomery, he was in a federal corrections complex in Terre Haute, Indiana.

In the wee hours of the morning on January 15th, Dustin Higgs, 48, delivered his final words before being injected with lethal toxins that aim to stop the human heart from beating.

Without question, Lisa Montgomery, Corey Johnson, Dustin Higgs, and all the others whom the Justice System has failed should be alive today.

Donald Trump’s administration has permitted the execution of thirteen people in a short span of six months. Before this, there had been no executions for a seventeen year period. More specifically, a female had not been executed in the United States since 1953.

Critics of the use of the death penalty see the details of the inmates’ cases as frivolous, because no matter the situation, government-approved murder should not be employed.

One primary example of why the death penalty should be forbidden is that it is often utilized on those with mental health problems. Axios’s official report on Montgomery’s execution notes that defense lawyers were allegedly arguing eighth amendment violations since the use of capital punishment on a person who did not know the severity of the crime they commited could be deemed as “cruel and unusual.”

The actions of the Justice System have veered far away from its original purpose. No longer does it rehabilitate those who need assistance; instead, it allows opportunities for murder that ends any hope of reintegrating prisoners in society. That is not to say that all felons deserve release from jail — if a situation calls for a life sentence, then so be it. But should the government continue to wield such unregulated power when it comes to the power to end lives?

The death penalty originated centuries ago during the Babylonian empire (which historians believed occur in the eighteenth century BCE). At that time, kings sentenced their people to inhumane endings, such as crucifixion and drowning. Clearly, this barbarian approach is outdated and should not continue to be used in more neoteric times.

The American Civil Liberties Union has also explained the unforeseen consequences of each and every execution. In modern times, these processes act as “super-spreader events”; since each lethal-injection-based-death involves numerous medical examiners, audience members, prison guards, et cetera, these occurrences have effectively spread coronavirus all over the town of Terre Haute, Indiana, and neighboring regions.

More generally, the government spends almost one million dollars every time powerful people believe that someone deserves to die.

Ideas of disproportionality within courts’ rulings also arise. Dustin Higgs was present during the murders of three women, yet he did not harm anyone. In fact, the real perpetrator, Willis Haynes, was not sentenced to death (rather, life in prison).

Not to mention, countless research studies have proven that many innocent people currently reside on death row. From 1973 to 2015, nearly 150 prisoners were released after modern technology was able to clear their names. Luckily, that exoneration occurred before their executions took place. But, out of the over 1,500 executions carried out by the United States since the country’s inception, researchers agree that there it is more than likely that a large percentage of those killed were actually innocent. 

The three most recent uses of capital punishment come at a time where a large shift in political landscape is underway. President-elect Joe Biden, who is set to be inaugurated into the Oval Office on January 20th, has vowed to put an end to the death penalty. If he follows through on his significant promise, the inhumane practices that have been proudly displayed by the government for centuries will cease to exist once and for all.