descent into depravity

Yesterday, the United States almost had its first federal execution since 2003. The scheduled execution was halted by a last minute ruling that questioned whether the intended pentobarbital method constituted cruel and unusual punishment.

Late yesterday, the Supreme Court expedited things in a whirlwind, handing over a 5-4 decision at 2 a.m. allowing the execution to proceed. The dissenting justices question the constitutionality of capital punishment.

Why, after all these years, and in the midst of a ‘pandemic’ where everyone breathlessly watches daily death counts in manifest fear, is the federal government aggressively pursuing the death penalty? 

It solves nothing in any given case. It can only be designed as a demonstration of the absolute and brutal power the government is prepared to wield against its own citizenry, and serves to engender a climate of fear — as if we don’t have enough of that going around. This, while giving societal ills the brush-off.

There is no man or woman who can properly sit in judgment with the power to dole out death. Aside from the fundamental moral void of such a presumption, we have seen far too many instances in which “justice” has been delivered to the wrong person. It is a revolting hubris that presumes the power to deliver death in judgment. It is depraved. It is all the more barbaric in the hands of a government so assiduously courting the disaffection of the people on so many fronts.

Last night’s ruling paves the way for four executions in the near term death queue, with more on the calendar later this year. Given that there have been three federal executions carried out since 1963, this is a disturbingly enthusiastic leap back into this sickening protocol. According to the Bureau of Prisons, a total of 37 federal executions took place since 1927 — that’s a span of almost 100 years. The administration plans to make up for lost time, apparently.

No. Stop. It is time to absolutely abolish the death penalty, both at the federal and state level. It is time to halt our descent into further depravity.

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