Put yourself in the shoes of a family member of the murdered. How would you feel knowing that the criminal perpetrator would continue their life in prison, to still be fed and clothed and sheltered as you long for the embrace of your lost loved one?
Additionally, what deterrent would exist to prevent another criminal from carrying out this disregard for innocent human life?
Cori Bush, congresswoman-elect, believes that the death penalty has no place in American society, expressing her thoughts in a Time Magazine column.
In the op-ed, Bush reprimands what she feels is a system that has the “power to force death on any human being.” She mentioned the recent execution of Brandon Bernard, 40, who died by lethal injection after serving time in federal prison after being convicted of two counts of murder in the kidnapping of a Texas couple.
The congresswoman-elect continues, arguing that Joe Biden’s “most effective tool” would be to grant clemency for everyone on federal death row.
Should this include Lisa Montgomery, who fatally strangled a pregnant woman and removed the baby to keep as her own? Montgomery not only killed a woman but separated a child from its mother. What example should be set for this?
Bush’s column joins the vast public outcry surrounding Bernard’s death. Among those voices was Kim Kardashian West, who said Bernard should not be executed because he was “18 at the time” “was not the shooter” and helped at risk youth during his time in prison. She pleaded, though unsuccessfully, with the White House to reduce Bernard’s sentence.
If only the scenario were that simple.
It turns out Bernard was not the shooter. But according to the DOJ, the kidnapped husband and wife were locked in a trunk of a car and then later shot. Bernard, along with another accomplice, set the car on fire. The wife was still alive, but unconscious, resulting in her dying from smoke inhalation.
It seems that many of those who strongly oppose capital punishment seem to focus on the fact that the individual did not pull the trigger. Have we forgotten the other ways that a person could be murdered? Or is gun violence the actual target?
Additionally, from where does this desire to protect the murderer emerge? Where is the outcry for justice and protection of our citizens? The notion is insensitive at best. And though loved ones of the lost may or may not agree that execution is the answer, we must understand why a serious a punishment as this is even in place.
Many argue that this route is immoral, but to whom? Few can sufficiently argue against why the lack of regard for human life shouldn’t come at a cost of one’s own. The most common retort is that “two wrongs don’t make a right.” But if one wrong isn’t severely punished, there will be many more wrongs committed. The last thing we should try is abolishing the death penalty. Because once the consequence is eliminated, the example for good becomes even harder to set.
Bernard’s last words were “I’m sorry.” “I wish I could take it all back, but I can’t.” These are words of a man who understands the gravity of his actions. He wished he could take it all back.
For the fear of losing one’s own life should be strong enough to dissuade any notions to attempt murder — at least in one’s own right mind. And at the very least it should trigger repentance — hopefully toward God. After all, is the preservation of innocence — of others and of one’s own — no longer a virtue? And should someone commit the grave sin of murder, is it through Jesus Christ that we are granted salvation, or the state?
So if we are to cry compassion and vouch for the sanctity of human life, let’s express our compassion in a righteous manner — by abolishing a culture that celebrates murder of the innocent at all.