Happy Saturday Everyone. Apologies for the delay, had an emergency this week but all is good.
With the Trump Administration and Attorney General William Barr’s Department of Justice recently carrying out executions of, quite literally, some of the most abhorrent criminals I have ever read about, the Death Penalty argument has been discussed within the MSM. Of course, we all know how they are spinning it.
The New York Times this week started off framing the anti-death penalty narrative as “shameful” and that the Department of Justice was “rushing.” The Washington Post, where intelligence goes to die in an echo chamber, their contributor, Mark Berman, eluded to the three executions in four days, as being some sort of bad return to a form of archaic punishment, since it’s the most conducted over “the past three decades.”
There is nothing wrong with executing someone who was convicted of killing five people, including two young kids, and kidnapping and murdering a federal witness, with his criminal girlfriend. They killed the witness’s girlfriend, and her daughters, a six-and ten-year-old. All while doing drug trafficking with his girlfriend. He has been sitting on death row for the better part of three decades. Why? Why did it take so long?
With the Death Penalty now back in the news, it reminded me of a debate which happened awhile back on the Conservative TwitterSphere (for those of us who still have our accounts). The debate was that a conservative could not be both pro-life and pro-death penalty because they are mutually exclusive. While I do see some merits in this argument, I do also believe it holds a few false premises which are inherently contradictory.
I think that being pro-life is to mean one is also a pro-death penalty, which we will get into. I am adamantly pro-life. Since November 3, 2020, is around the corner, and President Trump is the most pro-life POTUS, the record should be set there are no contradictions between his policies against abortion and for executions, in fact, they strengthen one another. The debate floor is open, however.
Our topic of discussion for today is an argument not on merits of the death penalty as a deterrent. We will address that later in this pro-life series. Our argument is that being pro-death penalty is inherently pro-life, the two are not mutually exclusive, and the death penalty, therefore, should be used more often if we are to believe life is inherently valuable, from conception until death. Sounds counter intuitive. It is not. We are thinking about the victim, again. Their life was inherently valuable, and innocent. The criminals was too, until they took a victims in cold-blood.
A recent trend I have seen take flight among my generation and the pro-life movement is that to be pro-life, one must also oppose the death penalty. The reasoning for this is: if one believes that all life has inherent value, then it is hypocritical to support state sanctioned executions of criminals because it is the taking of a life. Even more, I hear from every liberal who is pro-choice that I am a hypocrite for being pro-life and pro-death penalty. That’s all I hear, though.
Which is the most ironic since pro-choice advocates are totally fine with executing innocent babies in the womb by lethal injection or total dismemberment, and not okay with executing cold-blooded murderers in a less painful manner. Alright then.
So, I’m here to attempt to set the record straight on my position.
Supporting the death penalty is pro-life. In fact, to be pro-life, one should be pro-death penalty. Those of us in the pro-life movement do believe that all life has inherent value—which is the exact reason we would execute those abhorrent criminals among us who have desecrated the sanctity of life by taking the life of another human being with premeditated malice aforethought.
That is, they thought about it, knew the victim, planned it, had many opportunities to not murder them, and still did it anyway…because they wanted to murder the victim. And sometimes, from the evidence, we can imply how badly, say if they stabbed someone 57 times or decapitated their dead body, such as Edmund Kemper, did to his mother…
If we are to value life above all and seek to protect the inherent worth in human life, the death penalty reaffirms the idea that life is sacred and should be protected because if someone takes it without reason, with ice in their veins, and thought about it for enough time to make a different decision, such as not murdering the victim; that criminal forfeits their right to life. Rights can be taken, sometimes without reason, as we see it all around us right now during this COVID-19 pandemic. Surely, murdering someone leads to forfeiting the right we uphold most dearly: life.
That’s why life comes first in the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. The Fourteenth Amendment states, “…nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without the due process of law…” “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
As usual, here’s my disclaimer, graphic details ahead.
Pro-life proponents who oppose the death penalty admit that criminals who will be or have been executed have committed the most heinous and atrocious crimes to innocent people. Yet still these people are worthy of living. For instance, Patrick Hauf, a colleague of mine from Lone Conservative, argued in the Washington Examiner that pro-lifers should have opposed the execution of Michael Brandon Samra in Alabama because they are human beings. This may be true, but so were the victims. Innocent human beings.
Michael was executed because he assisted his friend, Mark, in murdering Mark’s entire family in 1997. Mark came up with the plan because his father refused to let him use the truck. Mark fatally shot his father in the head. Michael shot the fiancée in the face, but she didn’t die. She fled upstairs with her daughters to try and save them.
She hid with one of her daughters in a bathroom, while the other daughter hid under a bed. Mark kicked in the door and shot the fiancée, killing her. Out of bullets, he got two knives, then slit the daughter’s throat, leaving her to suffocate to death on her own blood. Both men ran into the other room where, Chelsea, the other daughter, was under the bed. She fought back and resisted being pulled out, but it failed. They pinned her down, and slit her throat, too.
Those are gruesome details, but it is important to have the imagery and think of the victims, we can never forget them. We must never forget why these criminals are being executed. The crimes they committed. The innocent lives they took. And, too, the criminal themselves.
Last year, the Department of Justice was instructed to carry out executions again. These are the criminals to be executed:
|Daniel Lewis Lee, a member of a white supremacist group, murdered a family of three, including an eight-year-old girl. After robbing and shooting the victims with a stun gun, Lee covered their heads with plastic bags, sealed the bags with duct tape, weighed down each victim with rocks, and threw the family of three into the Illinois bayou. On May 4, 1999, a jury in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas found Lee guilty of numerous offenses, including three counts of murder in aid of racketeering, and he was sentenced to death. Lee’s execution is scheduled to occur on Dec. 9, 2019.|
Lezmond Mitchell stabbed to death a 63-year-old grandmother and forced her nine-year-old granddaughter to sit beside her lifeless body for a 30 to 40-mile drive. Mitchell then slit the girl’s throat twice, crushed her head with 20-pound rocks, and severed and buried both victims’ heads and hands. On May 8, 2003, a jury in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona found Mitchell guilty of numerous offenses, including first-degree murder, felony murder, and carjacking resulting in murder, and he was sentenced to death. Mitchell’s execution is scheduled to occur on Dec. 11, 2019.
Wesley Ira Purkey violently raped and murdered a 16-year-old girl, and then dismembered, burned, and dumped the young girl’s body in a septic pond. He also was convicted in state court for using a claw hammer to bludgeon to death an 80-year-old woman who suffered from polio and walked with a cane. On Nov. 5, 2003, a jury in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri found Purkey guilty of kidnapping a child resulting in the child’s death, and he was sentenced to death. Purkey’s execution is scheduled to occur on Dec. 13, 2019.
Alfred Bourgeois physically and emotionally tortured, sexually molested, and then beat to death his two-and-a-half-year-old daughter. On March 16, 2004, a jury in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas found Bourgeois guilty of multiple offenses, including murder, and he was sentenced to death. Bourgeois’s execution is scheduled to occur on Jan. 13, 2020.
Dustin Lee Honken shot and killed five people — two men who planned to testify against him and a single, working mother and her ten-year-old and six-year-old daughters. On Oct. 14, 2004, a jury in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa found Honken guilty of numerous offenses, including five counts of murder during the course of a continuing criminal enterprise, and he was sentenced to death. Honken’s execution is scheduled to occur on Jan. 15, 2020.
Currently, capital punishment is only applicable to first-degree homicide. First-degree homicide is the willful, purposeful, or deliberate and premediated intentional taking of another human’s life with malice aforethought. Malice has a very, very, very powerful and gravity-like definition: the intention or desire to do evil; ill will.
Criminals who commit first-degree homicide are not people who acted negligently or recklessly. These are criminals who had the intent to kill their innocent victims. Like an animal, these criminals hunted their victims like prey. Such as a coyote preying on a bunny, or a cat. Anything less than murder would have left these criminals’ plans incomplete.
WHY SOME PRO-LIFERS ARE ANTI-DEATH PENALTY:
(Later in this series, I will analyze the constitutionality of the death penalty, but the Eight Amendment’s ban on “cruel and unusual” punishments does not apply to lethal injections.)
The argument is we should oppose Michael’s execution because we should allow him, and others on death row, to redeem themselves before they are executed. Honestly, I don’t think it should be up to society to determine, it should be up to the family to forgive them, if convicted of capital punishment by a jury of their peers. They’re victims, too, they lost loves of their lives forever—that’s a long time.
Moreover, an additional “moral standpoint” that is “important to note” is lethal injection is “unnecessarily cruel” as a method that is both “extremely painful” and “ineffective.” Michael’s injection killed him, but the process was “brutal,” a “tortious” 24 minutes.
Cruel and tortious…compared to what, exactly?
What about the unnecessarily cruel acts against the daughters who suffocated on their own blood for five minutes after they just saw their mother and her fiancée fatally shot in the head? What about the family of three who suffocated to death after being tossed in a river? Or the 16-year old girl who was raped then murdered? The two-and-a-half-year-old daughter who was sexually molested and then beat to death by her father?
Executing these criminals by lethal injection is a gift to them. It is the least they have earned.
Moreover, death penalty abolitionists commit a strawman by stating that pro-death penalty advocates say the death penalty is not hypocritical to pro-life principles because it lowers crime and creates an overall sense of justice.
Neither of those outcomes deal with pro-life principles.
The death penalty is about retribution for the fallen victims and their families, a secondary class of victims. It reaffirms that life is inherently valuable by executing the animal-like-criminals who commit these atrocious acts since they have forfeited their right to live. Humans have free will and with actions comes consequences. And with great power, such as the power to take life, comes great responsibility, such as upholding the inherent right to life.
At Medium, it is asked, “how does one reconcile being both pro-life and pro-death penalty? If ‘every live’ [sic] truly is to be protected and worthy of life, then one must spare those society deems as the ‘worst of the worst.’
I’m glad this person asked. Everyone has a right to life, but that right is not absolute. No right is. It is up to individuals to continue being responsible for their rights by not infringing on or injuring others’ rights. That’s a foundational principle of our Federal Constitutional Republic. Defending the position of the absolute right to life would then mean individuals would not be able to defend themselves or their families in a potentially fatal situation if life is absolute.
I’m sure many people do not think that is an appropriate response to someone breaking into your house and threatening to kill your family. Wouldn’t be mine.
Moreover, individuals lose their rights when they infringe on other’s rights. This is the reason we have government. Criminals who infringe on other’s rights are punished and the people whose rights were infringed are allowed to seek justice to make themselves whole.
But, how are we supposed to make someone whole when their life has been taken from them?
In short, being pro-death penalty only reaffirms and strengthens the pro-life arguments, on a moral and philosophical level. If we are to hold the value of life above all else, then those who unjustly take lives must receive the harshest punishments. These are just some of my thoughts, however, I’ll let you decide what to believe.