You may have heard about Lisa Montgomery, an inmate who received a lethal injection, and was executed for murder charges. Montgomery was involved in the murder of a pregnant woman (although the baby survived); however, she may have been suffering a psychotic episode due to years spent in an abusive and torturous childhood environment. This suggests that the case needed further exploration. This individual was the 11th person to be killed since Trump resumed federal executions back in July last year – more executions have taken place in Trump’s Fascist regime than in 200 years in American history.
Dustin Higgs, another deathrow inmate, was one of multiple individuals involved in a murder. However, Higgs was the only one who wound up on death row. Higgs has a son and has been playing an active role in his son's life, and also has a cognitive function resembling early adolescent’s – which was not considered in his case. Higgs, along with Corey Johnson (another Black inmate who was executed) suffered from a COVID-19 infection, yet despite this Corey was executed (a torturous and great injustice).
It is important to mention that although these individuals did harm families, why isn’t the same sort of justice sought for individuals like Chris Watts (a White man who murdered his entire family)? These executions are rooted in racism and a corrupt system. A lot of these sentences are associated with racial discrimination. The Central Park Five, which involved Black boys who were at the wrong place at the wrong time, and lost years and years of their lives spending time behind bars represents a different justice system that exists for Black versus White Americans. To add to this, most of the federal death sentences in Virginia, Texas, and Eastern Missouri are people of colour. Are you seeing a pattern here?
The death penalty also needs to go because it is a cold-blooded killing of a human being in the name of justice – violating right to life. For all the individuals claiming to be pro-life when it comes to matters of abortion, let’s keep the same sentiment for these cases as well. Additionally, when valuable evidence and context is not considered you can possibly execute someone who is innocent. For instance, in Montgomery’s case, she was abused and tortured which could have affected her mental state at the time of the crime. Although this evidence can be revisited, Montgomery lost her life and that is irreplaceable.
Overall, these types of executions don’t actually deter crime. American history is rooted in slavery, White supremacy, and anti-Black sentiment. It is important to address the root causes of these issues, rather than labelling individuals and discriminating based on someone’s skin colour, or their ability to afford an attorney. Although we can sign petitions to show our disgust with the system, ultimately reforming the criminal justice system is the way to go to deter crime.