Now that he’s on the way out, I was hoping not to write about Trump and concentrate on holding Biden accountable. But no, lame duck Donald is refusing to go silently and admit defeat. When he does leave, he’ll be taking life with him along the way as his obsession for executing Black people kicks into high gear.
A lifetime ago, before the thought of Trump running for public office entered our gravest thoughts, the Donald posted full page ads in four New York newspapers calling for the execution of four blacks and one Latino for allegedly raping and killing a white female banker. The ads were taken out in the middle of the trial and put huge targets on the backs of the five defendants.
The five teenagers were falsely convicted and imprisoned without DNA evidence for a dozen years, until a serial rapist, with matching DNA, confessed to carrying out the crime himself in 2002. Trump maintains to this day that the five should have received the death penalty.
Knowing his past penchant for the death penalty and executing black people in particular, it’s not hard to figure out how we arrived where we are. During the final weeks of his lame duck presidency, Donald Trump plans to execute four more black men and a mentally unstable woman.
Last year, after a nearly two-decade lapse in federal executions, Attorney General William Barr directed the Federal Bureau of Prisons to clear the way for the federal government to resume capital punishment. The executions began this past summer starting with a homicidal White supremacist.
In a drive to display his tough on crime image before the election, President Trump oversaw the execution of seven individuals of various ethnic backgrounds from July through to election day. The most federal executions under a single presidency since Eisenhower and by far the most since the post-Gregg era began. Trump did it all in 3 1/2 months.
Since his election loss, Trump has seemingly wanted to take out his electoral frustrations by executing black people with terrible vigor. Orlando Cordia Hall was put to death on November 19th and another summer-like wave is underway.
Brandon Bernard is scheduled the same day as International Human Rights Day on Dec. 10. Bernard was convicted of kidnapping and murder in 1999. He was sentenced to death, but Bernard has been a model prisoner, using his time to mentor at-risk youth. Five of the nine surviving jurors who sentenced Bernard to death now believe Bernard’s execution is inappropriate.
Alfred Bourgeois and Cory Johnson are to follow along with Dustin Higgs. Higgs’ court case as is often the case, was not cut and dry. Multiple witnesses testified that Higgs didn’t kill anyone, but The Justice Department argued that Higgs coerced his co-defendant into killing people, even though that co-defendant signed an affidavit saying he was acting under his own actions.
Trump is also set to execute the first woman at the federal level in seventy years. Lisa Montgomery suffers from mental illness after being the victim of gang rape, incest, and child sex trafficking. She killed a pregnant woman in 2004, cut the baby out of the woman and attempted to pass it off as her own.
It’s easy to understand why someone like Trump, an authoritarian wanna-be, would get off on executing black people, or anyone for that matter. It’s all about power. If it can be used against a race of people he cares little for, like we saw in the streets this past summer, all the better.
In an extended effort to make sure these slayings go off without a hitch, the US Justice Department has amended the rules on federal executions to allow the methods of execution to depend on the state in which the sentence was imposed. Therefore, if there are last minute complications with lethal injections, we could see an electrocution, death by poison gas or a firing squad.
The Republican Party has preached for decades on the dangers and overreach of big government when it comes to the economy, firearms, and private property. When it comes to the murder of their own citizens however, big government at it’s worst, they are as gung-ho as can be.
I’ve always been astonished by the speed in which conservatives work to kill in the name of freedom and justice. Either they are ignorant of the racism, prejudice and corruption that can be found in the system that adjudicates us, or they are intentionally part of that system. Trump I would argue, is both.