By Isabel Paris || Contributing Writer
This past Saturday, a Pittsburgh synagogue was attacked by an armed man who killed 11 people. Since then, the United States has been revolted, disgusted, and devastated by this hate crime and the loss of citizens, family members, and friends. This atrocity is yet another example of the pattern of gun violence that is prevalent in the United States. According to the Gun Violence Archive, in 2018 there have been 47,980 incidents of gun violence. Of those, 12,180 people have died along with 23,751 injuries (Gun Violence Archive).
In the past, politicians remark on tragedies such as the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting, by calling for revisions on gun control and highlighting how easily guns are approved and distributed in the United States. When President Trump made his remarks on Saturday about the shooting, he repeatedly called for “stiffer” death penalty laws. But President Trump looks towards our death penalty regulations as the answer to this occurrence. He told reporters how awful and tragic the “hate in our country” is and that it is time to “bring the death penalty into vogue” (Vox). President Trump has not been opaque about his views on the death penalty. Dating back to the 1980’s he once took out a full-page ad in the New York Times demanding the death penalty for five boys who were suspects in a brutal rape of a female jogger. In 2014, before he was officially running for the Presidency, he tweeted about the decapitation of a woman in Oklahoma by her co-worker. He wrote that “the animal who beheaded the woman…should be given a very fast trial and then the death penalty” (Vox).
Although President Trump, like many others, wants justice, what does this mean if every time someone steps out of line they are given the death penalty? Of course, criminals must be given harsh and strong punishments for their crimes but what does it mean if our President is a strong proponent of the death penalty. Right now it is perceived that those who commit gun violence and even rape are deserving of this penalty but in five years? Ten years down the road? Will our country look more authoritarian if every criminal is given a “very fast trial and then the death penalty”? Even when some crimes are not equal in severity such as possessing an illegal drug versus a convicted murderer? We can only see how our country progresses following the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting and what the President has in store.
Sophomore Isabel Paris is a Layout Assistant. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.