This is not a civilized society. A civilized society would not look at a man born with fetal alcohol syndrome, a man with an IQ under 70, a man who was intellectually disabled, missing a fifth of his brain, who took three lives while high on drugs, and decide to execute him. No. A civilized society would be one rooted in community care, one that would have given someone born into these circumstances support--one that would especially care for its most vulnerable citizens instead of using them as scapegoats while their rulers and "public servants" engage in violence every single day without repercussions.
The murder of Ernest Johnson yesterday by the state of Missouri still has me reeling. My governor refused to pardon a man with intellectual disabilities, but are we really surprised? My governor also refused to issue mask orders, to put public safety first, to expand Medicaid, to do SO many things that would save lives in my state. How many lives he's cost us with his actions and power remains unknown but it's far greater than the number one vulnerable man took.
The irony isn't lost. Law enforcement officers and the military are ordered to take lives daily. We live in an incredibly violent culture where guns are prioritized over kids in schools, mental health is blamed instead of the weapons and yet we refuse to fund universal healthcare. Politicians offer empty thoughts and prayers while they continue to take checks from the people who fund gun programs and the cycle continues. They force people to give birth, they attack trans kids, they put drug offenders in jail while corporations continue to perpetuate environmental terrorism and poverty and cause the deaths of millions of people without repercussion... and they murder vulnerable people--particularly vulnerable Black men--to give everyone the illusion that there's some kind of justice in the system.
There is no justice through murder. Justice would be through social programs to help people like Ernest, to prevent violence by making sure everyone has mental healthcare, physical healthcare, good food and a place to live. Justice would be creating an actual society where people care about one another and instead of worrying about bills or food, they all pitch in because their needs are met and they can. They can focus on building healthy communities because they don't have rumbling bellies or support or the worry that are all carefully maintained to keep people from thriving.
The people calling for Ernest's death sentence to be carried out yesterday proved that we need not look far to see why this violence continues. And it will continue until we decide we've seen enough blood and enough inequity, particularly the legal kind carried out here on a daily basis.