WASHINGTON D.C. (NEXSTAR) – This weekend’s mass shootings are stirring debate over the death penalty.
These are the first mass shootings since the federal government announced it will soon start executions again, after not doing so for nearly two decades.
“I think the death penalty is appropriate.” In El Paso Monday, Texas Senator John Cornyn supported execution for alleged shooter Patrick Crucius who has yet to be charged with any federal crimes.
Last month, Attorney General Bill Barr announced the Justice Department would re-start federal executions ending a 16-year moratorium.
Opponents like Kristina Roth of Amnesty International say the death penalty is expensive, outdated and inhumane.
“It is absolutely very disappointing and upsetting that the administration has made this proposal,” Roth said. “Its been 16 years since there have been any federal executions, and that means two administrations have decided not to execute anyone.”
But supporters say executions either by state governments or the federal government are a useful deterrent.
Cully Stimson, a former prosecutor, argues that some crimes are so horrible, they deserve nothing less than death.
“And I think in a very small select group of cases, the ultimate punishment is the right punishment,” Stimson said. “I know that there are studies out there that suggest its not a deterrent but from my anecdotal experience…it certainly seems to be something the criminal element talk about.”
A punishment that will continue to be debated as executions and the crimes that lead to them continue.