Donald Trump has said and done a lot of things that, at least to liberals like myself, demonstrate his lack of moral fortitude. I admit that morals are constantly changing as human values change and thus, what is immoral today may be righteous tomorrow. However, there is one thing I have in mind that I cannot ever see being justified: capital punishment.
Let me be up front in saying that capital punishment is murder hidden under the guise of punishment, implying that it’s justified. In fact, you could argue it’s worse than regular murder; for it’s one thing to kill another human amidst passion and emotion and another to coolly deduce, "Yes, this person deserves to die."
But this is exactly what Trump and some of his fellow Republicans want to do. Their reason for doing so? To stop the opioid crises and the overwhelming amount of drug overdoses -- their logic being that by introducing capital punishment for drug trafficking, dealers would be deterred from trafficking in the first place and thus reduce the number of fatal drugs available to the population.
Now, to be fair, Trump did propose other steps needed to help alleviate the opioid crisis, but it’s apparent that Trump is fixated on tougher sentences for criminal activity. By putting so much emphasis on criminal reform, Trump is implying that this opioid crisis is a legal matter but, in reality, drug addiction is a mental health issue, or should at least be treated as such.
This is, morals aside, why I have such a problem with Trump putting emphasis on the drug traffickers instead of the people purchasing and using the drugs. The goal should be to help people recover from addiction and prevent the conditions that make people want to use fatal drugs like opioids in the first place.
You can imagine how counterproductive I believe it is to focus on the people distributing the drugs rather than the people taking them. This is not to say distributing opioids isn’t a problem, but even if drug traffickers were somehow to stop, this does nothing to address why people use drugs in the first place.
To address the real problem is foreign to people like Trump and Jeff Sessions who, quite literally, know nothing about drugs and drug abuse. If they did, they would maybe have some empathy towards drug users and realize that people often use drugs--especially ones as potent as opioids--to deal with their current problems. In this respect, drug abuse is similar to suicide and is just one reason why it should be considered a mental health issue.
Given the obliviousness (or perhaps intentional ignorance would be a better term), of this administration, I’m not surprised that they lack the necessary empathy to fix the problems of the average American. That being said, it’s still incredibly disheartening to see our supposed leader proudly talk about murdering drug traffickers in the name of justice and equally disheartening, if not more, to see people applaud him for doing so.