Reflecting on the first weeks of 2021, it seemed that the United States had become almost unrecognizable to me. On January 6th, five people died in what could best be described as a coup attempt to overturn an election and prevent the peaceful transference of power. This happened during the worst health crisis in over a century, with the US Covid death toll reaching almost 4,000 per day, and surpassing a total of 400,000 dead since the beginning of last year.
Amidst all this carnage, what had gone practically unnoticed was the rush by the Department of Justice since last July to execute more federal prisoners in one year than they had since 1896. In the latter half of 2020, ten federal prisoners had been put to death; this contrasts with the seven executions carried out by the states, a 37-year low. For the first time in US history, the federal government had executed more prisoners than in all of the 50 states combined. Three more condemned were executed in January before the new administration took office. This also broke with a 130-year precedent of pausing executions during a presidential transition.Read More