William Barr Says It’s Time to Put Mass Shooters and Cop Killers to Death
In a speech before the Fraternal Order of Police conference on Monday, Attorney General William Barr advocated a tough-on-crime position that enthralled the New Orleans crowd while contradicting much of the current political tide towards reforming criminal justice.
Barr, who has been a notable proponent of tough crime legislation since his 1990s run in the DOJ, said that his department was currently developing a bill that would expedite the death penalty for both mass murderers and those who kill police officers.
“This administration will not tolerate violence against police, and we will do all we can to protect the safety of law enforcement officers,” said Barr. “I will share with you one proposal that we will be advancing after Labor Day. We will be proposing legislation providing that in cases of mass murder, or in cases of murder of a law enforcement officer, there will be a timetable for judicial proceedings that will allow imposition of any death sentence without undue delay.
“Punishment,” he continued, “must be swift and certain.”
In addition to this announcement, Barr lamented the cultural turn against police officers.
“The thin blue line is getting thinner,” he warned.
Barr reserved scorn for protesters in New York City who doused cops with water, but he also went after recently-elected progressives who have won district attorney elections in cities like Chicago. He blasted these Democrats as “demoralizing to us in law enforcement and dangerous to public safety.” Barr said that these “district attorneys that style themselves as social justice reformers” were set to “spend their time undercutting the police, letting criminals off the hook, and refusing to enforce the laws.”
We’re certain that President Trump would co-sign much of what Barr said in his speech, although the president has also advocated the kinds of reform that would seem contrary to his attorney general’s position. Barr has not spoken out about last year’s bipartisan federal criminal justice bill, which curbed mandatory minimums and handed judges more leeway in determining sentences, but it doesn’t feel like he would have been an enthusiastic proponent.
In a speech this year, Trump said of the reform: “Americans have always believed in the power of redemption – that those who have fallen can work toward brighter days ahead. My administration is committed to helping former prisoners reenter society as productive, law-abiding citizens.”
Of course, there’s a whole lot of daylight between reducing sentencing terms for federal drug crimes and determining the right path forward for cop killers and mass shooters. If the DOJ can strike the right balance, it could give us a perfect mixture of tough-on-unthinkable-crime policies and redemptive solutions for those who made a mistake. The end goal is a safer society, and we’re certain that both Barr and Trump see that clearly.