That’s not my assessment, although I certainly do agree with it (OK, so I guess that it is): it’s the assessment of Bob Crowell, father of a murder victim whose murderer might be given clemency if John Hickenlooper loses.
“I think that’s the coward’s way out.”
This story has been addressed on RedState before, notably here and here: the short version is that John Hickenlooper, Democratic governor of Colorado, is against the death penalty. Fine*. This theoretical stance of Hickenlooper’s has come up against the real-world example of Nathan Dunlap, who is a remorseless, cold-blooded killer who ruthlessly and senselessly murdered four people twenty years ago, and who has been staving off his execution ever since. The problem for Hickenlooper is this: while the people of Colorado would dearly love to see Dunlap get the needle, the Lefties that make up Hickenlooper’s organization would not.
Quite the quandary, there. So what did John Hickenlooper do? Read the title and you’ll see that he picked the coward’s path: “Faced with a decision to allow the execution of killer Nathan Dunlap or grant him clemency, Gov. John Hickenlooper chose to do neither. Instead, he granted an extraordinary “temporary reprieve” that likely means Dunlap won’t face execution as long as Hickenlooper is governor.” Worse, John Hickenlooper heavily hinted – effectively in private – that he might offer full clemency to Dunlap if Hickenlooper lost the election:
A CNN interviewer asked Hickenlooper if, “God forbid,” a Tancredo-style candidate who continued to make an issue of the death penalty won, what actions could Hickenlooper take?
“If they did do that, and somehow they won, there are obviously remedies that the governor could do,” Hickenlooper said of his options. “I could do a full clemency between election day and the end of the year. There are a number of different opportunities to make sure that doesn’t happen. Again, human life should not be a political football.”
Opinions about the death penalty are one thing. I have them; so does John Hickenlooper. But a sitting governor needs to have a backbone. If Hickenlooper wants to be opposed to the death penalty, then he should get out there in the public eye and just give Nathan Dunlap clemency, once and for all.
But John Hickenlooper will not, because John Hickenlooper is a coward.
*No, seriously, fine. I am for the death penalty, but I recognize that there is an intellectually consistent and ethical argument against it. The argument does not sway me, but that’s not the same as saying that it doesn’t exist.
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