Kelvin Vickers should be killed.
Having been convicted of first-degree murder in the death of three individuals, including a police officer, he deserves to die. He deserves to have taken from him what he took from three others.
Justice for Kelvin Vickers is a firing squad, or an electric chair or a lethal injection or a scaffold or a guillotine.
But he doesn’t have to worry about that.
He had the good sense to commit his crimes in New York, a state with no death penalty and with no particular desire to punish criminals. Yes, he will be sentenced to life in prison without parole, but no honest person can believe that he will serve anything near that.
In fact, the very neighborhood where Kelvin Vickers’ murders occurred is represented by state Sen. Samra Brouk, who has “elder parole” legislation pending that would release him when he turns 55. And the very county where he committed his murders just three years ago welcomed like a hero a two-time cop killer released in his 60s and declared a “community elder” by the newspaper and other progressive activists.
In New York, where the state government is actively decriminalizing crime, there’s no way Kelvin Vickers or anyone else will truly be imprisoned for life without parole.
Could the federal government do something?
Possibly. Kelvin Vickers, who is from Massachusetts, crossed state lines to engage in criminal conduct. That was presumably arranged by telephone, text or Internet, and it presumably included the exchange of cash. Under such circumstances, there is a federal first-degree murder stature which includes the death penalty. But, in the real world, the likelihood that the current Justice Department would pursue either the prosecution or the death penalty is about zero.
So how do cop killers like Kelvin Vickers get real justice? How do they get what they deserve?
That would require a new federal law.
Specifically: Make it a federal crime to murder a police officer.
The Constitution cites “domestic tranquility” as one of the federal government’s purposes. Police officers work in furtherance of that federal objective. Those who murder police officers in the performance of their duty are interfering with a federal matter and, arguably, could be subject to federal law.
So pass a law making it a federal crime to kill a cop.
And have the death penalty as a sentencing option.
That way, there would be one national standard in prosecutions of people accused of murdering law-enforcement officers. That would provide equal protection for defendants and victims alike.
And it would allow for justice in cases like that of Kelvin Vickers.
Certainly, the federal government executes people only rarely, and it would be loathe to do so under Democrat presidents. But an option is better than no option.
Would facing the possibility of prosecution by both the state and federal governments for killing a cop be unfair to defendants? No. If it wasn’t unfair that the officers involved in the death of George Floyd faced federal prosecution after their state convictions, then it wouldn’t be unfair if cop killers likewise faced federal prosecution after their state convictions. The interests of the state and federal governments are different, and one act can violate statutes of both, that is a principle well established in law.
And this principle ought to be established in law: If you take a cop’s life, your own life should be at risk.
A federal law would mean that anywhere in America, without regard to pro or anti police sentiment in any state or locality, there would be one set of rules available. Not that all police-officer murders would be federally prosecuted, or even very many. But in the event of an injustice, as in the case of Kelvin Vickers, what ought to be done could at least theoretically actually be done.
Further, the passage of the law would send a message to people on both sides of the badge.
That blue lives matter, and that if you fight the law, the law is going to win.
There is a political philosophy that teaches people to hate and resist the police, to misunderstand and mischaracterize why law enforcement exists in America. The philosophy has great power and silences voices of dissent. But it doesn’t speak for most people.
The law speaks for the people.
And the law should say that if you kill a cop, you stand the risk of dying yourself.
Our Congress should act. Our Congress should do its duty to protect domestic tranquility. Our Congress should defend our defenders.
There should be a federal law making the slaying of a police officer a crime punishable by death.