Green River Star -

By Father Christopher Xanthos
Guest Columnist 

Boomers should rethink death penalty issue


December 11, 2019

Make no mistake, the state of Wyoming is experiencing an epic crisis of magnificent proportion that must end. We hear it time and time again that our young people are leaving Wyoming in search of better jobs and careers. Certainly, this is true, but there is more to it than just economic prosperity.

I refuse to believe that our young buckaroos that were raised in Wyoming, see the dollar as their primary basis in life. Young people today want to live, thrive, and foster their families in communities that support their values, hopes, and dreams. Wyoming is their home and we must fight to keep it so. Life is sacred to these millennials, and we ought to respect that too.

Lately, there has been much in the news about the boomer-millennial generational contrast. One stark difference is the generational disparity with regards to opposition of the death penalty. A recent Pew Research poll suggests that nationwide support for the death penalty is down, yet the boomer-millennial generational demographics offer a clear and distinct contrast on the issue, with over half of millennials opposing the death penalty, while support by boomers still remains strong. Based upon the poll, we can deduce that while a higher percentage of Wyoming boomers support the death penalty, more than half of Wyoming millennials do not support it and they are the ones leaving.

We need to be honest with ourselves, boomers, if we want to keep our young cowboys and cowgirls in Wyoming, let’s create a Wyoming that they want to live in. millennials aren’t fooled by the false narrative that the death penalty is a deterrent to crime, they see the imperfections in the system, they see that very often race, socio-economic status, and mental ability all work against the accused. They see the high number of exonerations, not to mention the findings of probable innocence after the switch is pulled. They see that justice isn’t blind and corruption exists at all levels. They see that whether by firing squad, gas chamber, or lethal injection, the death penalty is the product of a society in extreme moral sickness. By our continuing to maintain the death penalty in Wyoming, we are inviting our kids and future generations to join us in this toxic syndrome.

Repealing the death penalty in Wyoming will send a powerful message to younger generations letting them know that their voice has been heard.

This is not a Republican issue, nor a Democrat issue, it is a human issue, it is a Wyoming issue.

Let us leave support for the death penalty to the religious fanatics and over-zealous prosecutors, as for the rest of us, let us put our young folks first and meet them where they are by supporting the repeal of this archaic and evil institution of state sanctioned murder.


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