What Rep. Cori Bush’s racist defense of a black man’s killer tells us about power. An hour before midnight, Ernest Lee Johnson came in after a binge in which he bought three rocks of crack cocaine, traded one of them for a gun, put on a mask and came to rob Casey’s. The plan had been to lock the employees in the back and have one of them open the safe. But then Johnson beat all three of the Casey’s employees to death. He stabbed Mary Bratcher repeatedly through her hand with a screwdriver, likely defensive wounds as she fought the monster for her life. Then he smashed her over the head with a claw hammer again and again. Johnson appeared to be aiming for her face, striking her mouth and nose, to disfigure her while killing her. He beat Mabel to death in the same vicious way. That was 1994. Like every monster, Johnson never had any shortage of defenders. And then the liberal justices on the United States Supreme Court gave murderers on death row a gift with a decision falsely contending that executing murderers with intellectual limitations was cruel and unusual punishment. Any killer who could claim an IQ under 100 was home free. Instantly every killer, no matter how cunning and clever, became retroactively retarded.