Nebraska has done something that no conservative state has done in over forty years: they’ve gotten rid of the death penalty.
This move to ban the death penalty, according to the New York Times, goes right over the head of the state’s Republican governor. “After more than two hours of emotional speeches at the Capitol here, the Legislature, by a 30-to-19 vote that cut across party lines, overrode the governor’s veto of a bill repealing the state’s death penalty law. After the repeal measure passed, by just enough votes to overcome the veto, dozens of spectators in the balcony burst into celebration.”
Personally, I find the fact that it cut across party lines more impressive than the fact that they actually got rid of the death penalty!
The final votes cast were 32 – 15, a veto-proof majority. While being the first conservative state in four decades to abolish the death penalty, Nebraska joins 18 others (including D.C.) that no longer have the death penalty. Nebraska’s governor, Pete Ricketts, was obviously unhappy about this development. Like the mature grownup that he is, he took to social media to complain: Is Gov. Ricketts truly angry that he lost to the state congress, or is he mad that he wasted a lot of money? According to Buzzfeed, this repeal of the death penalty comes only a week after the governor authorized the purchase of quite a lot of lethal drugs.
The governor also claimed that this ban on the death penalty holds a great danger to Nebraska households. Because, you know, if they don’t kill the people they’re already holding in prison, nobody will ever be able to sleep safely at night! Now, before concluding this story,
I’d like to add my own personal comments before wrapping up the story. More Republicans than just Governor Ricketts have gotten upset over this move. One of my Facebook friends (a very staunch conservative) made a post about it. I won’t name names or pull a direct quote, but basically his post said: “Abolishing capital punishment expresses the viewpoint that saving money is more important than justice. Nebraska should not abolish the death penalty.”
This is where I diverge from Republican ideals: I’m not so sure I support the death penalty. For one thing, it isn’t entirely just. According to a 2014 article by The Guardian, about 4.1% of people sentenced to die in the US are innocent. Where’s the justice for them? When it comes to life and death, I don’t think that a 4.1% margin for error is acceptable.
Another thing: how is abolishing the death penalty “saving money?” The people that you were going to execute now have to be housed in prison, fed, and basically kept alive until they die in a prison fight or of natural causes.
Lastly, I don’t believe that I can/should support the death penalty for religious reasons. I’m a Christian, like my Facebook friend also claims to be. I don’t understand how, as a Christian, anybody can support capital punishment. We’re called to bring others to Jesus. Who, if not people facing the death penalty, need Him more? Why would you willingly, and in some cases happily send someone straight to hell? That’s not something a Christian should wish on anyone. With the death penalty abolished, the prisoners have more time. More time to ask forgiveness for their mistakes, to possibly become Christian, and maybe even find a way to come back into society. In the eyes of God, my sins are just as bad as those of someone on death row. We both need salvation. It’s our duty, as Christians, to tell everyone about the love of Jesus, so why are we just killing off the people who might need him the most? Okay, my religious rant is over. I’m probably wrong on a lot of this, so if you want to correct me I’m more than happy to listen. However, this is what I believe. It’s flawed and poorly thought out (a lot like me!) but I don’t see what’s so wrong about not wanting to strap someone to a table and pump them full of poison.