May 28, 2015

It's one of the most conservative states, and they just did a very progressive thing. The death penalty is no more in Nebraska. May many other states follow their lead.

NBC News:

Nebraska became the first conservative state in more than 40 years to abolish the death penalty on Wednesday when lawmakers boldly voted 30-19 to override the governor's veto.

There are 10 inmates on Nebraska's death row — the 11th died this week — but the state has not executed anyone since 1997 and only recently ordered the drugs necessary to carry out a lethal injection. It's the 19th state to abolish capital punishment.

Lawmakers across the political spectrum came together to pass a repeal bill three times. Gov. Pete Ricketts, a first-term Republican, then vetoed the legislation on Tuesday. Thirty senators were needed to override him.

"My words cannot express how appalled I am that we have lost a critical tool to protect law enforcement and Nebraska families," Ricketts said in a statement after the defeat.

Besides my obvious glee at seeing this barbaric practice end in yet another state, it does my heart good to see Pete Ricketts have to suck it up, too.

I wish these lawmakers would understand that it's not about the victims.

Sen. Joni Craighead, who backed the death penalty, asked opponents to put themselves in the shoes of murder victims' families.

"What if someone who you loved dearly was brutally murdered? If you can honestly say in that situation that sure, that murderer can live their life in prison ... then you are truly a death penalty opponent. I respect that, but I don't agree with you."

I don't agree with her either, and I have the experience to back it up. Losing someone to a brutal, senseless murder is awful, but I am so grateful I never had to go through the experience of bearing yet another murder by the state, in my name. How anyone can think this somehow offers "closure" is beyond me. In my case, the Supreme Court caused his sentence to be commuted to life in prison, and with that, my family moved on.

I guess this is one area where I agree with conservatives. The death penalty is a waste of money, and puts government in the position of committing sanctioned murder. Good for Nebraska for getting rid of it.

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