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Nebraska lethal injection

Nebraska's lethal injection chamber at the Nebraska State Penitentiary in Lincoln. 

Our state is having to come to grips with the reality of having the power to take life.

Despite a veto-proof majority of the Unicameral voting to overturn the death penalty, Nebraskans decided in an equally overwhelming majority to reinstate it. As such, the state will begin killing those convicted of crimes we deem heinous.

Now, I am not speaking of any one specific capital case or person awaiting their sentence. But I fear what this power means for the future.

I fear the possibility of the state’s haste in carrying out these sentences causing cruel and unusual punishment of the convicted, a risk borne when the state uses an untested concoction of drugs that the manufactures say shouldn’t be used to kill.

I fear the chance of an innocent person slipping through the system and being executed. How much more would Gage County have to pay if they executed the six?

I fear the well-corroborated research that has shown the death penalty disproportionately affecting people of color. Is that equality before the law?

I fear having a culture of killing in the state, where, instead of showing compassion to our enemy, we will brutalize them just as they brutalized an innocent.

In the future, I hope the state and its people can learn to show mercy to the lowest among us. For if we are incapable of that, we are incapable of showing mercy to anyone.

Matt Baldwin, Lincoln

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