Introduction and Background
Ted Bundy—serial killer, kidnapper, rapist and necrophile—murdered to 36 or more victims. What is the proper punishment for criminals of this degree? Some would say death is a suitable punishment for these criminals. The acceptance of the death penalty has been questioned for numerous years, and has recently been questioned in Nebraska.
On May 27th of this year, Nebraska lawmakers overrode Governor Pete Rickett’s veto to repeal the death penalty. According to Krishnadev Calamur, senior editor at The Atlantic, this made Nebraska “The first Republican-controlled state in the U.S. to repeal the death penalty since North Dakota in 1973. The vote was 30-19” ("Nebraska Lawmakers”). While many celebrate over the abolition of the death penalty in Nebraska, others wonder if this was truly a wise decision. Not only was it unwise, but also it was unexpected. Grant Schulte, reporter for the Times, stated, “Nebraska’s action to repeal the death penalty is unusual because of its traditionally conservative leanings” ("Nebraska Abolishes”). Now before going much further, it is important to know the history of the death penalty.
The death penalty was re-instated in the U.S. Supreme Court in 1976. Typically the death penalty is used for the crime of murder, however, a few states have accepted the death penalty as a consequence when dealing with the rape of a child. As can be seen from figure 1, as of right now, 31 states have a death penalty intact and 19 states are without.
According to Carsten Anckar, who is an author and expert in the determinants of the death penalty, he said, “Even in many stable democracies where the death penalty has been abolished for decades…popular support for...
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...sitives that come about from having a death penalty in place are numerous. It is actually far more dangerous to not have a death penalty. The death penalty is a tool to be used for the most gruesome offenses. Because of the power of the death penalty, murders can and will decrease. And finally, because prisons aren’t secure, the death penalty is a safe option to keep available for when murders are committed. The death penalty is strongly supported by 166,692 Nebraskans who all signed the petition to keep the death penalty active, so why abolish it now? To make a difference in Nebraska, citizens should write their senators and Governor Ricketts to show support for the death penalty. All of this will help in the battle to reinstate the legislative bill 268. And finally, in the future if there comes a time to vote on the death penalty, do it, because Nebraska needs it.
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