, Kingston, NH

Letters to the Editor

April 10, 2014

It’s Time to Repeal the Death Penalty

It’s Time to Repeal the Death Penalty

New Hampshire is very close to repealing the death penalty. Think this is just a local issue? If we do repeal, Rome will light up the Coliseum in celebration. To make this possible, we need our state senators to vote for House Bill 1170.

We’ve been on this journey for a long time. In 2000, the House and Senate passed a bill repealing the death penalty, but Gov. Shaheen vetoed it. Since that time, we’ve witnessed six states in the past six years repeal the death penalty. We’ve also sentenced a man to death for murdering Manchester police officer Michael Briggs.

I used to favor capital punishment for the most heinous crimes. Over time, I came to believe that our outrage and desire for revenge often cloud our view toward justice. I know we can keep society safe by locking up the most dangerous criminals. I also know that keeping someone in prison for life costs a lot less than carrying out an execution. Yes, this seems counter intuitive. But we’ve spent $5 million dollars so far on the case of Officer Briggs’ murder. It costs $35,000 per year to keep a prisoner incarcerated in New Hampshire.

Officer Briggs’ partner, Michael Breckenridge, who was involved in the fatal gunfight, has changed his mind about the death penalty. He initially wanted the killer to be killed. Last month, Mr. Breckenridge spoken in favor of House Bill 1170.

Many of us have changed our positions on the death penalty and now believe that we ought to eliminate it. I’ve learned a lot from my father, and he’s gone from supporting the death penalty to opposing it. The house has passed the repeal bill, and Gov. Hassan has said she’ll sign it. I urge you to contact Sen. Prescott at 271-2111 or and inform him that you know that New Hampshire can live without the death penalty.

Stephen Kaneb

South Hampton

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