End N.H. death penalty

We have simply grown tired of the endless debate regarding New Hampshire’s death penalty law.

The last time the Granite State executed a criminal, the Japanese had yet to bomb Pearl Harbor – and the Boston Celtics did not even yet exist.

For some reason, even though not a single person has been executed since 1939, this remains a highly divisive political topic.

We find this rather absurd.

New Hampshire has plenty of problems on which elected officials should focus their attention. A few that immediately come to mind are:

• The opioid epidemic, as fentanyl, heroin and other drugs continue to literally kill Granite Staters;

• The relatively high cost of housing;

• Outrageously high utility costs; and

• Finding a way to increase wages for workers, without causing irreparable harm to small businesses.

Therefore, our call for the New Hampshire Senate to end the state’s death penalty is not so much a reflection of our opinion on capital punishment, but is a result of wanting to see our elected officials simply move on from this matter.

Even last year, while both the House and Senate in Republican control, Gov. Chris Sununu had to veto legislation passed in both chambers that outlawed the death penalty. Due to Republican control, representatives and senators did not have the numbers to override the veto.

Last week, with Democrats now in charge of the Legislature, the House voted 247-123 to override Sununu’s veto and abolish the death penalty.

Capital punishment proved so unpopular in Greater Nashua that three Republican House members from the Hudson/Pelham area – Reps. Tony Lekas, Hershel Nunez and Andrew Prout – joined Democrats in voting to overturn the GOP governor’s action.

The Senate passed the death penalty ban by a vote of 17-6 on April 11. Unless at least two senators change their minds from the first vote, the Senate will have the required two-thirds majority to override Sununu’s veto, thereby outlawing capital punishment in the Granite State.

Again, our asking the Senate to override Sununu’s veto and eradicate New Hampshire’s death penalty has nothing to do with our opinion of the morality of the death penalty. Instead, we believe the Legislature has spoken in such a strong way that it is simply time for the Granite State to move on from this issue.

Now, someone will probably say that we are being soft on criminals by advocating for the abolishment of the death penalty. Our response would be that life in prison with no possibility of parole seems like a fairly harsh punishment.