State of Nebraska, commutes death by poisoning to death by accelerated old age
In a mock victory for abolition, Nebraska, on 26th May, substituted the horror of the death penalty, by the comparable horror of LWOP, death in isolation and without hope, in a prison environment that takes away hope, the final value of a human life. Abolitionists have been rightly blamed for accepting life imprisonment until death as an alternative to the death penalty, and to abolition itself.
But now the practice is known and understood. Hope was the final item in Pandora's Box of Evils, and its denial is now seen for what it is, a final evil. LWOP is meaningless, the ultimate cruelty.
Nebraska abolished death by lethal injection by 30 votes to 19. There were 10 prisoners on death row, but they still had hope; the last execution in Nebraska was in 1997. Now there are 10 prisoners on LWOP without any hope. The pattern is that over the years their visitors cease to come, they have nothing to say, no message to convey. Even their attornies will forget their names. Why care for them? they will age quickly in an inhuman condition. They will die unknown as if they never existed.
Truly, they no longer exist.
29 other states are at a loss of what to do, as the US struggles to find chemicals to kill the condemned; Oklahoma is toying with the idea of asphyxiating the condemned with nitrogen.
"The Horror! The Horror!", Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad