Las Vegas Sun

October 16, 2021

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Death penalty is wasteful, cruel

This fall, Nevada plans to execute Zane Floyd, a Marine Corps veteran with a history of serious mental health problems. I share a history of mental illness, and with a governor unwilling to stop the unjust machinery of death, I don’t feel welcome or safe in this state anymore. The phrase “Home Means Nevada” no longer feels true to me.

Floyd endured an abundance of trauma during his childhood, as well as living with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, which caused brain damage. He then joined the Marines, where he served at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. This all happened by the time he was 23 years old, and much like many veterans, he returned home while battling untreated PTSD. 

Nevada ranked last for mental health spending and 49th for quality of care, according to a 2020 report by Mental Health America. Yet each death penalty case, regardless of outcome, costs the state at least $532,000 more than a case where the death penalty is never sought.

Killing a mentally scarred soldier is not the right choice, especially when we haven’t taken steps to support our veterans or the mentally ill. If we want “Home Means Nevada” to ring true, Gov. Steve Sisolak must set his priorities straight and stop this execution.

I’m pleading with Sisolak to stop all further executions, and end this barbarism. Redirect the savings from ending the death penalty to mental health treatments, and do more to protect hurt veterans.