Hold Up, Hold Up… Firing Squads are Still a Thing?!?

Shooting Squad

And here’s a post on Utah’s proposal for firing squads and a greater conversation of capital punishment, because you weren’t depressed enough on this Tuesday.

 

 

The “retro” fad has been all the rage of late. Everything old is becoming new once again. Like musicians releasing their new albums on vinyl. Or guys in their 20’s wearing suspenders, because I can only assume a concept of a belt eludes them.

 

Hipster in Suspenders

“What you’re too good for a belt!?”

 

 

But Utah may be taking this whole retro thing a step too far…

 

Last Friday the Utah passed a hotly contested proposal to resurrect the use of firing squads as a form of capital punishment. In a 39 to 34 vote their House passed the proposal and now will be sent to the Senate for review. If the proposal were to pass the Senate, Utah would be the second state in the US – the other being Oklahoma – that would allow a death row inmate to be executed by firing squad and would only be used if they could not attain lethal injection drugs 30 days before an execution. The use of firing squads was voted out by lawmakers back in 2004.

 

Ok. There is so much crazy in those last 100 or so words, I think it would be best to break it up into pieces.

 

 

“Last Friday the Utah passed a hotly contested proposal to resurrect the use of firing squads as a form of capital punishment.”      

 

If your first reaction to reading that was, “oh God that’s still a thing?!” Then congrats, have some solace in that you’re not alone, because that sounds FUCKING HORRIFYING TO US TOO!

 

 

“In a 39 to 34 vote their House passed the proposal and now will be sent to the Senate for review.”

 

The bill comes from Republican state representative Paul Ray, who’s the bill’s sponsor, claims that a team of trained marksmen is more humane than drawn out deaths through botched lethal injections. You have to remember the keyword there is “botched lethal injections.” So if we were to ask ourselves what would better than a botched lethal injection?

 

The answer would be ANYTHING! Literally anything would be better than a botched lethal injection! Much like if gas station sushi were next to a Subway footlong, you would choose the Subway footlong, but that doesn’t necessarily mean eating it isn’t cruel and unusual punishment.

 

 

“If the proposal were to pass the Senate, Utah would be the second state in the US – the other being Oklahoma – that would allow a death row inmate to be executed by firing squad”

 

Yeah that’s right, Oklahoma offers inmates execution by firing squad if lethal injection or electrocution are ever to be found unconstitutional! Just a basic rule of thumb. If you are on a list of states that includes Oklahoma and that list has nothing to do with either the Oklahoma City Thunder or BBQ, then you probably fucked up.

 

 

“would only be used if they could not attain lethal injection drugs 30 days before an execution”

 

The reason the idea of firing squads has come back into the national conversation has less to about the actual act and more to do with the availability of the drugs that pertain to lethal injections. Sodium thiopental – the anesthetic that is used in the three-part cocktail of a lethal injection – has been in short supply since last year when an Italian manufacturer stopped making the drug. This has caused many states to look into other methods of capital punishment, such as electrocution or – in this case – firing squad.

 

The problem here is the logic of trying to figure out other ways to perform capital punishment instead of re-thinking the whole idea just seems a little flawed, as this Simpson’s joke aptly sums it up.

 

 

When your primary argument, as nuanced as the death penalty, can be summed up by a cartoon caricature of a 10-year-old bully, you may want to rethink your stance.

 

 

“The use of firing squads was voted out by lawmakers back in 2004.”

 

And finally we get to the crux of the argument. In 2014, there was an alarming number of botched lethal injections – along with the sodium thiopental shortage – that had people wondering about alternatives be it firing squad or getting rid of it completely.

 

Also it isn’t like firing squad is that much more humane. Just ask Wallace Wilkerson. He was executed via firing squad in 1879, the only problem is they missed his heart. It took him 27 minutes to bleed out and die…

 

When it comes it capital punishment, there are no easy answers. But it’s good that we’re having a conversation about it never the less…

 

 

And finally here is a tumblr of awkward stock photos, because I think we all need to decompress after that conversation.

 

 

(Photo Credits: Amnesty International, Google Images)

 

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