Saturday, September 25, 2010

Firing Squad

Over at Gamso - For The Defense I learned that there is a shortage of drugs that is likely to prove to be anti-life threatening for a very select group of people. From Gamso:
The drug us [is] Thiopental Sodium, trade name Pentothal, manufactured exclusively by Hospira.  And there's a shortage.   Hospira is unable to get one of the ingredients, so they can't manufacture any more Pentothal.  No more [Pentothal will be available until] sometime in the first quarter of next year.
The editing is mine, and if I'm incorrect my apologies to Mr. Gamso. This would concern everyone a whole lot less than it does were it not for one thing:
...it's the first drug in the three-drug mix that most states use to kill people.  It's the only drug in the one-drug method that Ohio and now Washington use (and that California has permission to use on Albert Brown if he so chooses).  So when there's not enough to go around . . . .
State governments will just have to stop executing fiendishly violent criminals. It's either that or put everything on hold for a while until more go to Jesus juice can be manufactured. That solution might be a little problematical as well, since by all accounts Hospira wants to move away from the State sponsored execution business. Of course, the State could fall back to another method. Firing squad, for instance.

Whoever decided that the firing squad is inhumane, or cruel and unusual doesn't know what they're talking about. Utah executed Ronnie Lee Gardner by firing squad back in June and didn't have any problems with it. Gardner was killed by four men using thirty caliber rifles at twenty-five feet, all four shots hitting in and around Gardner's heart.  Gardner was officially pronounced dead about two minutes later, which should be fast enough to satisfy everyone.

Given the expediency and efficacy of the firing squad, I see absolutely no need to use any other method. Everyone in charge of executing a criminal either knows how a firing squad works or can figure it out for themselves in very short order. There is never a problem finding qualified volunteers, rifles or ammo, and, as my brother Big Mike pointed out to me a few weeks ago, no one has ever survived a firing squad.

Compare this to the lethal injection method, which the government has screwed up beyond belief. Many times during lethal injection a vein can't be found, causing all kinds of discomfort and frustration on everyone's part. Then there is the possibility that the criminal isn't knocked out completely when the secondary or fatal portion of the drug cocktail is injected, thus causing a violation of the Eighth Amendment as the criminal suffers (we suppose) terrible agony when the heart is stopped. Other methods are also flawed, either by unnecessarily complex equipment and preparations, by unnecessary mutilation of the body or by efficacy - people have been known to survive, however briefly.

So I'm thinking this drug shortage might be a blessing in disguise. Ohio can return to the firing squad, which uses tried and true methods, does not require much by way of preparation, is unarguably efficient and does not require the assistance of medical personnel during the execution.

2 comments:

Mesmerix said...

I've always thought that if I was going to be executed, I'd want a firing squad. Or a slowly increased morphine drip, which I'm told by a paramedic is a truly painless way to die. I've always thought our current methods, especially the electric chair, to be outright barbaric. Then again, I'm not really for the death penalty at all, so maybe I'm biased.

Mad Jack said...

I see. Well, I'll keep that in mind should the need ever arise... Mesmerix: Firing squad.

If the government was concerned about providing the most painless death possible, I would suppose that the morphine drip would be suitable. For my part, I'm not all that concerned about the criminal's comfort so much as I am about providing a quick, certain death. Allowing someone to languish for many years on death row is, in my opinion, cruel and unusual punishment.