U.S. States Could Turn to Firing Squads if Execution Drugs Scarce
(Reuters) - Lawmakers for at least two U.S. states say they should conduct executions by firing squad if opposition to capital punishment by pharmaceutical companies makes it hard to obtain drugs for lethal injections.
States have turned to pharmacies that customize drugs and adopted untested new mixes after supplies of traditional execution drugs were cut off by manufacturers opposed to their use for the procedure.
The debate over lethal injections was reignited on Thursday when an inmate gasped and convulsed violently during his execution in Ohio as the state used a two-drug method for the first time in the United States.
Missouri state Representative Rick Brattin, said Friday the controversy over lethal injections forces families of murder victims to wait too long for justice so he introduced his bill Thursday to add “firing squad” as an execution option.
I seriously favor the guillotine for this ever popular task. It is quick, obviously. It is also reliable: There would be no unpleasant frying smells and sizzling noises as a recalcitrant subject gets multiple jolts of mega-voltage, or long minutes of unseemly gasping before drugs finally take hold. It is also cheap, with only a few dollars now and then to keep it sharpened and some strong soap for the very necessary cleaning after each use. At the same time, though, it is sufficiently gruesome and horrifying to give at least a moment’s pause to juries and bloodthirsty prosecutors. One refinement I would suggest is to connect the latch to 13 lanyards, a nice symbolic number with one for each juror and the sentencing judge, and arranged so all must be pulled before the blade will fall.