Bring Back Firing Squads? We Do Worse
by Clarence Page
Bungled executions by lethal injection are beginning to make firing squads look good. Seriously.
I did not always feel this way. I'm an opponent of the death penalty.
But with lethal-injection drugs in short supply and new questions being raised about their effectiveness, a seemingly humane form of execution is looking a lot less palatable than such old-fashioned methods as the rope or a team of sharpshooters.
The condemned man could hardly be a less sympathetic figure.
However, his lethal injection with an experimental concoction of drugs proved to be disturbingly less lethal than the state had hoped it would be. Witnesses said it took 43 minutes for Lockett to die, during which he thrashed on the gurney and, according to
A similar controversy in
Ironically, lethal injection, widely accepted as a way to make the death penalty more humane and politically palatable, has become a source of growing problems and suspicions. The federal government and the 32 states that have the death penalty use injection as their primary method of execution, according to the nonprofit
But the most reliable execution drugs fell into short supply after the American Board of Anesthesiologists decided in 2010 to revoke the certification of any member who participated in a lethal injection.
Some prison officials in different states have become desperate enough to run cash-only transactions with unregulated compounding pharmacies for untested drug cocktails, according to news reports.
"Given these recurring problems with lethal injections,"
He's not alone. Lawmakers in several states have debated bringing back the electric chair, the gas chamber and hanging, among other old-school alternatives -- including measures in
Since the end of the Civil War, there have been three civilian firing squad executions in the U.S., all in
As we can see, his death didn't end executions. But I since have been relieved to see capital punishment is losing its appeal. The numbers of executions has fallen by more than half since its modern peak in 2000, according to the
The firing squad sounds more shocking than other options. But on a subject this serious, we need to be shocked.
Available at Amazon.com: The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap
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Article: Copyright © 2014, Tribune Content Agency
"Bring Back Firing Squads? We Do Worse "