In the wake of pharmaceutical manufacturer embargoes and a botched execution attempt in Ohio, several state legislatures are considering bringing back the firing squad. Which way would you rather go? Or alternately (and let’s not get too gruesome here) how would you send murderers back to hell, the drip or the bullet? . . .
Several major pharmaceutical manufacturers have stopped selling the drugs which comprise an executioner’s deadly chemical cocktail to prisons. This has led state penal institutions to experiment with previously untested drug combinations to administer their lethal injections, and the results have been, in some cases, horrifying.
Dennis McGuire, shown above, gasped and convulsed for 25 minutes in an Ohio death chamber after receiving an experimental two-drug cocktail recently. His family has sued the state for ‘cruel and unusual punishment’, and other states are trying to avoid making Ohio’s mistake.
Wyoming and Missouri are considering legislation to revive the use of the firing squad. They would join Utah as the only states to use the firing squad to enforce the death penalty, and even Utah has not executed a prisoner by firing squad since 2010.
At the risk of being ghoulish, Utah firing squads traditionally employ Winchester .30-30 rifles and (in recent decades) 150-grain Silvertip cartridges. The reported time of death for Utah firing-squad executions since Gary Gilmore has ranged from two to four minutes after being shot. Is the ballistic solution an improvement?