Gary Gilmore's execution (courtesy the journal.ie)

I know discussing the finer points of firing squads sounds a bit . . . gruesome. But why not? Clayton Lockett’s botched lethal injection has Americans up in arms (so to speak). So why not return to the same method of execution that famously helped Gary “Let’s Do It” Gilmore shuffle off this mortal coil? The protocol for that one [via wikipedia]: “Gilmore was strapped to a chair, with a wall of sandbags placed behind him to trap the bullets. Five gunmen, local police officers, stood concealed behind a curtain with five small holes, through which they aimed their rifles.” As I recall, only one had a dud round. Caliber unknown. If firing squads make a comeback, how should it be done?

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358 Responses to Question of the Day: If We Bring Back Firing Squads, What Caliber and Which Weapon?

    • Best reply ever…

      But I doubt Odumbo will let us shoot people with Russian ammo just so we can bring it back.

      My vote on the caliber: 7.62NATO (suppressed)

      Hey, silence is golden.

  1. Only the best for those deserving the death penalty… .177. It would get the job done… eventually.

    • Exactly. Seems to me the traditional firing squad was seven people. One of the rifles had a blank round in it. Six rifled slugs would definitely do the job.

      BTW, It was my understanding that Gilmore was executed with Winchester Model 94s in 30-30 Winchester.

  2. Since firing squads only get one shot, a bolt action. Since you want the target dead, no poodle-shooter calibers – go with 30-06; so 1903 Springfield.

  3. Not quite. Five rifles, 4 rounds. The psych was that each rifleman could think he had the blank.

    • Nevada(I think) in the early 20th century built an automated firing squad, you could bring that back, no person involved in pulling the trigger.

    • I gotta call BS on this. It’s an urban legend that’s never been verified and it makes no sense. The guys who had blanks would know they weren’t actually firing real bullets because the recoil is significantly different.

      • Like the poster above says, do some reading before you just call ‘BS’ on the internet.

        Yes, a practiced marksman will be able to tell the difference… but the practice is very real anyway. The idea is someone might choose not to tell the difference.

  4. Screw firing squads. Too damn inefficient (ballistic trauma is messy and gruesome to clean up, bullets aren’t as cheap as rope, etc). If we’re gonna change how we dispose of criminals, we should go back to public hangings in the plaza. One last humiliation before the scumbag dies. Of course, that would never happen. The liberals would scream about “inhumanity”.

    • Non, non, mon ami! We must show that we are sophisticated and understand nuance, like the French.

      Whack their heads off with a guillotine.

    • Why not just stone them? Those are cheap!

      I’m being sarcastic but I feel like that would be lost on some who would feel right at home stoning someone.

    • BS on cleanup. Haul ’em out to the back 40 (prisons have plenty room), drop ’em and leave ’em. Then dream up fun answers for inmates or visitors who ask “What’s that smell?”

  5. Lets go old school – .50 cal. lead ball

    But in all seriousness, why aren’t we just executing by nitrogen asphyxiation? Painless, Cheap, 100% effective, Safe (for everyone else). I don’t understand why it has to be so complicated.

      • Don’t even need a sedative. CO just puts you to sleep on its own. Nitrogen does the exact same thing but isn’t harmful unless inhaled continuously in high concentrations. Don’t even need to fill a whole room – just a face mask.

    • That would work. High concentrations of CO2 can kill without the victim ever being alerted to the danger. Seems pretty humane to me.

      • Yeah, but then the greens would get their undies in a bunch about the increase in greenhouse gases. . .

      • If I remember correctly, CO2 causes the feeling of suffocating. CO or N2 or Helium or a handful of others are completely painless. Nitrogen is just the safest/simplest/cheapest

        Also forgot to mention, with any of the above all organs are useable

        • Not that I really care about the comfort of the condemned, but CO will give you a hell of a headache on the way out.

        • Yes, CO2 is not a reasonable method. It’s also slower. A high percentage of a inert gas/nitrous etc would work fine.

          Still can’t figure out why we don’t use it.

    • That’s how I kill large quantities of rodents (for snake food).

      Bonus: the organs might be harvestable.

      • Probably not. Hypoxia is bad for everything, not just the brain. To be really sure they are dead you would need to wait 15-20 minutes after the EKG goes flat. That’s a lot of hypoxia. The brain tolerates that less well than other organs, but not sure a badly hypoxic liver or kidneys would be much use.

      • Because it’s quick and painless for the rodent. It involves no clean-up for the snake owner. And it passes on no bad chemicals to the snake. It’s also very easy to kill large numbers of rodents at a time and freeze the others. Most labs and snake owners (that feed pre-killed) use some version of asphyxiation.

  6. I like how UT is still using the 30-30. I think we should stick to that and make sure they buy Henry rifles that are loaded with a Hornady Flex Tip. Keep the tools designed and manufactured by Americans to dispose of the scum of society.

  7. Dunno caliber and weapon, but I think they all ought to be loaded with live rounds. The argument for one round and the rest blanks is that no one knows who fired the killing shot. The problems I see with that are 1) blanks tend to not have the same recoil as a “live round” and 2) only using one bullet seems to give a certain likelihood of maiming rather than killing.

    Put live rounds in all of them and call it a day.

    • I expect, as noted elsewhere, that RF got it reversed–not one live round out of five rifles, but one dud out of five, and supposedly no one knows who got the blank. Otherwise, you would be right, almost certainly not an immediate kill. I would go with 30.06, Springfield ’03 would work fine.

  8. .308 or 30.06, Prisoner’s choice of heart or head shot (organ donation may be a possibility with a head shot, once again, prisoner’s choice if they donate organs). 5 person firing squad minimum.

      • That’s one hell of a slippery slope. If death penalty equals more organ donations, and given how there’s always a shortage of organs for transplantation (not even getting into the whole compatibility thing etc), citizens get a vested interest in increasing the scope of death penalty very widely, in hopes that they (being law-abiding) would still not run afoul of it, but the supply of organs would keep them live for that much longer.

        See also, “The Jigsaw Man” and “A Gift from Earth” by Larry Niven.

    • Good lord. I guess the plus side of that is no matter where they hit the condemned, they are almost certain to die rather quickly. Downside is those rounds are fricking expensive. I would’ve said .50 Beowulf or .458 SOCOM.

  9. There is a video on the internets of some durka durka, jihad jihad making a head shot on some poor bastard with a 50 cal from about five feet away…..seemed to have done the job. The guys in the background were certainly alah snackbarring it up.

  10. Only one live round? That’s not really a guaranteed kill, particularly with cops shooting. Why not have several rifles locked into a benchrest and connected to a single mechanism for firing? Then a single person could do the deed by simply pressing a button. I’m sure you could find a family member of the victim to volunteer.

    Or, you could always use a .30 caliber mini gun. Just to make sure.

  11. 45acp rifle – multiman team – iron sights calibrated for fixed extreme short range distance – head shots only.

  12. .50 BMG single shot(might as well be sure)

    Nevada I think had an automated firing squad mechanism in the early 20th century, maybe they should rebuild that.

    • Well, that was sorta my idea, but I was gonna say .50 BMG at 1 mile, 5 shooters, draw straws for who goes first, 3 shots at a time, like 2 sighters, then it’s the next guys turn, winner gets a new car. That way the condemned gets to see lotsa BBs going past and destroying the neighborhood, or even taking off small pieces for a while. Only problem is who is declared the winner if the perp bleeds out while the shooting is still going on.

  13. Everyone will have a live round. I believe in overkill. 12 Gauge shotguns with rifled barrels and HP Saboted rounds. Use 6 people, the same number which is required for a casket. These saboted rounds will make 56 cal holes going in and have devastating damage going through. One of my favorites is the Remington Copper Solid. I stopped shooting them because of the cost, not because of the terminal performance.

    Before someone says a 12 gauge slugg is .72, remember this is saboted so the projectile is .56.

  14. Prove that Lockett wasn’t just cosmic karma coming home to roost.

    State of Ok should have proceeded with the 2nd scheduled “procedure” as a control and in the name of gathering research data.

    • death by firing squad is for gentlemen. these run of the mill monsters dont deserve that.

      hang em.

    • Kind of partial to 41 pellets of #4 buck myself. A firing squad of 5 with that would be like a firing squad of 200 shooting .22LR.

  15. My 4 point methodology:

    1) Clergyman presiding last rights, it’s for their soul.
    2) 50 cal. mini-gun with a grid pattern painted on the wall behind their head, it’s for science. 3) Ultra slow motion camera work shown on close circuit throughout the prison, it’s for rehabilitation.
    4) Before and after shots side by side, it’s for the family of the victim.

    • 50 cal. mini-gun

      Well, at least it would save the backs of the guys on the cleanup crew. All you’d need is a mop and bucket….

    • If you are using the slo-mo camera you could ask the condemned if they have preference of caliber. You know, for science.

      • Yeah, but for them to actually make an informed decision, you’re gonna need to have them watch the slo-mos from the last 5 or 10 executions in several different calibers, you know, so slow that it takes about 5 minutes each from the time the projectile appears onscreen.

        • Now that is cruel and unusual punishment. I think we can safely cut that time down to 4 minutes.

  16. I’m a big fan of the (I think still on the books) Utah procedure. .30-30 Winchester for the win.

  17. .30-30 Winchester has been the standard for some time, if I am not mistaken. 5 men with Winchester 94s, 4 shots, 1 dud, all aimed at the heart. It seems to be quite effective, and I don’t see any reason to change it.

    Additionally, I do believe that if we have to have the death penalty, it should be this or hanging, condemned man’s choice. It’s not that hard to kill someone, and I cannot understand why we having been screwing this up for so damn long.

      • This. “Humane” should mean: “dead without undue suffering.”
        There are dozens of ways to accomplish it, it just requires the will to do so.

  18. 2 .22 rifles aimed at the head, no mess quick am painless, cheap, and most likely instantly lethal. Bench rest them and have them fired from and automated button in anothe room so the executioner doesn’t have as much connection and doesn’t go insane.

    • .22LR was the choice of mercy killing on the farm. You would think one shot or two between the eyes would kill them straight out. I had a cow that took 9 shots to put her down effectively. 22LR isn’t as effective as you present.

      • Watched my uncle kill a boar hog for the table, with my granfather’s .22 lr rifle. Ons shot right between the eyes, dropped like a rock, thoughly dead.

        Have anyone of the Aligators from”Swamp People”to do it

        .

      • There are different kinds of .22, and then of course a cow skull is not the same as a human skull.

        I’m pretty sure that a Velocitor round point blank would be quite sufficient to penetrate the bone and destroy enough brain tissue to kill instantly if aimed at the right spot.

  19. Jerry Miculek, 100 round drum. Doesn’t matter what caliber, it’ll all be over in 1.1 seconds and you can clean up with a garden hose.

  20. Computer controled, with multiple operators. So know one knows wo fired the real shooting blow. It kinda takes the old fashioned way out of it. But it’s efficient and effective.

  21. A) Botched executions result in something other than death. Lockett died, therefore, it was a successful execution, even if it wasn’t a textbook example.

    2) Looking at the facts of the execution, and Lockett’s actions leading up to it, it’s entirely possible that his result was his intent. If a convicted rapist and quasi-murderer wants to subject himself to a painful, excruciating death, so be it.

    d) Almost to a man, those who are crying foul about Lockett’s execution would be crying foul even it had gone by the book. The hew and cry about the untested cocktail, the double booking, the court stays and non-stays, and a dozen other details have little to no standing, and are little more than the regular claptrap anti-execution people trot out when a execution comes a-callin’.

    As for the best caliber, I dunno. Through and through the heart seems like a good choice, but would likely be messy. A few .22s thru the nose would hopefully keep the mess down, but the risk of survival seems slim.

    I gotta go with hanging, assuming of course that the rope is strong enough and the gallows stage high enough. Broken necks are better than strangulation.

    Speaking of necks, the guillotine seems to be pretty effective. not sure about the mess, tho.

    • botch

      verb : to do (something) badly : to ruin (something) because of carelessness or a lack of skill

      If it takes you 45 minutes to kill someone, you’re doing a pretty piss-poor job of it. It was supposed to go down one way, and it happened completely wrong. Botched is absolutely the right word. I’ve heard no one say it was an “unsuccessful” execution, which is what you’re describing.

      • Yeah, maybe, but how do you expect them to get the required practice/experience to do it right? Execute innocent puppies? Rats? Why not those who deserve it, and learn as we go?

        • You don’t need to experiment at all. There are plenty of execution methods that have a proven track record for being efficient and humane – bullet to the brain, long drop, nitrogen asphyxiation etc. None of those have been ruled to be cruel and unusual, or are at any threat of such, so the state is free to use them.

      • The criminal experienced a pretty typical medical problem; a vein malfunctioned during intravenous therapy.

        in nearly every other instance of this happening, it happens in an ER or an OR, and is quickly noticed and responded to, which helps to prevent a heart attack and generally prevents the patient from dying on the table.

        In this one instance, it happened in the death chamber of a prison. it was noticed, but since the patient wasn’t expected to live through the procedure, it would seem life saving medical attention was not particularly high on the agenda.

        As a result, the criminal died of a massive heart attack before he had the chance to die of a chemically paralyzed heart. In this instance, I fail to the see the problem. He died as a result of the chemical injection. That he would have likely died of an otherwise identical saline injection is of no matter.

        I question what the detractors believe the state should have done. He suffers a groin vein blowout, an unknown amount of chemical is in his blood stream, and he has a massive heart attack. Were the attending medical people supposed to patch up his groin, defib him, possibly save his life, and wait and see if the chemical does its job anyway? Do they make him live, merely to execute him by the book at some point in the future?

        Considering his actions leading up to the execution, a case for him attempting to sabotage his own execution may be made. We’ll have to wait for the full medical report, of course, but one does wonder why an otherwise healthy 38 yr old male doesn’t present any good vein to a phlebotomist outside of the groin.

        • a vein can collapse due to a number of things, but the most likely cause was dehydration and/or nicotine in the system……

        • The reason why they keep having problems with veins (it’s not the first one by far) is because the executioners are not medical practitioners. And that is because medical practitioners swear an oath that prohibit them from intentionally taking someone’s life.

          Which is to say, you have an execution procedure that, by design, is medical in nature, but you cannot use qualified people to run it. Which is a recipe for disaster. Which is why lethal injection is a retarded idea in general.

        • @Rich Grise: +1 It’s only 8 years to general practitioner (4 undergraduate + 4 terminal doctorate, MD or DO). Our formal training began by them throwing groups of us in rooms with vacutainers and associated accouterments; instructing us to “have at it.” IIRC, there wasn’t any other formal training… everything else was OTJ skill, mostly from experienced nurses. Crash courses in Phlebotomy are what, a day or two? Phlebotomists are certified at something like 40 hours? (I can’t remember)

      • If it takes you 45 minutes to kill someone, you’re doing a pretty piss-poor job of it.

        Typical government “efficiency”

    • Back in the 60’s when glue together models of the scary monsters were popular,(creature from BL,Mummie, Frank, the Count) there was one of the Guillotine where the guys head would fall off when the blade came down, a working model.
      My buddy had them all.
      As kids, parents allowed such things.
      Question: have things changed?

  22. There are just too many pansies out there to permit bringing back firing squads or the gallows. Look at all the clamor over the length of time it took to execute the latest thug/torturer/murderer with no discussion or memorial to his young victim.

    • Have you considered that perhaps those are two different and unrelated things, and that we have long ago (like, around 17th century) decided that torture killing is not the right way to go about justice?

      • ‘We” have decided no such thing. “We” are not that squeamish about how the condemned die, nor are “we” concerned that the condemned do not die in a cruel or unusual manner, nor how quickly, nor how painlessly. “We” are not liberal nancy-boys or lawyers. “We,” as a matter of fact, would prefer that a heinous murderer meet his demise in as nearly the same fashion and at the same rate of pain and humiliation as his victim. That not being PC, “we” are quite content simply that the bastidge dies.

        • So you’re saying that the Founding Fathers who put the prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment into the Constitution were squeamish liberal nancy-boys, and that you are not like them in any way?

          I’m glad that conservatives are finally agreeing with us liberals on this 🙂

        • “We,” as a matter of fact, would prefer that a heinous murderer meet his demise in as nearly the same fashion and at the same rate of pain and humiliation as his victim.

          At the end of my life, I must give an accounting to my Creator for blood that I’ve spilled and caused to be spilled. Please exclude me from your rolls.

    • It wouldn’t work. They’d come out of the gun, stop short of the condemned, and stand there and scream “SEE HOW WELL WE DID????”

  23. Old School, really old school. Line up a squad of regulars with flintlock brownbess muskets. 8 .71 caliber musket balls aught to be humane as it gets, and a mighty fine show.

    • I concur.

      IMO, the best defense to a ‘that is cruel and unusual, and violates the 8th Amendment’ challenge is to use the methods employed by the men who wrote the 8th Amendment, and presumably would not use means they deemed cruel or unusual.

    • Russian cannibal Andrei Chikatilo. On Feb. 14, 1994, he was silenced for good, executed with a single bullet to the back of his head. Works for them, should work for us.

      • That’s the standard execution method in Russia. With no appointed time the shooter simply fires through the small barred window of the prisoner’s cell.

  24. No need for a squad. A single executioner with a suppressed 9mm loaded with hollow points firing into the head from approximately one foot away. Quick, simple, and cheap.

    • Actually I think that makes sense, too. But I think the squad is preferred because, again, it gives each individual executioner at least the opportunity to imagine that he did not fire the fatal round.

      • I understand the reasoning there, but really, if you’re not absolutely convinced of the rightness of your actions and need that little “plausible deniability” trick to get to sleep at night, then maybe you shouldn’t be an executioner in the first place.

        • I propose one of those machine rigs the ammo manufacturers use for ammo testing (basically a barreled action mounted to a bench vice) remote controlled and have 3 people push a button that starts a randomized time delay, but only one is connected.

          Pick a caliber that is stout enough to kill after going through the sternum, and high velocity enough to generate lots of trauma like a 270 with a ballistic tip. That guy who last saw a firing squad in Utah if I remember reading right was strapped to a chair with a hole in the middle so that blood drains into a bucket.

  25. I vote for all of them and end this silly debate about stopping power. Each state should be allowed to experiment with various caliber/#round combinations and then we’ll tally the results to see which predator was deader quicker.

  26. I just like the you don’t know if you had the bullet thing of the you probably did variety. Nice to have that comfort since no one really wants to take a life. Even one filled with evil.

    Caliber doesn’t matter that much if you put them in the brain pan, yes? Still, the bigger the better. I’d do .308 or .30-06

  27. How about we do sort of the inverse of a firing squad: put the prisoner in a large cannon and fire him at a concrete wall? Alternatively, a headshot from a .223 is just as lethal and nasty as one from a .308…

  28. Most of the firing squads in the past used some sort of .30 or larger cartridge and most of the firing squad marksmen actually had blank loads with only one preloaded with an actual round. This is true even of the days of muzzle loading rifled muskets and non-rifled muskets. The firearms as I understand it were all preloaded before being issued out to the marksmen and no one knew who had the lethal load. Now you have to remember in military and some civilian firing squads the squad leader had a pistol to deliver the coup-de-grace in order to make sure the condemned did indeed die. That is the only person who knew for sure that he had a lethal load.

  29. This is something I’ve been harping on for awhile- Simply set up a lottery, at a dollar a ticket for a month or two before the date- six winners get their expenses paid to travel to the site of the execution, and the family of the condemned’s victim gets to decide what to do with the rest (keep it, give it to charity- whatever). Shooters get to bring their own rifle (or the option of using a state-owned weapon).
    Can you imagine the money that would be raised for charity in this manner? As an added bonus, every leftist in the US would instantly die of apoplexy when they heard of this plan!

    Oh, and nothing under .222. Past that, whatever.

  30. Big Jersey Barrier. Suspend 20 feet above. Drop.

    Why complicate things with bullets, hanging, guillotine, or dugs?

  31. Depends on the crime!
    As much as I would be against it, if you had to execute a person who had killed their spouse after years of mental and physical abuse, then do it mercifully, shot to the head, heavy caliber.

    On the other hand, for someone like the dipshit who shot and then watched his victim being buried alive, then we need something a bit more drastic, like using a 22 short, and starting at the feet, working your way up the legs and after at least 43 minutes, or so, leave them to bleed to death.

    • Interesting. I wonder if you treat the 2nd Amendment with the same disregard you show for the 8th.

      • I don’t see your comparison?
        What do you think they should have done with Eichmann? A noose was too good for him.
        What kind of punishment would you give a person who committed a crime, such as shooting someone and then burying them alive?
        I have a high regard for the second amendment, and you have no cause to question me. How I feel about the death penalty has nothing to do with how I feel about the right to bear arms!

        • @Gunr

          I see your point in the stance of making it poetic, but if we support one right, then we need to support all rights. Starting at the bottom with a .22 round and working your way up is the classic example of ‘cruel and unusual punishment’. As I have stated elsewhere, staying locked up for life it cruelty in itself, yet no one seems to think about that. Making someone live in pain is cruelty. We don’t even force our pets to live in pain: we kill them, and call it ‘humane’. If a dog attacks someone, we kill it, yet we don’t do that yo the filth that we place in prison.

          Personally, I think that a single shot to the back of the head is more than they deserve, but it is not cruel or unusual: it is humane. Use a large enough round to do the job, and make as little mess as possible.

        • Shawn F.
          Thank you for being civil in your reply. Not everyone on this forum acts with integrity.
          I suppose the reason people want the death penalty to stay intact is for pure gratification, or revenge!
          Even though it may cost more, it assures us of final closure, and that this person is “out of the picture” for good. These reasons do not make it right, or wrong for killing another human being, but they are reasons.

  32. I am against the death penalty (economical and ethical reasons), besides it is a waste of perfectly good bullets. Just use carbon monoxide or nitrogen.

    Gotta admit, you guys are creative when it comes to killing people…in a sick way (not the good kind either).

    • I understand and can respect your ethical opposition to it, but I have to admit I’m curious as to what you see are the economic benefits to life imprisonment over capital punishment?

      • Under the current system the cost of imprisoning someone for life is a lot less than imprisoning them for 15 years on death row.

        I know the answer might be “well, stop doing that!” but that’s the way the legal system works. And considering that there have been people exonerated from death row, I don’t see why it shouldn’t.

        • What Hannibal said. Also it is easier on the conscience to keep a thousand bad men alive, than kill an innocent man.

          At least for me, one of the few things my conscience registers.

    • Part of the problem you don’t see is that when you sentence some of these individuals to life in prison is that they don’t magically go away to never never land. People, good people have to watch and interact with them for the rest of their lives. These individuals have nothing to lose. They’re never getting out so what makes you think they will behave in prison when they didn’t on the outside. They will victimize their captors just as much if not more than when they were free. And it is not just the corrections staff that they will target. Civilians also work there such as medical staff, food service, laundry and such. Plus prisons don’t have full hospitals, so they may indeed get to harass “outside” folks. Not to mention the possibly of escape. They have nothing to do all day but dream up ways to hurt you or escape. I worked in a prison for over a decade. I now have to use a wheelchair to get around and live off a small disability pension. So, how’s your conscience now?

    • Not much for turning the other cheek, are you Reverend?

      I think I hear baby Jesus crying.

  33. I’m a bit of a traditionalist, so I’d say either Springfield’s or Garands, loaded with soft point hunting rounds. A single pistol shot to the back of the head may be more efficient, but it’s too Soviet for me.

  34. A large maze filled with AR-15s mounted on turrets controlled by 13 year olds online. If he makes it through he lives. Whoever gets the kill gets a free $20 X-BOX live card.
    Statements of ”lulz how duz I teabag?” in the chat section will be forbidden to keep the whole affair classy.

  35. I say go back to “blowing from a gun”–preferably using an old battleship’s 16 inch main.

  36. Leathal injection is still good. So what if a killer who has been condemned to death for murder has a little pain on the way out? I mean, really!

      • I say screw being better than your enemies. I have done things, and will probably do things, that keep me up at nights. But these criminals that are on death row have done worse, and would do again. And if I can prevent that, I will. I totally respect your view, and I think that being able to be the better person like you is admirable. But I could never live with myself if I let someone live who then went on to reoffend.

        • Could you live with yourself if you made someone die who was later exonerated?

        • I probably wouldn’t live with myself. But really that’s the chance that you have to take for it. If a hundred bad people are gone, and one innocent man went with them, wouldn’t that be worth it? I just hope the innocent guy wouldn’t come back and haunt me.

  37. 5 “ma deuce” at 100 yards with 200 round belt of .50 BMG rounds. The following round would be preferred:

    ” Cartridge, Caliber .50, High-Explosive Armor-Piercing-Incendiary (HEIAP), Mk 211 Mod 0 “. Hell, it would be like Knob Creek !!!

    or as Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn so graphically described, in the Soviet Gulag the condemned got “9 grams in the back of the head” sometime after their sentence. Middle of the night, the executioner walks in the cell. Boom. End of story.

  38. Not to rain on everyone’s parade, but it would be massively more cost effective to not execute people in the first place. Life without parole seems plenty punishing, and doesn’t spend millions just to drag out a court case for the taxpayers and, more importantly, the victim’s families. And you avoid many many years of paying for someone to be in a segregated death row, which is wildly more expensive, while the case works its way through the appeals process.

    • No, you spend millions giving three hots and a cot for the rest of their pathetic existence. The problem is not in HAVING the death penalty, the problem is that it takes too damn long.

      • There is a reason why it takes “so damn long”. It’s because for a punishment that serious, you want to be absolutely sure that you’re executing the right man. That’s why there are so many appeals etc. And even then we screw it up surprisingly often. If you strip away all those checks and safeguards and just make them hang at dawn on the next day, you’re going to kill more innocents.

    • The problem is that the death penalty is capricious. Variable. Inconstant. If people knew that a murder committed in the process of robbery, rape or various other crimes WOULD get the death penalty in all instances, it would be a deterrent. If people were promptly and publicly executed, it would be a deterrent. If people could remember “crap, if I do this I will get the death penalty AND I will be executed” while high and/or drunk, it would be a deterrent. As it is, it is one of a range of possible outcomes and it is exceptionally rare.

      I think executions should be public because if the public demands that someone die, the public should bear witness to what it has wrought.

      The actual death penalty plays out across the land every day. Somewhere between 70-90% of murder victims in large cities have a criminal record. It may not be homicide or what the state would execute them for, but there is definitely a correlation between prior negative interactions with the criminal justice system and current deaditude. The victims are criminals and the executioners are criminals, and it happens far, far more frequently than state capital punishment.

      If it must be done I am a fan of either hanging (the Western way with cervical fracture and severing the spinal cord, not the Iranian strangulation thing, which is cruel and unusual) or nitrogen gas suffocation.

    • I respectfully disagree. Personally I don’t agree with the concept of death row at all. Once they are sentenced, give them a ‘goodbye day’ then kill them.
      If death row was eliminated, then it would be cheaper to kill them quickly. Anyone else has to work. For the rest of the work concept see Skallagrim’s video on the subject.

      • Go and look up the stats on how many people have their verdicts overturned on appeal from the death row. Then come back here and explain why you still think that’s a great idea.

        • For one idea, why don’t we reserve ‘within reasonable doubt’ for lesser sentences? If someone can be proven guilty ‘beyond any margin of doubt’, then we are less likely to put an innocent man to death.

    • It’s only expensive because we entertain the objections of anti capital punishment azzholes with no sense of justice. Why should we surrender to people who have no sense of justice or morality?

  39. I have actually discussed on non gun blogs so I will go with a bolt action rifle chambered in 308 or 30-06. Shots to both the head and heart. Death by firing squad went out of style not because it wasn’t ineffective or painless but because of the effect of the blood and gore on the witnesses.

  40. .45acp to the back of the head, the Che Guevara way. Take them out to the woods, let the coyotes dispose of the body.

    That or go back to hanging.

    • If you are going to go that way then I why not the traditional Tokarev. We could hire some retired KGB warders as executioners.

  41. Stand them in front of an A-10’s GAU-8/A cannon. There would be very little left to actually cleanup and I’m pretty sure it would be rather painless.

  42. Buckwheats kill with a .380 ACP… If you’re not familiar with the term, see “Things To Do In Denver When You’re Dead”.

  43. Meh, I don’t think the government is competent enough to be in the execution business. I agree with the death penalty in principle, but in practice I don’t trust the government with that power. Otherwise, .308 or .30-06.

  44. Sick bastards. I wonder how many of you tough talkers would actually join the execution team if you were asked. If you would or have, you’re even sicker bastards.

    For me killing someone is only warranted during a life-threatening attack or to prevent an immanent life-threatening attack–the time period when the aggressor(s) pose an immediate threat of grave bodily harm or death. That’s why I want most people to be able to possess and carry guns. The ceremonial, premeditated execution of a killer after the fact, whether by firing squad or any other method, is for me unacceptable in every single circumstance.

    Probably very few people reading this agree with me. Still, I find Farago’s query and the above responses mightily disturbing. Of course I find killers’ actions exponentially more disturbing, but I bet my abhorrence to the death penalty will convince some that I lack sufficient compassion for victims. I don’t.

    • Agree 100%. I also wonder about the thought process behind the question. But why are we ignoring the quickest, most painless method of all – the guillotine?

    • Why show mercy to those who were incapable of showing mercy to their victims? Some of these killers tortured, raped, mamed and/or otherwise commited acts that would make blackest of hearts cringe yet we should provide shelter & food to these animals for the rest of their natural existence? If so, I’m sure you’d have no trouble volunteering to house and feed these vermin of society.

      P.S. – I’m also in favor of the guillotine. It’s simple and effective while being incredibly hard to screw up.

      • “Why show mercy to those who were incapable of showing mercy to their victims?”

        …because you claim to be better than them.

        • @Hannibal

          I, for one, do not claim to be better than them. Everyday we make choices not to go off the deep end and commit crimes. The ones who are on death row made the choice to take someone else’s life. You would have no problem shooting down an animal who was trying to attack you, or the same human(s) who is/are intent on killing you and yours for the few dollars you MAY have in your pocket, or the chance to rape your spouse/children. Yet we feel that because it didn’t affect us, and they didn’t attack us, that we should take the higher ground and feel mercy for them? I don’t think so. Your choice, your responsibility for payment.

          I think the greater mercy is to stop the disease before it spreads. Get rid of the ones who have proven they cannot be part of society by making the choice to kill the innocent. You would if it was you they were trying to kill, and probably without qualms.

    • If I were selected by lottery, I would solemnly carry out the duty. The only condition being the condemned has been properly adjudicated to my satisfaction.

      I too find the ceremonial, methodical destruction of a human being repulsive. But I also feel a lifetime of incarceration is repulsive as well.

      I would not enjoy it. I would probably have some psychological issues over it after the fact. Yet, I would rather do it than let some sadist take the job.

      I think that ‘reason’ and ‘logic’ can be too effectively to justify cold-blooded killing (see Nazism and Soviet & Chinese Communism), but murderers are usually serial criminals who had many, many opportunities on the road of life to choose good or bad. A bullet, rope, guillotine or injection is the logical culmination of the life of poor choices.

    • Tim, you have got entirely the wrong idea. What you are implying is that we, the hypothetical executioners, are the cold-blooded killer. How the f**k do you think the criminal got on death row in the first place? Your train of thought assumes the criminal was not to blame. As for mercy, God knows that the f**kers on death row showed little enough mercy for their crimes. Among them are rapists, kidnappers, murderers, serial killers, and a number of more horrible men and women. If you believe that it is alright to let these violent killers back on the street where they can kill again, then you must be one sick b***ard yourself. And although you said you did, you seemed not to have spared a thought for the victims, who would want closure, to ensure the criminal is off the street.

      • Who said anything about letting then back on the street?

        If what victims want is safety, then life sentence is perfectly good. If what we want is justice and deterrent, then it is also good. The only reason to prefer an execution over that is either revenge, or a desire for a bloody spectacle. Neither of those two reasons are valid in a civilized society.

        • Very good point but I was looking at it from a monetary view. It would be cheaper to buy ammo, or just reloading parts, than to keep the amount of prisoners we do.
          If you are really against the death penalty, what you could do is this:
          Once convicted, give prisoner one free week in cell with food.
          After 1 week, make them go to work.
          The wages they receive (minimum wage, food is cheap) go towards food and other things that they need.
          If they don’t work, they starve.
          Or; they have to pay for prison accommodation. If they don’t work, they can’t pay, then they get executed.
          What do you think of those ideas? That way, we don’t have to pay for the prisoners and some folks get cheap workforces.

        • Financially speaking, we actually spend more people on the death row than on those in for life. The reason is that death sentence, being so extreme and final, comes with ample opportunities for appeals etc, so that we don’t accidentally execute the wrong guy. Now it might be argued that life sentence should come with the same, but today it doesn’t, so we pay more for killing them (or rather, for making sure we don’t kill an innocent).

          I don’t find anything objectionable with the notion that prisoners are put to some useful work, per se. The problem with this practice today is that the state doesn’t want the headache of deciding what that useful work is, so they “rent out” the inmate labor force to private companies. Once that starts happening, it all becomes a lucrative business – basically, the more people you put in prison, the more super-cheap slaves you get. It’s doubly worse when prisons are run directly by private companies, as we already have in some places (it’s cheaper to the govt). You then see judges bribed to impose more harsh sentences on people to get more inmates – we already had real-world cases of that. Then, there’s the problem that we don’t really have a shortage of unskilled labor, but rather the opposite – so a bunch of convicts on the labor market will only depress the wages further. So may be a good idea, but there are a lot of implementation quirks that need to be considered.

          One thing that I think any inmate in for life should have access to, is euthanasia on request. Whether it’s out of the sense of guilt, or just because they can’t bear prison, they should be given an out – and that will not come with all the appeals etc strings attached, so it would be cheap.

        • int19h- I think that if we ditched private-run prisons then we could start getting somewhere.If the government want these folks behind bars, then they should do it by themselves. Don’t start a job you can’t finish.
          The sorts of jobs I was meaning were the type that nobody would take (unless they were really desperate), like digging ditches, building walls, hell, even expanding the prison itself (being employed by the builders contracted). Physical labour of that kind would also, as well as being the sort of back-breaking work that would make them feel that they don’t have it easy, get them fit. The prisoners would also have the right not to work, we won’t force them, but if they don’t, they won’t have any money for food.
          The other issue you raised was that the prisoners could end up being, as it were, ‘in demand’. Honestly, I cannot think of any solution to this. I don’t doubt you are right, and if you have a solution I would love to hear it.

          [EDIT]- I meant that in a non-sarcastic manner. I really would like your input.

        • It could work if we completely forbid any use of prison labor for non-public purposes, and define “public” narrowly (so that we don’t get some BS like we do these days when building a new private shopping center is considered “for public benefit” and used to justify eminent domain claim on someone’s land). Basically, maintaining roads, that kind of thing (but oh boy, will the unions be up in arms about that!).

          For the most serious criminals – the ones who get death or life in prison – it’s trickier because of security requirements. You probably don’t want those guys as part of the road crew – it’d have to be something that can be done within prison walls. Perhaps it could be some traditional manufacturing that’s feasible with basic tools and on small scale – like, say, clothing. The twist would be that this clothing wouldn’t go out for general sale, but it could be used for welfare within the country (say, giving it out to the homeless), or humanitarian campaigns overseas. So long as, in effect, the money spent on maintaining those prisoners end up being used for something 1) good and 2) public.

        • int19h- I think that would be achievable. Just to clarify though- the prisoners would work for non-government owned companies, the point is that they are paying their own way. The prisoners making clothes would be an improvement on sweat shops!
          I also agree with your idea on euthanasia. Firing squad anyone?

        • Introducing private-owned companies into the picture would cause the same problem – those companies would now have incentive to increase the prison population to get access to a larger cheap workforce. Which means that they will start lobbying politicians to get “tough on crime”, meaning prison for more offenses, and longer convictions, even for non-violent and victimless crimes (like, say, smoking a joint…). US is already on the first place by prison population, both in absolute numbers and per capita. This would make it even worse.

          This isn’t to say that having the govt run the entire operation would remove all possibility of abuse. But I think it’d be much lower.

        • The problem is that if government owned companies pay these criminals then the purpose of the work is defeated. They are really still paying for the criminals then and not really saving any money.

        • Not really, since they’re not paying those criminals for nothing – they’re paying them for some work they do. So long as said work is useful, it’s not money wasted.

        • int19h-Very true. Maybe we could get the current serving inmates to build the next new prison? I think if the governments adopted this plan, then we could really improve the justice system.
          If I was to tell the truth though, I would still advocate execution for rape, double or more murder charges, and other similarly nasty crimes, like kidnapping and torturing, or any serious crime against a child. I know that you are against, but I feel that these crimes are serious enough to warrant it. I think that if guilt could be proved beyond a margin of a doubt, then I would advocate the death penalty for the above crimes. I would say firing squad or guillotine. See my later post for weapon/calibre choice.

        • >> int19h-Very true. Maybe we could get the current serving inmates to build the next new prison?

          The only reason why we have a shortage of prisons today is because we put way too many people in them. A significant proportion are there for non-violent and victimless crimes, mostly to do with “substance abuse” (US is one of the few countries in the world, and the only one in the West, that jails people for consumption). If this is fixed, a lot of prisons that are overfilling today would be practically empty.

          >> If I was to tell the truth though, I would still advocate execution for rape, double or more murder charges, and other similarly nasty crimes, like kidnapping and torturing, or any serious crime against a child. I know that you are against, but I feel that these crimes are serious enough to warrant it.

          I have never argued that there are crimes which warrant death penalty on the basis of the person being irredeemable and a danger to society. My sole concern is that, short of mind reading, we cannot prove guilt beyond any doubt whatsoever – even in the most clear-cut case, there’s always that minuscule chance that it is all an elaborate set-up to frame the guy or something.

          So I think that Judaism take on this is right – while justice (and public safety) may require death for some crimes, justice also demands that a judge rendering such a verdict would have perfect conscience and act on perfect evidence (i.e. guaranteed to be complete and correct) – which is something that can be said of God alone. Since I’m an atheist, that leaves no viable candidates 🙂

          And yes, putting an innocent person into prison for life would suck, too. Still, it’s much better than killing them, and at least there’s always a chance …

        • “current serving inmates”

          First release the ones that are in on bogus charges, namely victimless crimes, and everyone imprisoned on an unconstitutional law, and you’d be able to count inmates on one hand.

        • int19h- I reckon that substance abuse is, despite it’s criminal status, forgivable. If they are hooked, rehab. If not, fine them or something? I dunno. Dealing, however, should be a prison sentence. Maybe ten years of physical labour ought to do the trick?
          I see your point about ‘beyond a margin of a doubt’ being almost impossible to achieve, but that was the point. My example is the murder of Lee Rigby. There was CCTV evidence, at least thirty witnesses, there was DNA evidence, their fingerprints on the murder weapons, and more. That was a case in which ‘Beyond a margin of a doubt’ was achievable. These people were f**king psychos who, in not just my opinion but that of professionals, would never be rehabilitated. I think that would be grounds for the death penalty. Do you agree?

        • “Substance abuse” should not be a crime, period. The idea that you can be punished (by imprisonment, no less!) for putting something into your own body is absurd and despicable. The fact that this is also a federal crime today is plainly unconstitutional – remember that Prohibition took a constitutional amendment to make alcohol illegal; why other drugs are suddenly exempt from that same treatment?

          As for your beyond a reasonable doubt case… well, maybe the crime was committed by a heretofore unknown perfect twin 😉

          Seriously, though, I just think that it’s not worth making exceptions – it’s easier to apply a consistent uniform standard that doesn’t allow for costly mistakes. The problem is that ultimately, no matter what standard of doubt you apply, it’s the jury that pronounces the guilty verdict, and jury is made of (fallible) people. You can explain to them what the standard should be all day long, but in the end they will still decide based on what they feel is right, and emotions in particular can sway the verdict a lot (that’s the dark side of “jury nullification”). Case in point: there were numerous cases where all-white juries easily convicted Blacks in the south, despite even reasonable doubt not being established in the case, solely due to racism and a belief that the transgression (like raping a white woman) was so serious that it cannot go unpunished.

        • :”I reckon that substance abuse is, despite it’s criminal status, forgivable. If they are hooked, rehab. If not, fine them or something? I dunno.”

          If a person has done no harm to any other people, and is not threatening to do any harm to any other person, then there is absolutely no excuse for initiating force against that person to get him to behave in the way you think he “should,” or for any other reason, for that matter.

          Remember the success stories about that wondrous celebration of Liberty that we called “Prohibition?” /sarc

        • int19h- Are you referencing To Kill a Mockingbird or A Time to Kill? Just out of interest.
          Anyway, the perfect twin idea is impossible-they were arrested at the scene. And the fingerprints don’t lie…
          Moving on, I would agree with substance abuse not being a crime, but wouldn’t you agree that drugs are dragging both our countries down? I always justified the laws by considering that harsher penalties would lower the drug use levels, but then again, gun-free zones don’t stop criminals, right?
          I could live with no death penalty. It wouldn’t bother me too much. I mean, I’m used to it. But sometimes, lifers die sooner than they expected to, too. I was reading Killing Floor by Lee Child the other day, and something that was there came back to me now. It went along the lines of: “This guy was put in jail for life for killing somebody, and put to the maximum security. They were all in dorms, with only a waist height partition between them and an open corridor on one wall. First night, he was sized up, people shoved him, seeing if he was a threat. He wasn’t. The very next day, he was found in his cell, his neck broken. The coroner’s report stated that he had been anally raped an estimated fifty times and there was a pint of semen in his stomach.” I don’t know about you, but I’d rather be killed before that happens.

        • I wasn’t referencing anything in particular really, just hypothesizing.

          WRT drugs, I think that most problems that are associated with them, in actuality stem from making them criminal. Basically, when something is criminal, then career criminals are the ones running it (and there is always a black market), and hence you get the associated violence etc. We’ve seen how it works in Prohibition – the alcohol business wasn’t a violent, crime-festering one until alcohol was banned, and it all went back to normal once the prohibition was reverted. I do think that drugs are very similar. It’s not to say that we as a society shouldn’t fight them, but it should be via propaganda and other means of persuasion, primarily. Look at how successful this was with smoking!

          Regarding prison rape, I think it’s a travesty of justice that we allow this to happen. It should be noted that it is far from pervasive if you look at different countries: basically, it is very common in US, but rare in most other First World countries (even Canada, which is closer to US than most others), and non-existent in quite a few.

        • “but wouldn’t you agree that drugs are dragging both our countries down?”

          No, because that opinion is not supported by facts. The war on drugs is (part of) what’s “dragging both our countries down.”

        • int19h- I’ll admit it- I’m being rather hypocritical myself. I use the same prohibition comparison on the gun debate, too. I will agree that the problem with drugs is criminalisation. Way to go, Colorado! If people took the same approach to guns as you do with drugs, America, and hopefully the world, will be a better place.
          Prison rape is intolerable, and all possible steps should be taken to prevent.
          I think that the prison work idea that we debated upon, if brought to the governments, would be revolutionary. Would you take it to the high-ups?

  45. 30-30 Winchester 92.
    But in reality a pellet gun in .177 let them die as slowly and inhumanly as possible.
    A cut artery might be nice too.

  46. Pistols, rifles, shotguns, FMJ, HP, whatever is cheap and available.

    And we can start doing some REAL ballastics testing, no more of the Play-Doh and Jello block nonsense.

  47. Captive bolt gun just like they slaughter livestock with. Donate the organs regardless of their wishes.

    • Yes, use the pneumatic ones, cheap, and have a deadman’s switch that they sit and hold onto, when they let go they die… no need for a second party to do the deed.

      • Something along that line has been on my mind as I read down through the comments.
        My first choice though is hanging, and use a lift method rather then the long drop. do it in front of the prison population, so the idea that crime is fun gets erased from their minds.
        Start with the condemned on the ground.
        Fasten the noose around his neck.
        Raise him to where he is on tip toes.
        Cut the ropes binding his hands and feet.
        Raise him high enough that the assembled prison population can witness the air dance.
        If the execution of one scum bag can get others to change their ways, Something incarceration has failed to do, mission accomplished.

    • Mandatory organ donation – just no. It encourages wider use of death penalty even for minor crimes to increase the amount of organs available for “law-abiding citizens” to prolong their lives.

  48. .50 BMG mounted to a ransom rest and hooked to an electronic timer. If a pardon call comes in the gun can be disconnected. The start of the timer is initiated when the convict sits down.

    Do not forget the High-Speed camera……

  49. One guy with a 5.56, two rounds to the back of the head of the perp, a firing squad is simply a waste of tax payers money.

  50. Screw the firing squad. It’s too much effort to expend on any lowlife who deserves the death penalty in the first place.

    Just do it Soviet-style — one round to the back of the neck from a TT-30.

  51. I’m saying that there those that deserve the death penalty and maybe achieving it slowly.
    But based on the incremental method of creep that laws have encroached on gun rights, who of you trust the government with the power to kill? Will they only execute heinous murderers?
    Keeping a banned AR-15 could easily be for the purpose of opposing the government, and that is sedition and treason.
    Like all the 2A people that want things to be simple as in “Shall not be infringed”,
    Thou Shalt Not Kill, is one simple way to remove a tool of tyrants.
    Early in our social evolution, securing and separating a bad actor was too costly on scarce resources and for nomadics not feasible to imprison. Why have a threat consume scarce resources while producing nothing. Execution was the only way to control and eliminate the threat.

    Our government is the only real threat to our lives and liberty on a broad scale. The cost of incarcerating murderers is in my opinion worth the price of immunizing ourselves against what history has shown to be the most dangerous. If the governments starts to kill, we would know we are at war.

    Who thinks that a government that does not trust US with guns, should be trusted with our lives?

    Otherwise
    .308

      • Neither is it in the Bible. “Thou shalt not kill.” is a mistranslation in the King James Version. The Hebrew is “lo tirzach”, “You shall not Murder.” Murder is the intentional, ILLEGAL killing of a human being. All modern translations give the latter, correct translation. Ex. 20:13 The 3rd command God gave Noah off the ark was, “If man spills man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed.” The death penalty was endorsed in the New Testament as a necessary carry over for good order and justice. Romans 13:1-4, 1 Timothy 1:8 & 9 (and a whole lot of other stuff there’s no room or time for.) KCK, most of this stuff is kidding around. Society is not to torture the murderer, but it is supposed to kill him. And as for whether I’d be on the firing squad, I believe that if God order’s angels and men to justifiably kill, then if the state asks me to do so after the murderer has had his due process, it’s a holy act endorsed by God, just as self-defense is.

        • Bravo, Gregolas. You’ve pithily cleared up a common misconception about the Bible (due to an unfortunate error in the noble King James translation).

        • And even so, by the time of Jesus, execution was an extremely rare event in the Jewish society (despite numerous crimes demanding it in Torah), because it was deemed that the chance of mistake, even if extremely slim, would make the participants murderers, and would incur the wrath of God for injustice. It took 23 judges to sentence a man to death, and the standard of proof was so high that one execution in seven years was considered a sign of a cruel court. A hundred years after Jesus, the Jews abolished the death penalty because it was deemed that only God himself was a judge sufficiently perfect to render such a verdict. A thousand years after, when Maimonides wrote that “it is better and more satisfactory to acquit a thousand guilty persons than to put a single innocent one to death”, it was completely non-controversial in the Jewish society of his time.

    • But stretched out over at least 100x the amount of time.

      If the murder was committed by gunshot, for instance, the execution would require a very gradual drilling of the same part of the body.

      • I think we should run a poll, just like this one.

        And then, take all those people who voted for sadistic methods of execution, and lock them up in mental institution as sociopaths.

        • Although I find those variety of comments personally disturbing and repugnant, sociopathy, by itself is a personality disorder and not subject to institutionalization or criminal incarceration. It is presumed that there are many sociopaths in society today who commit no crimes. They lend themselves naturally to leaders of industry and political leadership. (However, that very last bit suggests that institutionalization wouldn’t be necessarily a bad thing. 😀 )

  52. Personally, I’m not a fan of a MANNED firing squad. I prefer the option of a automated fusillade. That way human error is mostly removed from the equation. Give the condemned a button to fire the weapons with an automated randomized timer set to, say, 4-7 minutes if the inmate doesn’t pull the trigger himself.

  53. I don’t believe in any of it, usually but if I had to pick… guillotine or guns- in the latter case, prisoner’s choice as to head or heart. This lethal injection crap is just another symptom of how people want others to do brutal, hard things in such a way that they don’t have to see it (the clinical pumping of poison into someone is more terrifying to me than a gun). Guns and blades are quicker and less torturous (at least psychologically) but they spill blood so we wince.

    • Dear Hannibal,
      I used to practice as a nurse anesthetist. We used the same drugs as the executioner during lethal injection, different quantities of course, and mostly without the potassium (given very slowly, when needed). Outside of the psychological trauma to the prisoner, it is a very painless way to go, if performed correctly, with a working IV.

      • If. I think the over-complication of the process is part of the problem. Depending on the protocol I also think the paralytic drugs may be hiding what is going on.

        And to be honest, the psychological issue is pretty important to me. I can respect the way Russia deals with executions more; a single shot to the back of the head is about as humane as I can imagine (not all that removed from how cattle are killed).

  54. Find me an impartial judge, an honest cop, a non-politically motivated prosecutor, an intelligent, fair, engaged jury, a non-overworked public defender, reliable witnesses, and a perp found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, then, maybe, we should be taking up this discussion. It is really hard to reverse a death sentence once completed, and our legal system is far from perfect.

    Do you really trust the government with the power to kill its citizens?

    • Alas it’s not the Gov’t that carries out the sentence but the State, and lord knows some of us have put much greater faith in the individual State than the Gov’t (although I’m not one of them).

      • Mr. Miller,
        Perhaps “the state” might have been a more appropriate choice of wording than “the government”. In this context is there any appreciable difference? Not trying to be a dick, just curious about your distinction between the two.

        • In my opinion there isn’t much other than there seems to be less criticism of the dealings of some states by their residents as opposed to the Gov’t (which doesn’t seem to do right by anyone). There is also a very wide variance in governance between the states as well, so much so that you’d often wonder if they were part of the same country.

        • Mr. Miller,
          In this context, I use “the state” as a synonym for “government”, as opposed to “The State of Wisconsin”, or the “State of Idaho.” When used in your context, as individual states of the Union, yes, I agree with you. That is the beauty of our type of federal government, as originally proposed. If you do not like it in California, you can move to Nebraska, for example. I do not think we have a conflict of opinion.

        • Proably not. I do find flaws in the “if you don’t like the state you’re in, just move” logic but that’s a different discussion entirely and way off topic. 🙂

    • With all the proven foulups in the past decade, I would support a change in the rues that allowed the death penalty when the accused is found guilty beyond ANY doubt. Seems we’ve executed a lot of people who did nothing wrong.

    • And what other human activity requires perfection? And I’ll limit your reply area to preserving human life. The medical profession? Lifeguards? Automobile safety?

  55. Going bold and say Gustoff recoilless, in a boxed canyon, with the offender knee deep in muck, mixed with runny cow manure, speakers blasting Lawrence Welk songs, while servo driven kicker flails away on the perps nut junk, and marble size hail rains from above.

    That should do it.

  56. Dust off the M1s and pop em with a .30-06.

    As for the blanks argument listed above, anyone having fired a good number of blanks would know in a heartbeat. But for those who haven’t, it could probably be a valid practice

  57. I’m against executing anyone, regardless of who claims to have the authority. Other than self-defense, of course. If someone needs to be punished that bad, then life in solitary will fill the bill. After all, why punish the body for the sins of the mind? Give the guy a comfortable cell, good food, all the creature comforts, and no human contact for the rest of his natural life. And a razor.

    But if you’re going to kill people, then either the Guillotine or a massive drug overdose are really the only humane ways to do it – the physical suffering is minimized.

    • Actually Rich, any rifle round (.223 caliber or higher) to the melon will be absolutely humane … I can assure you the criminal will hear, see, and feel nothing. One moment they will be aware of their surroundings, and then the next instant they will not.

      It is also my understanding that a good expanding deer rifle round (such as .270, .308, or .30-06) to the chest would also be absolutely humane due to hydrostatic shock — the round hitting the chest creates a shock wave that travels to the brain and causes immediately unconsciousness before the criminal hears, sees, or feels anything.

    • Yeah, besides the razor donate some confiscated drugs, no need to check for toxins or anything, much as ya want, big guy! Wouldn’t take 15 years, either!

    • After all, why punish the body for the sins of the mind?

      Perhaps my reading comprehension is weak (it’s been known to happen), but from where I’m sitting committing a murder sure seems like the guilty party’s body would have been involved at some point.

  58. Question of the Day: If We Bring Back Firing Squads, What Caliber and Which Weapon?

    Yes.

  59. “As I recall, only one had a dud round.”

    Doesn’t make sense to me. It would seem the reverse would be true. All squad members would think they had the blank, yet only one would have the live round. Having one blank just seems totally backwards. According to that logic, why not have all five live rounds whilst making the entire squad think they had blanks? Make zero sense to me. I think you got that backwards.

    Firing squad is as inhumane as the electric chair and twice as messy, especially if the condemned is hit with four live rounds simultaneously as reported. I mean four shots in the same area? Big mess. Execution by hanging ensures the condemned suffers right about the appropriate amount while ending the suffering quickly, and as long as the condemned wears a Depends undergarment, no mess to clean up therefore making the whole process more tolerable for everybody. Execution is already pretty intolerable as it is. I’d have nightmares after. Killing a person is a traumatic thing.

  60. three words…”Captive bolt pistol”

    Been perfected over the last century and works great on livestock.

  61. The old ways were abandoned for a reason. You should have a pool of volunteers to draw from, have two per execution. Have the irrevocably convicted felon brought into a field and executed with two of said volunteers with two single action .22 LR/short pistols, two to the back of the head. No aiming. No mercy shots. Just a clean death. volunteers can only be called on twice. Exemptions apply. It should be considered a social duty like jury duty. Cheap, easy, efficient. I’m sure you wouldn’t have any trouble finding volunteers either.

  62. Randomize it, so that ShootingTheBull (as well as the FBI) can get more realistic terminal data for various rounds. A life is a terrible thing to waste, might as well get something useful out of it.

  63. Maybe because I tend to think in the abstract….
    Turn this around. Make the perp the projectile. Fire him into a big brick wall.
    Just borrow one of those big cannons from the circus.

    • On that line of thinking….why give him the benefit of the wall? Launch him just like the cicus does sans net.

      Give him a good couple of seconds to consider his life choices.

      • I read a sci-fi story once that had a race of aliens who had only one punishment for any crime–they launched you out of a catapult. The severity of the crime dictated the power and distance of your flight. If you survived, you got to go free.

  64. 12gauge slug. +1 Reverend too. There’s NO death penalty in Illinois so no matter what heinous act you commit you get a cell. I’ve noticed the pro baby murder crowd is lockstep anti death penalty too. That is all.

  65. .50 Raufuss. 😉
    But in all seriousness, I would say two executioners get a Garand each with eight rounds of cyanide-laced hollowpoints. No, seriously! If the poor sod didn’t die of 16 30-06 Springfield rounds, then the cyanide would end his pain. Get the kids from juvie to clean the dead guy outta the room and tell them: “That is what will happen to you if you don’t stay on the straight and narrow.”
    One criminal out of action, a bunch of future criminals with a picture of the criminal splattered against a wall associated with crime forever, and some custom reloaders and bullet makers in business for some time.
    Just my 2 cents.

  66. 1 rd of the victim or victims family’s choice carried out by the sentencing judges hand if its gonna be done it might just as well be with the purpose of closure for the family and for the next idiot in front of that judge would understand where that Judge Stands!!

  67. This is macabre, and in poor taste.

    You censor posts that are flames, or that might be used or twisted against the cause of the 2nd amendment, but publish drivel like this?

    Come on, TTAG. You’re better than that.

  68. Generally I disapprove of the death penalty, but if we’re going to do it why not just use CO poisoning? It’s painless, quick, and (should there be a last-minute pardon) almost completely reversible.

  69. What amazes me is that crowd of folks that all support the second amendment, can have such diverse ideas about how to kill a condemned person, or whether to kill them at all!
    I’m glad we can all agree on one thing, the right to bear arms!

  70. Gary was done with 30.30’s if I remember. Utah gives the condemned the choice for execution. Gas, injection, or squad are your choices I think. Gone is the curtain. They now have a steel wall with a lever on it that opens the ports and turns on flood lights in the condemned eyes as not to see the shooters. 5 M1A’s now hang on the wall. The shooters are volunteers from the Sheriff’s Dept. One blank in the five rifles loaded by the warden. We all know that there is no recoil in a blank, but anyone that has a later question of conscious can dismiss it. Even with the best ammo,,,,, What $5? NUFF SAID!

  71. Put them in a barametric chamber and slowly pull a vacuum until their blood boils inside their body then to the grinder chute to turn them into alpo…seems more humane the a bullet.

  72. -READ!!!-
    TWO OPTIONS:

    1. Set the guy in the middle of the texan desert on the border. Call the Juarez Cartel and tell them to drive by, say a bunch of stuff in spanish, then take him to mexico and shoot his fingers, toes, and ears off, THEN smash his family jewels with a sledge hammer, one at a time. (Traitors and the 44th president)

    2. Take a WWI British Anti-Tank rifle and shoot his knee caps, and leave him strangled by razor wire around his neck off a tree in the bayou. (Rapists/Serial killers)

    *And before you “Request Deletion*, Think about all the people wronged by others who didn’t give a crap about their victim’s family or life, and about the freedoms that are sought after by people who want to destroy them*

  73. I think that there needs to be one option looked at before the firing squad is brought back, Mandated Organ Transplant. Instead of being killed right away, they are taken into surgery and all organs are removed and given to donors. When the major vital organs are removed (heart and lungs) they are completely sedated. They die humanely and with as much honor as deserved to them, that their death can possibly atone in the slightest for their crimes. A single donor can help or save from 10 to 20 lives all in one go.

    If that is ruled cruel. Then bring back the firing squad, make it a simultaneous firing 3 barrel weapon from 10 yards, 7.62 NATO. The barrels fire in an isosceles triangular pattern approximately 4″ a side. That is aimed approximately where the heart is, the 3 rounds together should utterly decimate it, pretty much instantaneous death. Of course put it on a timer or something so that a person doesn’t need to pull the trigger.

  74. Nitrogen mask. Give them oxygen for a random amount of time, say 5-10 minutes, then at some point just switch them over to nitrogen. You don’t notice nitrogen asphyxiation until you pass out, because it is odorless and your lungs continue working normally. Which is why so many ventilation precautions are taken when you are working with liquid nitrogen.

    Of course, if we were forced to use something so crude as a firing squad, I’d recommend the .35 Remington. Just to be different.

  75. Six shooters at 1000 yards using .50 cal. BMG. (just to make it interesting). A rope is cheaper.

  76. Offer the prisoner a cut of the profits, for their family or up-front for their personal use before execution, for auctioning the execution rights for the purpose of ammunition and weapons research and development and high-end sword testing (via beheading, as in the traditional testing of newly forged samurai swords on condemned criminals). Conditional execution rights sold exclusively under certain strict requirements including a swift death. If not dead after a time limit, a rifle shot to the brain stem for immediate death. I’d propose a time limit between 30 to 240 seconds, lower being preferable.

    But as our criminal justice system incurs dramatically higher costs for execution in comparison to life imprisonment, I’m generally against the death penalty. In most cases, there’s little logical benefit.

  77. .50 Beowulf, .458 SOCOM and .45-70 Govt all suggest themselves strongly for execution work especially in HP configurations. One could go back the other way and choose .30-06, 300 WinMag or even something in .308. At those ranges with 4 hits all should result in rapid and sure death.

    Thinking outside the box, how about a Metal Storm device, say a 20 rounder.

  78. 5 guys with either Winchester model 70s or Rem 700s. .30-06, use your basic core lokts and call er done.

  79. OK, now that all the guys who spring to their full turgid 2 1/2 inches at the thought of watching someone die in agony have drooled on the thread how about if the grownups talk?

    Go with whatever the tower guards at the local prisons use. It varies from State to State, but it’s always something that can reliably kill a person, generally something around 30 caliber. We don’t have to worry about the Geneva Convention. This isn’t war. So FMJ is not required. Nosler makes a variety of bullets wonderfully designed to kill animals much larger than a man quickly and efficiently.

  80. I’ve always been a fan of firing squads over other methods. .308 Winchester, .30-06 Springfield, or .30-30 Winchester should do it. Bolt or lever action only, no automated systems. No chairs, straps, blindfold and smoke at criminal’s discretion.

  81. Why all the fuss, there’s a group of doctors in Europe who are a bit more liberally-minded when it comes to the right-to-die, and euthanasia.. The consensus is that the cheapest, least painfull way to go only takes a bit of helium. I’ll leave out the details, but the information is out there….. And if they had to use drugs, heroin laced with phentanol sure seems to be doing the trick around here in Chicago as of late. 🙁

  82. Lots of inhibition shown here. Not really pushing the boat out. How about making executions a money making venture? Offer a chance to hunt the condemned through a 2 acre field of trees or limited cover. For $10,000 there are many well heeled sadists who would willingly pay up for this. After all, most of these criminals are predators themselves, and this would give them a taste of their own medicine. Any fat rich bastards would just have to make sure the condemned didn’t turn the tables on them. Maybe a franchise television program for added revenue. As for calibre? Any .30 calibre upwards would be fine.

  83. This is a tough question. A larger more lethal round is more humane, but I’d feel bad for the SOB who’s gotta clean it up for a living. Too small a round that’s lacking in legality could be considered cruel and unusual punishment, which like the 2A, we’re protected against even for those who’re the most despicable society has to offer.

    I’d vote 22LR, simultaneous head shots should do the trick with minimal mess. Although, that really doesn’t help with the ongoing supply issue.

  84. Average Murderer: .308 HP

    Murderers who kill children: Doused with kerosene and kneecapped with 12 gauge Dragons Breath, let the fire take care of the rest.

  85. The actual reason for the blank is so a murder or manslaughter charge can’t bebought against them all. If no one can tell no one can be charged. My uncle came back from WWII & was charged w/involuntary manslaughter & fined 5 cents in case of war crimes trials he couldn’t be tried twice. He was OSS.

  86. I like the 12-gauge slug idea for sheer “Acme dynamite kit”-style shock factor, but for the sake of practicality, my vote goes to .30-06 or .308 (readily available, known to be quickly lethal on humans) .22LR out of a rifle (easier clean-up).

  87. Keep it cheap, though I prefer a rope which can be reused on multiple offenders a .22 “behind the ear” should suffice saving the taxpayers money then again maybe NOT with the price of .22 ammo today.

  88. So…we don’t generally trust the government to be fair, impartial and precise, yet we’re all feeling pretty good about the death penalty? K.

    • Not all of us. I don’t trust government with the death penalty any more and haven’t for a mighty long time. My answer was to the idea that if there were firing squads… I commented as to how I would prefer to be put to death and how I felt the perceived needs of the State could be satisfied without a host of other ethical and moral issues that I have with death penalty methods.

      However, that is a good question that’s been rolling around in the back of my head also since first reading the comments. 😉

    • I am for limited use of the death penalty, specifically restricted to certain extreme cases. Things like multiple murder, serial rape, and treason. The criteria needs to be removal of a perpetual and irredeemable threat to society. It should have nothing to do with vengeance. The execution should be as swift and efficient as is feasible. I do prefer the nitrogen asphyxiation method, but an automated system set for head shot like I described above could be an alternative to offer the condemned if it is deemed necessary to give them a choice of means.

      • If you agree that it’s not about vengeance, then can you explain why a particular case would warrant execution over life in prison (I mean real life term here, no parole, the only way you get out is if re-examination of evidence finds you innocent for whatever reason)?

      • Treason? So Snowden gets executed? It seems like one man’s treason often ends up being another man’s patriotism. The only time I think a government entity should use lethal force is when failing to do so would result in the death or maiming of innocent individuals. Governments can’t create life, so I don’t think they should be allowed to end lives, especially for punitive reasons.

  89. I don’t believe it’s our right to torture. So whatever happens to be the most efficient. I’m sure there is “perfect” place to be shot and die instantly.

  90. Guillotine , maybe rope hung till dead , both would be considered as Green and environmentally friendly as they could be recycled and use time after time for many uses . Or we could go back to old Sparky don’t think it failed much if at all , could set up a fleet of trucks for Sparky to be used nationwide so not many would have to be built . But as for firearms 30.06 1903 Springfield , five shooters , load of two live rounds , three blanks . Be prepared and ready . Keep your powder dry .

  91. Electric chair only “always works” in a sense that it kills a person… eventually (and even then there are plenty of failed executions to disprove that). But the way it kills a person, can only be described as a “torture killing” in many recorded instances, literally frying the man alive. That it was never declared cruel and unusual punishment is a travesty of justice.

  92. My bad; for a minute there, I was thinking you were talking about ways to solve the politician ethics and loyalty problem.

  93. .357mag the condemned is put in a small room with a stool and a table with a bottle of old no 7, and a loaded revolver the walls are covered with pictures of the crime scene.

  94. MODERATOR: Please delete this entire subject and all comments. While I take no exception to any of the ways to dispatch the bad guy, it is a ghoul-fest to be quoted by out adversaries. Yeah, the whole self censorship thing.

  95. Depends on the crime. Straight murder, any large caliber weapon will do, just finish the turd off. Something like kidnapping and raping a child, or kidnapping, raping, torturing anyone, 22LR, delivered slowly in non-lethal wounds, over a period of hours, until the no good bastard bleeds out.

  96. Seriously, I can’t tell if people are being serious or sarcasticly morbid.

    There are a number of problems with the death penalty but here is just one. Law enforcement officers have been known to lie repeatedly on the stand, falsify evidence and be biased against suspects. There have been several cases come to light where an innocent man has been executed.

    Consider that before you sadism gets the best of you.

    What we need are prisons that are self sustaining and not a drain on taxpayer resources and that don’t let potential repeat violent offenders out.

  97. Well, we haven’t had the death penalty in NZ since 1957. The last man executed was accused of poisoning his wife, but it was found (after the execution) that an old sheepdip tank had been leaking arsenic into their water supply.

    There are still the regular sexual sadism murders, drug murders and domestic murders, but killers can usually expect to be out again in twenty years or less. They quite often repeat their offenses on release. There are many cases of Police false evidence planting, false testimony and potential witnesses deterred from appearing.

    So no, we don’t trust our authorities either. Do you trust yours?

  98. 20mm it’s the only way to be sure. HE for regular crimes. Solid practice slugs for crimes involving children.
    With the traditional 5 man squad of course.

    (as a back up to make extra sure: .9mm!)

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