I read that in Oklahoma (where the idea is under serious consideration,) the method wouldn’t involve a gas chamber, per se, but rather, a mask would be put over the condemned’s nose+mouth. The condemned inhales the nitrogen, and is unconscious very quickly, and dead soon, with just about zero pain or awareness.
Right before he was killed Gary Gilmore said “let’s do it” and a guy at Nike heard about that and came up with the slogan “Just do it”
IIRC firing squad is routinely the most efficient and “painless” way to kill people (as seen by it’s centuries of use) but I remember hearing in some state that wanted to bring it back because of the lethal injection problems that some anti-death penalty group wanted the names of all officers who were part of the firing squad in theory for transparency but in presumably in practice to just plaster their names on billboards everywhere under MURDERERS so the state had to stop that inquiry into bringing back the firing squad.
I can’t imagine it’s more painless than nitrogen gas, the guillotine, or even just a bolt to the back of the head (the way cattle is killed, I believe). I also imagine it would be very difficult on the non-psychopath officers who have to shoot a person in cold blood. I haven’t killed anyone by shooting them or triggering a guillotine, but I imagine I’d have an easier time pressing a guillotine release button than shooting them in the chest.
That argument / tactic applies equally to anyone involved in any means of execution. As such it has no particular relevance to firing squads.
I’m not denying that some anti’s seized on this issue in some state at some time. I’m just arguing that anti’s anywhere anytime could equally seize on the same tactic with any execution means. Including those used today.
I think the condemned themselves should be able to choose their own
form of execution from several available choices. For example, the available choices might be Lethal Injection, Hanging, Firing Squad, and Beheading.
I read that when they executed Ronnie Lee Gardner (four bullets in the heart) it took two minutes until they pronounced him dead.
And I don’t think there are any real studies on how painless death by firing squad is, considering there have only been three executions via firing squad since '76.
I read and believe that a least one of the members of the firing squad has a blank loaded, thus ensuring that none of the shooters know 100 percent who fired the fatal shot.
Chased off a cliff by a group of topless women is what was used in The Meaning of Life.
The difference in recoil is vastly different between a live round and a blank.
Can’t they tell from the kickback? Anyway, if you do enough of them, you know you’ll get the one with a bullet at some point (technically, I guess you might never…).
I’m just going by what I read.
I’ll take your word for it. I’m just going by what I read, and that was the claim.
And–I did see a few articles that said what you said. So I guess a novice would not notice, but someone familiar with guns would.
Maybe the blank is some kind of false hope for the shooters?
^^Very interesting reading. Thank you. I appreciate it.
I’m not quite sure if this apparent disagreement about the firing squad procedures is over whether or not they ever actually used the “one rifle loaded with a blank”, or over whether that procedure was fundamentally pointless. But executions by firing squad have definitely included the “one rifle loaded with a blank”–or even “several rifles loaded with blanks”–provision, at least in some times and places.
From the 1947 U.S. Army manual “Procedure for Military Executions” (PDF file at the Library of Congress):
I suppose one possible reason for such a provision is that the members of the firing squad won’t know if they’re really shooting directly at another human being (who is bound and helpless) until the moment they pull the trigger, and will therefore be more likely not to flinch or hesitate at the last moment.
ETA: And ninja’ed, I see.
Although it was decades ago, I remember being in a movie theater with a group of friends watching Shirley Maclaine in The Turning Point.
I was very nearly bored to death. I think capital punishment advocates should explore this avenue.
Supposedly one of the largest problems in WWII was getting guys to actually shoot at another person. I wonder if any members of a firing squad would intentionally miss.
I can’t imagine that death by firing squad is painless. Unless the first shot is to the head, you’d get to experience whatever it feels like to have your body torn apart. I bet that hurts.
Nitrogen is way more humane. So is being killed by a bolt to the back of the skull, like the way they kill cattle. So are the various protocols vets use to “put your pet to sleep”, although there may be legal issues obtaining those drugs for an execution. Decapitation and hanging are probably both less painful than a firing squad, too.
Killing mammals quickly and humanely is a solved problem. The reasons we don’t use any of those quick, humane methods for executions are political, not scientific.
Some states do let prisoners choose from a limited number of methods, so it’s possible for someone to choose hanging over lethal injection.
I think Washington State is one, although, don’t quote me, because the law could have changed, but they hanged Westley Allan Dodd in 1993, as that was his choice over other means, which at the time I think would have been the electric chair.
I’m also pretty sure he was the last person executed by hanging in the US, even though there are states that maintain it as a legal method, if it’s the convict’s preference. No one chooses it, though.
FWIW, I had a dog put down once (she had cancer, so her time was limited anyway, but she had suddenly lost the ability to walk from neurological damage), who had a paradoxical reaction to the fist medicine that was supposed to relax her before the one that actually killed her. So she was getting agitated, and the vet had to improvise with something else.
I can’t imagine what would happen if a human had a paradoxical reaction to the calming med they give before the lethal injection-- after all, the dog did not know what was happening, and the people administering lethal injection can’t improvise.
Also, the law doesn’t allow for a flow chart with if/then circumstances. There have to be exact steps followed, with no divergence, no matter how the convict is acting or reacting.
Part of the paradox though, is that for an executioner to make judgment calls, you really need a doctor, and most doctors will not be involved in executions.
FWIW, though, I am very adamantly anti-death penalty.