Firing Squads

Utah recently executed a man by firing squad, which, it turns out, has been a wee bit controversial.

At the end of the day, though, I can’t figure out why the use of a firing squad is controversial. Every argument I have against it also applies to lethal injection or electrocution, which seem to be perceived as more “civilized” means of killing people than firing squad. But if I were going to be put to death, I think I’d probably most prefer to be summarily shot in the head than strapped down and slowly injected with chemicals or electrocuted.

An interesting aside: Canada and Mexico have both banned capital punishment. Mexico was later to the game than Canada, banning it in 1976. Costa Rica banned it in 1877 and no, that’s not a typo. Israel in 1954, South Africa in 1997. Cambodia in 1989. Vatican City in 1969. Makes it seem kind of strange that it’s still considered an important part of American law.

One thought on “Firing Squads

  1. The reason firing squads are more controversial is because they have a specific practice (coup de grace) in case the initial firing doesn’t kill you. That means you have to be shot, and then shot again because your executioners had crappy aim.

    Electrocution has only had a handful of people ever come out “okay” after the first jolt. (Also, it is NOT true that they let you go if you live after the initial jolt. They just do it over again until you are properly cooked.) Lethal injection, I believe, has a 100% 1st try success rate.

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