Given the advanced state of modern medicine and the ever-growing stores of scientific lore regarding the workings of the human body, one would think that dealing death in a speedy and painless fashion were a lot easier than it apparently is.
Following yet another botched execution, which left the candidate convulsing and ultimately succumbing to an unscheduled cardiac event, the perennial debate over whether the death penalty itself should be put on death row has flared up once again.
After all, neither Old Sparky, nor lethal injections, nor the traditional gallows have proven fail-safe enough to sidestep charges of being administered in violation of the Constitution’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment, not to mention the overarching moral question of whether playing Grim Reaper ought to be included in our legal system’s toolbox in the first place.
Until such time as the latter question has been settled in favor of shelving the practice for good—i.e., as long as executions, for better or worse, will remain a staple of American justice—why not replace the dopey needle and the frying chair with a good old-fashioned shooting squad?
If one truly desires to kill in as rapid and foolproof a fashion as can be, the way to do it is to have a team of, say, ten or twelve trained marksmen point their modern-day assault weapons at the heart of the condemned and pull their triggers in unison. That way, the target’s soul will have passed through the gates of heaven or hell before the crack of the rifle fire has even reached his or her eardrums. Only Laurel & Hardy could fuck it up.
Too barbaric? Too loud? Too much blood?
Well, are we concerned about cosmetics or about eliminating the odds of inflicting physical suffering? Which is it?
We’ve seen the sorry consequences of our misguided quest to slay “humanely,” assuming there is such a thing.
So let’s either stop executing people altogether, or do it right.