Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Federal Judge Calls for Firing Squad to Carry Out Executions

Killing people is a brutal and messy business, and if Americans can't deal with that, they shouldn't be condemning people to death, said a top federal judge, according to the website Newser. In a strongly worded dissent in an Arizona lethal-injection case, Alex Kozinski, chief judge of the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals, calls the current system "inherently flawed" and says states that want to execute inmates should return to more "primitive—and foolproof—methods" of execution, NBC reports. "The guillotine is probably best but seems inconsistent with our national ethos," he writes. "And the electric chair, hanging, and the gas chamber are each subject to occasional mishaps. The firing squad strikes me as the most promising. Eight or 10 large-caliber rifle bullets fired at close range can inflict massive damage, causing instant death every time."
Kozinski says the switch to lethal injections in the '70s was misguided, the Guardian reports. "Subverting medicines meant to heal the human body to the opposite purpose was an enterprise doomed to failure," he writes, adding that drugs are used "to mask the brutality of executions by making them look serene and peaceful—like something any one of us might experience in our final moments. … But executions are, in fact, nothing like that. They are brutal, savage events, and nothing the state tries to do can mask that reality."
The use of a firing squad is not far-fetched.  In my book, The Executioner's Toll, 2010 I chronicled the execution of Ronnie Lee Gardner whose 2010 execution in Utah was carried out by firing squad.

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