592 The Question Is... Executions


Tom Garrett 2 years, 10 months ago

I'm sure you've heard all the flack about lethal-injection drugs for executions being in short supply, and lawyers making all kinds of trouble about executions as a result.

Some states are so fed up that they are considering just going back to the former methods. Missouri has had great trouble getting some of the drugs it needs, so state Rep. Rick Brattin, has proposed making firing squads an option for executions.

"This isn't an attempt to time-warp back into the 1850s or the wild, wild West or anything like that," he says. "It's just that I foresee a problem, and I'm trying to come up with a solution that will be the most humane yet most economical for our state."

He adds that questions about the injection drugs are sure to end up in court, delaying executions and forcing states to examine alternatives.

He was right. I had no sooner read his words NPR, than I ran across this AP report:

"Scheduled Missouri execution temporarily stayed"

"The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule Wednesday on two petitions regarding Missouri death row inmate Herbert Smulls, the Missouri Attorney General's office said.

Smulls' execution was temporarily stayed late Tuesday with an order from the high court signed by Justice Samuel Alito. It was sent about two-and-a-half hours before Smulls was scheduled to die at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday.

Smulls' lawyer, Cheryl Pilate, filed last-minute pleas, focusing on the state's refusal to disclose the name of the compounding pharmacy that produces the lethal-injection drug, pentobarbital, for use in the execution. But Missouri has argued that the compounding pharmacy is part of the execution team and therefore its name cannot be released to the public.

St. Louis County prosecutor Bob McCulloch said talk about the drug is a smoke screen aimed at sparing the life of a cold-blooded killer. He noted that several courts have already ruled against Smulls, including the U.S. District Court in Kansas City and the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Gov. Jay Nixon denied clemency Tuesday evening.

There is no question about Smull's guilt. He murdered Stephen Honickman in cold blood, entering a jewerly store and shooting down the clerks without warning.

In Wyoming a lawmaker this month also offered a bill allowing the firing squad.

A Virginia lawmaker wants to make electrocution an option if lethal-injection drugs are not available.

Some states already provide alternatives to lethal injection. Condemned prisoners may choose the electric chair in eight states: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.

Missouri and Wyoming allow for gas-chamber executions, and Arizona does if the crime occurred before Nov. 23, 1992, and the inmate chooses that option instead of lethal injection.

So the question is....

Do you think that we should go back to the old fashioned methods of execution wherever necessary to get the job over and done with?


Pat Randall 2 years, 10 months ago

Condemned prisoners don't need a choice. No execution can not be done in a humane manner unless you slip an over dose of drugs in their meal when they don't know it is going to happen.


John Lemon 2 years, 10 months ago

Tom, I can not verify the following, but it is interesting. Someone told me that in Russia they put a condemned prisoner in a cell and often come into the cell for inspections. The prisoner is told to face outward and place hands on the bars. The prisoner can not watch what the guard is doing behind him. One day the guard comes for inspection, tells the prisoner to assume the usual position and then shoots him in the back of the head.


Tom Garrett 2 years, 10 months ago


I agree that no execution can be entirely "humane." Just knowing you are going to die is a form of suffering. But then, we all go through that, don't we?

You want the truth? I would prefer to be shot by a firing squad than to be strapped down on some %$#@! table with things stuck in my arms while some bunch of ghouls watches me die. I don't know who decided that was a humane way to go, but whoever it was got it all wrong.


That sounds possible to me. It wouldn't be a bad idea as far as I am concerned. You'd get jaded after a while of doing the same thing every day, and so you'd perhaps worry less. It would be better than the "last mile" kind of crap. The British in recent time used a system where you were taken to your cell and hanged right there and then in the cell. It was fast if nothing else.

The Chinese once used (and maybe still do) the method of sitting you in a chair and shooting you in the back of the head. That is about as humane as an execution can get, I think. It is a VERY fast death because the brain (which is you) is destroyed almost instantly. I never cared for the electric chair. Takes far, far too long. You should read about it. I won't go into it here. The details are far more gruesome than most people realize.

Frankly, I agree with Pat that putting something in your food that knocks you out and then executing you while you are out is probably the most humane method.

As for the reason for all this fuss, it is unconscionable for any company to refuse to sell its products as a means of making a political statement when it knows full well that all it will do is make the death of a convicted person more stressful.


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