Friday, April 23, 2010

"The firing squad please"

Utah used to allow prisoners sentenced to death to choose between lethal injection and the firing squad. Ronnie Lee Gardner—who seems to have exhausted his appeals—chose the firing squad. But he will be one of the last prisoners permitted to make that choice. According to a story in the NY Times,
Utah is phasing out firing squads because of the media attention and bad image they cause, legislators and corrections officials said.
Bad image? Utah wants to kill people but not look bad while doing it?

By the way, here's how it works.
Procedures for the last two such executions in Utah, which officials said would largely be followed with Mr. Gardner, had five unidentified officers using identical .30-30 hunting rifles from a distance of about 20 feet. One rifle — which one unknown to the shooters — was loaded with a blank. The condemned man was strapped into a seat while wearing a black jumpsuit and a hood, with a white cloth circle placed over his heart to provide a target.
Does that really look worse than stapping someone down and injecting them with a lethal serum? I guess it's a matter of taste. Perhaps its the blood resulting from the bullet wounds that makes them cringe.

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