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Thread: Will firing squads make a comeback in the US?

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    GuncoHolic Black Blade's Avatar
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    Default Will firing squads make a comeback in the US?

    Will firing squads make a comeback in the US?

    By Regan Morris BBC News, Los Angeles



    The seldom-used firing squad chamber in Utah State Prison

    As the drugs used in lethal injections become scarce amid an EU embargo, some US politicians are suggesting alternative methods to execute criminals. Could they turn to an option seldom used since the end of the Civil War - the firing squad?

    Death by firing squad is rare in the United States - the last execution using this method was just four years ago in Utah. Since then, more than 150 people have been put to death by lethal injection.

    Convicted murderer Ronnie Lee Gardner chose the firing squad as his method of execution.

    On 17 June 2010 his arms, legs and head were strapped to a metal chair and four bullets - from five sharpshooters, one whose gun was loaded with blanks - ripped through a target pinned over his heart.

    It was a swift execution, but critics called it barbaric.

    I really don't care if it's by lethal injection, by the electric chair, firing squad, hanging, the guillotine or being fed to the lions”End Quote Mike Christian Oklahoma Representative

    But a botched lethal injection in Oklahoma last month has brought back talk of firing squads.

    Convicted rapist and murderer Clayton Lockett was strapped to a gurney. The first drug in the three-drug lethal injection cocktail was supposed to sedate him, but spectators were stunned when Lockett raised his head and started moaning and writhing.

    Lockett died of a heart attack 43 minutes after officials stopped administering the drugs.

    Proponents of capital punishment say Lockett got what he deserved and suffered less than his victims. But opponents say it was clearly a case of "cruel and unusual" punishment, which is proscribed by the US constitution.

    The EU has implemented strict controls on exports of certain drugs to assure they are not used in executions in the US and elsewhere. This has caused a shortage of the drugs previously used in executions. States have turned to less-precise compounding pharmacies to create new drug cocktails, the details about which are closely guarded secrets in some states.

    Anti-death penalty activists who argue these drugs could cause a botched execution point to cases like Dennis McGuire, an Ohio inmate who took 25 minutes to die, and another who said he felt his body "burning" as the drugs coursed through his veins.

    Now some lawmakers are proposing a return to other methods of execution as a way to continue the death penalty.



    Virginia legislators have tried to reinstate the electric chair - above, a chair photographed in 1951

    "I realize this may sound harsh," Oklahoma Representative Mike Christian told local reporters after Lockett's death, "but as a father and former lawman, I really don't care if it's by lethal injection, by the electric chair, firing squad, hanging, the guillotine or being fed to the lions."

    In Oklahoma it is legal to use firing squads as a back-up method of execution, but only should lethal injections be declared unconstitutional by the state or federal courts. Executions in that state are currently on hold as officials evaluate what went wrong in Lockett's case.

    In Missouri a bill is being considered to allow firing squads.

    History of the death penalty in the US

    The death penalty is administered by individual states, with 18 states and the District of Columbia having outlawed the practice

    First introduced by British settlers
    Laws enacted in Virginia in 1612 allowed the death penalty for offences as minor as stealing grapes, killing chickens and trading with Indians.
    New York built the first electric chair and used it for the first time in 1890. It was used in Nebraska until 2008, when the state Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional.
    Nevada was the first to introduce the gas chamber in the 1920s, largely replacing hangings.
    The first lethal injection was administered in Texas in 1982. It is now the primary method in all 32 death penalty states.
    Several Supreme Court cases in the 1960s and 1970s resulted in a 17-year national moratorium of the death penalty. That ended on 18 January 1977, when Gary Gilmore was killed by a firing squad in Utah.
    "This isn't an attempt to time-warp back into the 1850s or the wild, wild West or anything like that," Missouri state Representative Rick Brattin told reporters earlier this year. "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."

    A similar bill recently was rejected by Wyoming's state legislators. The gas chamber is available in Wyoming as a back-up method, though the state does not have any gas chambers. Virginia legislators tried to reinstate the electric chair should lethal injection drugs be unavailable, but the bill stalled in the Senate.

    There have only been three civilian firing-squad deaths in the United States since the end of the Civil War - all of them in Utah. The state outlawed that method in 2004, but it remains an option to a handful of people remaining on death row who were sentenced before the ban became law.



    After a lethal injection in Oklahoma went bad, officials shut a curtain to block spectators' view

    Richard Dieter, the executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, says talk of firing squads and electric chairs is more political theatre than real policy suggestion.

    "These are threats. The core is saying, 'If you interfere, if you make us reveal the sources of drugs, or make us obtain drugs from other places, then we may have to go back to other means,'" Dieter says. "It's a warning shot."

    Dieter thinks it is unlikely states will return to firing squads or other methods of executions.

    "If they did the public would be outraged - there would be smoke and blood and smells and people would be sick watching it," Dieter says.

    Franklin Zimring, a criminal justice scholar at the University of California-Berkeley, believes states would struggle to staff firing squads.

    "It carries connotations of enormous power, getting lots of people to shoot you. We have a hell of a time getting one or two people to press a button [to administer the drugs], so getting eight of them to shoot at the same time? It becomes a matter of state secrecy who done it," he says.

    "Very few families want to raise their first born to be an executioner."

    The next execution in the US is scheduled for 21 May in Missouri.


    Black Blade: The whole point of executions is that they should be open to the public for viewing as a deterrent. Unfortunately they are now done behind closed doors snd the whole point is lost except for the ultimate "punishment" part. As for finding people to be executioners I highly doubt that there would be a shortage of people willing to pull the trigger, the lever or push the buttons. Might have so many applicants they would have to beat them away with a stick in some cases. I would think the most efficient and most humane method would be as the Russians do - as they walk the criminal down a corridor escorted by guards one of the guards walking behind puts one into the back of the skull from a Makarov pistol. The criminal never knows when the execution takes place as being escorted from place to place within the prison is a daily occurance. The Japanese also don't mess around as they use hanging and the criminal never knows when his execution date is until he enters the hanging chamber and it ends rather quickly. Here in the US the criminal is more likely to die of natural causes due to old age caused by years - decades of delays than by any method of execution. Whatever method is used it is not likely anywhere as horrific as the method the criminal used on his victim(s) and he is getting off rather easy as a result.
    When you're born you get a ticket to the freak show. When you're born in America , you get a front row seat. - George Carlin


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    Gunco Addicted for life j427x's Avatar
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    i think they need to bring back hanging.

    ammo it too expensive to waste on crimminals that are not in the act.


    besides ropes are re-usable and bio-degradable-- al gore should be happy---

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    No Hope For Me 1biggun's Avatar
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    I think the executions should be televised as a deterrent .

    A bolt gun to the back of the head lie used on cattle is all that is needed.

    a guillotine would work also .

    I am for the death penalty but I am against all the money an BS spent getting it done . I formore safe guards to be present to insure the verdict is right but if it is then it should come in days if not years .

    The botched injection should have never happened .

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    No Hope For Me Coils's Avatar
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    Will firing squads make a comeback in the US?
    I hope so
    "Government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem" Ronald Reagan

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    NoWorkCamp4Me railbuggy's Avatar
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    What as that movie Jerry Springer was in where they were going to put it on public television.
    SOON-We already lost the war. You are the resistance.

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    aka: SDK1968 dutigaf's Avatar
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    i would hope so too. much much cheaper.
    say what you mean & mean what you say


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    White Cracker 4thIDvet's Avatar
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    Only thing I have against the death penalty, lot of people on death row really are innocent. The "innocence project" really did prove that.
    Innocence Project - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Started by Barry Scheck and Peter Neufield they began it as a class project. Be damned if the guy they did the first run on really was innocent, DNA proved him correct. From rape to murder, they have people walking out the door after years and years in prison.
    Now if someone is spot on guilty, fry the mother frigger. But to many are really in jail due to some meathead misidentifying them.

    Wrongful convictions[edit]

    As of December 2011, 307 people previously convicted of serious crimes in the United States had been exonerated by DNA testing since 1989, 17 of whom had been sentenced to death.[2] Almost all (99%) of the convictions proven to be false were of males,[9] with minority groups also disproportionately represented (approximately 70%).[2] The National Registry of Exonerations lists 891 people who were convicted of a crime for which they were later exonerated through DNA and non-DNA evidence.[10] According to a study published in 2014, more than 4% of persons sentenced to death from 1973 to 2004 are probably innocent.[11] The following are some examples of notable exonerations:
    Innocence Project - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    "Man needs but two things to survive alone in the woods. A blow up female doll and his trusty old AK-47" - Thomas Jefferson 1781


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    Gunco Veteran hunter_02's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dutigaf View Post
    i would hope so too. much much cheaper.
    The difference between the cost of leathal injection and the cost of a firing squad wouldn't blow the both of us to a steak dinner.
    The outrageous cost of fcapital punishment lies with the cost of the appeals.

    4th, who determines if someone is 'spot on guilty'? Are you old enough to remember the Saigon "Pistol-to-the-head" pictures? Killer guilty, right?
    If you want I'll give you the history of the twenty minutes before that picture.
    Hunter

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    Gunco Veteran stalker1's Avatar
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    Hunter wasn't that a heat of the moment execution? I remember the shot, no pun, but the story like most things gets a little fuzzy over time.

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    Where's my lathe? ashhoe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hunter_02 View Post
    If you want I'll give you the history of the twenty minutes before that picture.
    Hunter
    I'll take that bit 'O history if you don't mind. I've read a few things in my day and another couldn't hurt.
    member # 575

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