The Thing Speaks for Whatever

What a way to go?

In Polls Hypos and Other Imaginings, Rooks on June 27, 2010 at 5:11 pm

So this dude in Utah was just excuted by firing squad.  Now, various positions on the death penalty aside, I’m pretty sure everyone can agree that, on a scale of zero to incredibly fucking painful, no method of execution is anywhere near what anyone would call “pleasant.” At first, when I initially read that the deceased actually chose firing squad, I thought that was a bit wackadoo.  By all accounts bullets hurt quite a bit – having never been shot, I can’t attest to any personal experience, but that seems to be a pretty universal assessment.  Bullets = Hurt like a mofo.

But I’ve been think about this, and the longer I think about it, the more picking firing squad, as opposed to any other method of execution, seems like the best of a bad bargain.  The only other choices in the US, as far as I can tell, would be electrocution, gas chamber, hanging or lethal injection, and, no matter what SCOTUS says*,  any methodology of execution deemed too cruel to use when putting down a dog is not how I want to go.  (Paralytics?  No, thank you.  The last thing I want is to die in agony completely unable to move.)  And though I have had a number of people tell me that my hair looks as if my finger has been in a socket – clearly unaware that a) that’s a rather foolish thing to tell someone if you don’t want them instantly hate you and b) that the vagaries of so-called “mixed” hair are legion, obscene amounts of bad-ass fluff being only one of many perks – electrocution sounds, unbelievably, even worse.

Of course there’s hanging, with the possibility of slowly suffocating to death, and the gas chamber, with the absolute guarantee of slowly suffocating to death . . . No, firing squad, on deeper musing, is at least comparatively quick, if not not painless.  Were I in that situation, providence forfend, I think that’s what I’d go with too.  Now personally, I think that if getting shot is the good option, this could be a good time to revisit the 8th Amendment, but rather than start folks to fighting right out of the gate, and on the presumption that I’m not the only morbid soul in the world to preoccupy themselves with such grisly-ass thoughts – what would you pick?

*Baze v. Rees – have you met my friend GoogleScholar?  Look upon its works, ye Mighty, and despair.  Or leisurely surf its works, ye Merely Curious, and go into paroxysms of nerdish delight.  Whatever suits.

  1. I think I’m in the firing squad camp, but I’d like to know more about what they do if they screw it up and you don’t die rather quickly (were you aware that they sit you in the chair and put a target over your heart? At least, that’s what they did with this last one.). My brother is firmly Team Hanging, because (he argues) so long as they put the knot to the side, your neck breaks and you die instantly. I…do not have that much confidence in the method/executioner and not being able to breathe freaks me the fuck out (which might clue you in to my feelings about auto-erotic asphyxiation). All of the other options have to be eliminated for the reasons you mention above.

  2. I wish we could get Le Guillotine. Probably the most humane form of execution ever. Or, be put under anesthesiology. I felt no pain at all when I went under. Why can’t they use that with the lethal injection if they want painless. But, since it is for PUNISHMENT (hopefully for apt reason and not an innocent), then pain is probably desired by the victim(s)’s family. Although really, a beheading would be good and then salvaging the person for body parts to help others would be most fair. I know I’m a little macabre :)

    Welcome back to blogging. I missed your last one

  3. I dunno – the fact that you can still see and hear and think for a solid ten seconds after getting your head chopped off has always made the guillotine seem a bit off-putting to me. Well, more off-putting than for the obvious reasons, anyway.

  4. Can we talk about the fact that the murderer spent the last 9 hours of his life watching the Lord of the Rings movies? That seems weird.

    • Yes, yes we can – I thought that was weird too. I mean really? Of all the things in all the world? Peter Jackson?

  5. The new Ohio one-drug protocol is what they use on pets, basically. A very large overdose of barbiturates–you go to sleep and don’t wake up, with no nasty paralytics or heart-stoppers involved. I’d go with that or firing squad, I think.

    Amusingly, when I was working on a post-Baze challenge to Delaware’s 3-drug protocol, the alternative we pushed was the Ohio-style one-drug protocol. But of course, when Ohio wanted to switch, the inmates went nuts suing Ohio, all like, This is untried and untested! We must have the 3-drug protocol or nothing! Which is to say that I understand why anti-DP-lawyers sometimes get called disingenuous. I call it scrabbling with one’s teeth and fingernails, but I guess that’s semantics.

  6. Death by gunshot to the head, properly aimed, wouldn’t be so bad, but I’d worry with a firing squad– similar to the guillotine worries above– about how long I’d stay conscious after taking a bullet to the heart. I’d prefer a guillotine, because even if I *am* conscious, at least its just a quick cut.

    Of the available options though, I’d go with lethal injection, with the hope that they improve the drug cocktail some so that it would actually be painless.

Whatever, yo.

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