I’m hearing a lot of buzz this evening about a news story from Utah that it wouldn’t have occurred to me to put on my front page: A condemned man is choosing to face a firing squad rather than lethal injection? Between the lines of the reporting and comments I’m hearing what I perceive as a flavor of “Firing squad? How awful! How barbaric!”
To which I’m going, Yeah, so? My God, who wouldn’t choose that? I know I would. In fact, of all the forms of execution current in this country, the firing squad is by far the least objectionable from the point of view of the condemned. It’s quicker and more certain than hanging.
And to me, lethal injection is by far the worst, the most blood-chillingly terrifying, the most cruel and unusual way to take a man’s life.
It’s so cold, so sterile, so deliberate, so clinical, so pseudo-nonviolent and therefore most morally chilling. Like, we’re going to kill you, casually and dispassionately, in a staged setting that makes a mockery of the healing process.
This, of course, is related to my fear of giving blood, which I overcome every time I go to the Red Cross. It’s the cold, clinical, deliberateness of that that has always chilled me. What if the point of slipping that needle into my vein was to kill me, deliberately and legally, with all due ceremony?
Maybe it doesn’t strike you that way, but it seems the most evil, Room 101 thing you could do to another human being.
But a firing squad, the straightforward, quick, honestly retributive violence of it, is to me the most morally defensible form of capital punishment. I don’t believe in ANY form of execution, but if I were king and had to choose for someone else, or if I were given the devil’s own choice of deciding for myself, that’s definitely the way I’d go.