The shortage of drugs necessary for lethal injection has created a predicament for US states that still use the death penalty. As a result, Idaho became the fifth state to reinstate death by firing squad after Mississippi, Utah, Oklahoma, and South Carolina. The firing squad is seen as a viable alternative since companies have banned their drugs from being used in lethal injection cocktails. In this article, we will examine Idaho’s recent decision to allow death by firing squads and the implications for the future of capital punishment in the United States.
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The Rise of Death by Firing Squads
Idaho Reinstates the Firing Squad
On Friday, Governor Brad Little signed HB 186, which would allow the use of the firing squad when lethal injection is not available. Idaho’s decision to reinstate the firing squad has become increasingly common in US states that face a shortage of lethal injection drugs. The Associated Press reports that Mississippi, Utah, Oklahoma, and South Carolina also allow for the use of the firing squad. The AP adds that the addition of executions by firing squad may become more prevalent as the US struggles with a shortage of drugs for lethal injections.
Drug Companies Ban Their Drugs from Being Used in Lethal Injection Cocktails
After the US began using lethal injection as the main form of execution in the 2000s, companies began banning the use of their medication for use in the cocktail of medications needed for the injection, according to The AP. Some states have found alternative medications, while others reinstated or considered bringing back other forms of execution like the electric chair or gas chambers.
Death by Firing Squads: A Brief History
The Evolution of Execution Methods in America
The use of the death penalty in the US dates back to colonial times. Various methods of execution have been used over the years, including lethal gas and hanging. The United States executed 18 people in 2022, according to Newsweek. Haunting photos show how the death penalty has evolved in America, from lethal injection to hangings.
The 1970s: The Introduction of Death by Firing Squads
The use of firing squads has been around since the 1970s with the execution of Gary Gilmore in 1977. Gilmore requested the method instead of hanging. He had been convicted of two counts of murder in Utah State Prison. The AP reported that the most recent use of the firing squad in executions was in 2010. Ronnie Lee Gardner was executed at Utah State Prison after he was convicted of killing an attorney during a courthouse escape attempt. In both instances, the men were strapped to chairs, with a target pinned over their hearts. Then five rifles would be pointed at them from 25 feet away.
The Future of Capital Punishment in America
The Debate over the Constitutionality of Capital Punishment
The constitutionality of the death penalty has long been a contentious issue in the US. The Eighth Amendment of the Constitution prohibits the use of “cruel and unusual punishments.” Some argue that the death penalty falls under this category, while others argue that it is a necessary form of punishment for heinous crimes.
The Use of Alternative Methods of Execution
As the shortage of drugs for lethal injections continues, some states are looking for alternative methods of execution. In addition to death by firing squad, some states have reinstated the electric chair or gas chambers. The debate over the use of alternative methods of execution will continue as the shortage of lethal injection drugs persists.
The decision by Idaho to allow for death by firing squad is indicative of the challenges states face when trying to carry out the death penalty through lethal injection. The shortage of drugs necessary for lethal injection has led to some states reconsidering other methods of execution. The use of firing squads is not a new concept in the United States, but it has not been used frequently since the 1970s.
While some may argue that the death penalty is a necessary form of justice for heinous crimes, others believe it is a cruel and inhumane punishment that has no place in modern society. The debate surrounding the death penalty is likely to continue, but for now, Idaho has become the fifth state to allow for death by firing squad.
1.Is death by firing squad more humane than lethal injection?
Ans. There is no definitive answer to this question as it is subjective. However, some argue that death by firing squad is quicker and more certain than lethal injection, which can sometimes cause pain and suffering.
2.How many states still have the death penalty?
Ans. As of 2023, 27 states still have the death penalty.
3.Can inmates choose their method of execution?
Ans. In some states, inmates are given the option to choose their method of execution, but this varies by state.
4.What are the arguments for and against the death penalty?
Ans. Arguments for the death penalty include the belief that it is a necessary form of justice for heinous crimes, while arguments against it include the belief that it is a cruel and inhumane punishment that has no place in modern society.
5.Has anyone been wrongly executed?
Ans. There have been cases where individuals have been exonerated after being wrongly convicted of a crime, including some who were on death row. However, it is unclear if anyone has been wrongly executed.