Alternative Death Penalties

Wyoming has a bill pending which authorizes the firing squad in the event that the state cannot obtain chemicals required for lethal injection.

This is very much the right idea because anti-capital punishment advocates have lately focused their efforts on the lethal injection supply chain, and lethal injection is presently the only authorized method of capital punishment in most of the states retaining the penalty. And aside, lethal injection is an idiotic method in the first place.

But Wyoming errs in selecting the firing squad.

This is a practice best reserved for honorable deaths, which as far as I know, isn’t a thing outside of the UCMJ today (and whether or not they still have it I assume but couldn’t really say).

Honorable soldiers got the firing squad because they deserved “a soldier’s death.”

Criminals, always joined by dishonorable soldiers, got the noose or its equivalent, and they deserve no more today.

You can always tell by the method of execution whether the condemned was deemed honorable: honorable men were killed by other men; dishonorable men were killed by the State, which in practice usually meant gravity. And even where it provided the assist, you will see a difference, as with decapitation by sword instead of axe.

Wyoming absolutely should move past lethal injection — a shortsighted attempt to appease people who will stop at nothing to abolish capital punishment — but the obviously correct substitute is hanging, not the firing squad.

Let the condemned fall under his own weight.


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