Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Malice Aforethought Gun Violence

That's a mouthful, huh? You saw it here first!!!

Anyways, Utah is going to execute a murderer via firing squad in about a week, and there is an outcry from some about how mean it is:
"The firing squad is archaic, it's violent, and it simply expands on the violence that we already experience from guns as a society," Bishop John C. Wester, of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City, said during an April protest.
There's a lot wrong with that statement.

First, can it really be considered archaic if it's still in use? That it's violent is about the most stupid thing I've heard in a long time; exactly how do you expect someone to be put to death non-violently? Sprinkle poisoned fairy dust in their last meal? Death by pillow squad?

People are always bitching about how violent, barbaric, unfair, unethical, immoral, inhumane, or disgusting state sanctioned executions are, and they may be right, but every type of execution arguably meets all of that criteria, so what's the controversy? It's like protesting that water is wet. So a firing squad is too violent, and lethal injection may hurt too much, so what's the answer? Hanging? Guillotine? Ol' Sparky is probably the most violent way to go, yet people still ask for it from time to time. This scumbag asked for the firing squad over lethal injection, so what does that say?

Lastly, how does execution by firing squad expand on violence in society committed with guns? Does lethal injection expand on violent poisoning? Does the use of the electric chair cause scumbags to run out and electrocute somebody? Pretty silly.

Of interest to me is that one of the five rifles is alleged to be loaded with a blank round of ammunition, under the idea that none of the executioners will know for sure if the fatal round came from their rifle. This is really stupid in my opinion, mainly because if you can't tell the difference between a real shot fired and a blank round fired, then you have no business shooting at someone who is owed a clean death. If you have never fired a blank round of ammo, there is virtually no perceived recoil, and the report from the rifle is noticeably different, although it's likely that an executioner firing amongst others won't be able to hear his rifle anyways. Considering that these executioners should be experienced marksman, and are probably mandated to familiarize themselves with the rifles to be used by firing them on a range with live ammunition, they should definitely be able to tell from the recoil of the rifle if they are one of the unfortunate souls who fired a live round into the heart of a fellow human being. There's just no way.

On a lesser point, if executing condemned human beings is in your job description, and you volunteered for that job under your own power, why exactly does anyone think you're owed the opportunity to have a cloud of doubt cast on your duty? It just seems kinda pointless.

The thing that gets to me the most in all of this though is that there seems to be no question of his guilt. Nobody is arguing that he shouldn't be shot to death because he's not guilty; the argument is that it's wrong to shoot someone to death because it's too brutal, which brings us back to the whole death by pillow fight thing. Gardner shot his victim to death without consideration of the cruelty of his method, so really this sentence satisfies pretty much every criteria that I can think of in Exodus.

Again, I'm not advocating state executions. That I'm pretty torn on. Ultimately though, there is no real argument that putting someone to death one way is less nasty and cruel than another. We can have a round table discussion on what is the best way, and we can even invoke methods and ideas from the likes of Tom & Jerry or Roadrunner, but at the end of the day there is a heavy job to do. Here we have a man who has chosen his way, and he should have it.
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