Firing Squads Set To Return With A Bang, As Lethal Injection Shortage Persists

Tyler Durden's picture

Chalk this one up to US (f)austerity, and a $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bull that forgot to add Pentobarbital among the billions in pork spending.

Two months ago we reported that due to a shortage of Pentobarbital, Ohio would be unable to execute death row convicts. It appears that the shortage has persisted into the new year, and now some states are taking matters into their own hands. Or rather the hands of the firing squad. As NBC reports, due to the lethal drug shortage, lawmakers in at least two states to call for the return of firing squads. "Missouri state Rep. Rick Brattin, a Republican representing Harrisonville, introduced legislation Friday (.pdf) that would add five-person firing squads as an alternative to the state's current method of capital punishment, lethal injection."

Ostensibly, the reason why firing squads may be back with a, well, bang, is due to the "unethical" and "inhumane" prolonged death death last Thursday of Dennis McGuire in Ohio who was executed using a new combination of drugs that had never been used in a US execution before.

It took almost 25 minutes for McGuire, who was executed for raping and murdering a 22-year-old pregnant newlywed, to die gasping and choking Thursday from a new combination of drugs that had never before been used in a U.S. execution. McGuire's family said Friday it intends to sue Ohio prison officials for what they called McGuire's "torture."

And while Missouri can still enforce the death penalthy using lethal gas, its gas chamber hasn't been functional since 1965. Which means that should the legislation pass, a firing squad may be used as soon as January 29: "With the state's next execution scheduled for Jan. 29, "we've been having all of these troubles getting the drugs to administer the lethal injection," Brattin told the statewide radio network Missourinet on Friday. "I was just looking at a second option, something we could do if we had to utilize the death penalty and we could not administer the lethal injection," Brattin said. Besides being "quick and something we could do at a moment's notice," he said, an execution by firing squad would be more humane than McGuire's ordeal."

While Oklahoma law provides for firing squads if lethal injection is ever ruled unconstitutional, only Utah actually continues to use them, and then only for inmates convicted before 2004 as it seeks to phase them out.

The current shortage of the traditional lethal injection of Pentobarbital may mean this changes soon:

State Sen. Bruce Burns filed a similar bill (.pdf) Monday in Wyoming, saying the state would have to do something soon before it runs out of approved drugs for lethal injections.

The good news: bullets are cheap.

State Sen. Bruce Burns filed a similar bill (.pdf) Monday in Wyoming, saying the state would have to do something soon before it runs out of approved drugs for lethal injections.

The better news: an all too ethical and too easily distracted society will very soon have even more violent and absolutely meaningless Twitter fights over the ethics of said firing squads (while it is actively pretending to look for a job)... and the NSA will be just as busy recording all of it.

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Croesus's picture

So that's why DHS bought 1.6 billion rounds; it all makes sense now. 

Gankfest's picture

How about that recovery...

max2205's picture

1. Where do I sign up
2. The FSA isn't gonna be happy with this

Pure Evil's picture

Why would you need a five person firing squad.

Can't you set it up so that the instrument of death has an electronic firing mechanism?

chumbawamba's picture

Good.  This will be a far more satisfying end for the politicians when we charge and convict them under their own legislation.  I'm sure we'll find no shortage of volunteer gunmen either, pentabarbitrol shortage be damned (plenty of bullets!)

I am Chumbawamba.

mjcOH1's picture

"Why would you need a five person firing squad.

Can't you set it up so that the instrument of death has an electronic firing mechanism?"


There'll always be some risk of failure per bullet.

On the other hand, with the housing crash there are tens of thousands of pile drivers sitting idle across the country.   Strap the condemned's head to the pile, and 2000lb or so on a 1sq ft area descending at 25mph really cuts down on the probability of failure or 'pain and suffering'.

wintermute's picture

India used to execute people by doing the same with a elephant's foot.

This could be proftable if all the organs were sold to clinics for spare parts.

CrazyCooter's picture

With all the pork barrel spending floating around, you can bet your ass this is another front on the right to bear arms. Just wait and watch.



boogerbently's picture

The family of the victim should be allowed to KICK HIM TO DEATH.

knukles's picture

Bet they could get all they wanted cheap online from Canada

D U Fucking H

onewayticket2's picture

Shortage, my arse.

Look deeper. I bet you find this is a back door way of repealing the death penalty. The drug was purposely shorted. There is no free mkt w these folks. It is all political.

Scarlett's picture

Let's just go back to crucifiction 

boogerbently's picture

The family of the victim should be allowed to KICK HIM TO DEATH.

TruthInSunshine's picture

"If you're a freak prisoner convicted of killing your wife, and you don't like your penis or being a man, you don't have to keep your penis & balls; my appointed federal judges will force taxpayers to pay to have them removed, dear freak, murdering prisoner."


And it IS NOT from the Onion:

2 Obama Judges Say Constitution Entitles Wife-Killer to Sex Change Operation:

Martin Finucane, John R. Ellement and Milton J. Valencia - January 17, 2014

A federal appeals court in Boston today upheld a judge’s ruling that a transsexual inmate convicted of murder is entitled to a taxpayer-funded sex change operation as treatment for her severe gender identity disorder.

In a ruling that was a first of its kind, a three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit said courts must not shy away from enforcing the rights of all people, including prisoners. “And receiving medically necessary treatment is one of those rights, even if that treatment strikes some as odd or unorthodox,” the court said.

A Nanny Moose's picture

While gruesome in appearance, I would think this method is very reliable, yet humane (wtf ever that means).

DonFromWyoming's picture

A variant of head crushing is centuries old.  It's called the guillotine and was invented to make dispatch more humane.  IMO, the guillotine is far superior to lethal injection, which is barbaric if it isn't very quick. Compared with the 20+ minutes that both families (victim and perp) had to watch the circus overseen by doctors (what happened to the hippocratic oath?) hoping that their new cocktail would work, it would seem to me that either firing squad or guillotine would be far more humane to all involved.

That said, I don't trust the legal system of the USA any more, so I would be happy to see the death penalty go the way of government sanctioned slavery - a good read in history books to educate future generations of the barbarous history of our species.

Midas's picture

I've got a suggestion for everyone.  Bring over some euthanasia doctors from Europe.  Those dudes make it look easy.

IdiocracyIsAlreadyHere's picture

I agree.  I try to explain to all death penalty proponents I run into to consider who is administering it and ask themselves just what end is being served.  I respect acts of revenge when they come from the person(s) genuinely wronged, but thinking that the state is acting on behalf of the victim is dangerously misguided.  The state is only interested in FEAR and CONTROL and uses capital punishment to these ends, not any idea of "justice"

RideTheWalrus's picture

State Sen. Bruce Burns filed a similar bill (.pdf) Monday in Wyoming, saying the state would have to do something soon before it runs out of approved drugs for lethal injections.

Interesting how most death row inmates are held on the line for 10 - 20 years before being executed yet these politicians are suddenly worried about running out of drugs for lethal injections.  How long does it take to manufacture this stuff that suddenly death row inmates can't wait another 6 months?

Why can't they use a half-gallon of heroin considering all the poppy fields they have access too? Is that too humane? Not humane enough?

Sounds like some chosen politicians worming firing squads back into the law considering they have surplus of bullets and a tsunami of problems heading their way.

Just need Obamaphone to start wearing military uniforms and the socialist take over is complete.

HoofHearted's picture

Thet gave my dog an overdose of morphine. While recognizing he was about to get it, he fought a little. Then the drugs hit his veins, and it was all over. All very peaceful. The kids still don't know that Daddy was the doggy killer. But he needed to stop suffering, just like the families of victims of these assholes. Why not a little too much heroin or morphine or some severe waterboarding? Anyone think about how the victims went out? Maybe the killers should be granted the same method of death.

maxblockm's picture

I think we should offer them the choice between the same method of death and a humane method.  Perhaps having to make that choice will lead them to acknowledge the wrong they have done and possibly repent before death.

Tulpa's picture

Lethal injection is hideously expensive and begging for 8th amendment challenges cause it's often screwed up.  Plus it's incongruous to be executing murderers and rapists the same way you put a beloved family dog to sleep.  It's fitting that those guilty of violence toward others meet a violent end.

RideTheWalrus's picture

"It's fitting that those guilty of violence toward others meet a violent end."

The problem with that approach is many of these death row inmates have sit and stewed on what they did for 20 years, not knowing which day would be their last.
Imagine fucking up in the biggest way possible when your 20 and full of stupid growing up around gangs and knowing no different, then at the age of 40 after 20 years of sitting in a cell, reading a bible and reflecting on your crime your hauled up to face an extremely violent death penalty.

What your describing is eye for an eye on the assumption the person is a feverish animal - which many are but not always, some are misidentified, some just faced the wrong judge on the wrong day.

Saudi Arabia uses the eye for an eye punishment, the victim or the family of the victim can choose the punishment of the criminal, some choose the same treatment, some show pity and turn the other cheek.

If a system of quick death is applied then the chances of innocent people going to the death panels increases dramatically, then your only one step away from instant Judge Dread style on the spot executions - and that's a completely totalitarian system.

What's important from these statements above is evidence of an active attempt to reinstate quick, cheap and large volume death penalties and it doesn't seem to jive with killing rapists that are sitting in death row for 20 years but more in line with the growing awareness that revolution is around the corner and many people on red/blue lists will need to go. It happens in every Socialist empire, the poets, artists, commentators, people who can rally gatherings end up lining the pits.

Watch the video for Spanish Bombs by The Clash:

"Federico Lorca is dead and gone"

Federico del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús García Lorca was a Spanish poet, dramatist and theatre director. García Lorca achieved international recognition as an emblematic member of the Generation of '27. He was executed by Nationalist forces during the Spanish Civil War

e_goldstein's picture

Usually I agree with you Chumba, but on this one, I've got to wonder why waste bullets when there are so many thriving ant beds around.

FeralSerf's picture

If it's so easy to disregard the Eighth Amendment, perhaps the other ones, (like the Second) can be just as easily disregarded. Would you like that as well?

It's comments like yours that make one think that the so-called "conservatives" of America are just a bunch of idiot hypocrites.

TruthInSunshine's picture

Amerika literally trends closer to 1950s era China or The Soviet Union by the day.

Speaking of China, and expanding upon the default risk of China Credit Trust that is likely to occur on January 31st that ZH cited in an earlier article tonight, and from Forbes:

1/19/2014 @ 8:08PM |300,455 views

Mega Default In China Scheduled For January 31

"On Friday, Chinese state media reported that China Credit Trust Co. warned investors that they may not be repaid when one of its wealth management products matures on January 31, the first day of the Year of the Horse."

"The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China sold the China Credit Trust product to its customers in inland Shanxi province.  THiS BANK, THE WORLD'S BIGGEST BY ASSETS, on Thursday suggested it will not compensate investors, stating in a phone interview with Reuters that “a situation completely does not exist in which ICBC will assume the main responsibility.”

"There has never been a default—other than one of timing—of a WMP, so the Credit Equals Gold product could be the first.  If it is, it will edge out the WMP that invested in loans to Liansheng Resources Group, another Shanxi coal miner.  Jilin Trust packaged Liansheng’s loans into a wealth management product sold by China Construction Bank , the country’s second-largest lender by assets, to its customers.  Liansheng is in bankruptcy, and it looks like the WMP holders will not be repaid in full."

"A WMP default, whether relating to Liansheng or Zhenfu, could devastate the Chinese banking system and the larger economy as well.  In short, China’s growth since the end of 2008 has been dependent on ultra-loose credit first channeled through state banks, like ICBC and Construction Bank, and then through the WMPs, which permitted the state banks to avoid credit risk.  Any disruption in the flow of cash from investors to dodgy borrowers through WMPs would rock China with sky-high interest rates or a precipitous plunge in credit, probably both."

"Even if Beijing makes sure there is no default on January 31, we should not feel relief. Just as Zhenfu followed Liansheng, there will be another WMP borrower on the edge of disaster after Zhenfu.  And there are many Lianshengs and Zhenfus out there.  There may have been 11 trillion yuan in WMPs at the end of last year."

"And at the same time China’s money supply and credit are still expanding.  Last year, the closely watched M2 increased by only 13.6%, down from 2012’s 13.8% growth.  Optimists say China is getting its credit addiction under control, but that’s not correct.  In fact, credit expanded by at least 20% last year as money poured into new channels not measured by traditional statistics.  That appears to be in excess of credit expansion in 2012."

"Even if credit expansion slowed last year, Silvercrest Asset Management’s Patrick Chovanec tells us why we should be concerned.  As he wrote today, “Looking purely at the decline in the year-on-year rate of credit expansion is kind of like arguing that if I chase my shot of vodka with a pint of beer, I’m actually exercising moderation because the alcohol proof level of my drinks is falling.”

Overfed's picture

Haven't the Chinese heard of TARP? They must have their own BernYellen to make things OK.

Boxed Merlot's picture

Can't you set it up so that the instrument of death has an electronic firing mechanism?...



Good idea.  Death by Drone.  Amazon delivers goods from their warehouse, Papa John delivers pizza and the DOJ delivers live 30 caliber rounds.  These high tech solutions are so easy, even the government can do it. 


Actually a pneumatic cattle bolt pistol holds promise for this application, imo.

TruthInSunshine's picture

Papa John's pizza is fatally awful on it's own.

Inedible garbage.

Overfed's picture

In lighter news, the FEMA region X team has defeated the FEMA region IX team at football for the playoff championship. Now isn't that what really matters?

the not so mighty maximiza's picture

bullets are cheaper then the drugs

NoDebt's picture

Why did the phrase "roll the guillotines" suddently pop into my head?  Right instrument, we just need to apply it to the right necks, I guess.  And a lot of those necks are not on death row right now.

Bendromeda Strain's picture

Oh yeah - they will make a return before this is through, you can be assured. Something I was surprised to learn, I thought capital punishment in the Third Reich was by firing squad, yet Sophie Scholl was taken to a guillotine in an adjacent room to the court.

Pure Evil's picture

They just like the terror of it all. The thought of losing your head, the amount of time, your body position, the sound of the blade falling all add up to sheer terror until the neck gets sliced.

Acet's picture

Actually the terror carries on for a minute or more AFTER the head is separated from the body. You see, the brain doesn't die immediatelly - it slowly dies due to lack of oxygen.

During the French Revolution, there were several cases of heads which were being held after execution by guillotine trying to speak (you could see the lips move, but since they had no lungs, no sound came).


ceilidh_trail's picture

All these years later, Sophie Scholl's story is still not told often enough. A true martyr. God rest her soul.

FeralSerf's picture

Many were executed by hanging. Some were "elevated" to hanging with piano wire.

It has also been suggested that poison gas was used in some circumstances.

robertocarlos's picture

Send them to the movies.

RiverRoad's picture

What?  They don't get Obamacare?

nmewn's picture

Pick your poison.



Someone thinks a persons actions has no consequence? Is there any difference in me doing it to someone guilty of a capital crime (while in its commission) than someone else doing it after it is committed?


FeralSerf's picture

No, there's no difference if you're a murderer also.

What part of "Thou shalt not kill" do you not understand?

Uncle Sugar's picture

Give me 5 rounds and I'll do it. But I get to keep the extra 4.

Kirk2NCC1701's picture

You're likely to get a lot of eager help.
They're not nixing some of the vermin fast enough or soon enough.

deerhunter's picture

Torture and suing the state of Ohio. Why not kill murderers the same way they killed their victims? We tear unborn babies from the womb yet we care about how murderers of adults are put to death? Makes me go Hmmm!!! Oh and death penalty take them out sunrise the day after the verdict and broadcast the execution on TV!!! No deterrent effect? Bet me!!!

logicalman's picture

Way to go with inflammatory language!

We tear unborn babies from the womb

I guess for you two wrongs DO make a right.


Deo vindice's picture

Deerhunter is correct.

Society largely applauds one kind of gory violence as a 'right', while thinking nothing of the horror of a victim who was raped, abused and then murdered.

logicalman's picture

I'm not saying anyone should be soft on this stuff, it's just the problem of absolute certainty, which is nigh on impossible.

The absoulute injustice of killing one innocent, for me, outweighs everything else.

Like I said, Life, meaning just that, as it is alt least somewhat reversible, given exonerating evidence.

logicalman's picture

It's just state-sponsored murder anyway - a criminal act.

How many innocents have been executed?

One is too many.

Life. at least it's somewhat undoable if new evidence exonerates, which is hardly a rare occurrance.

The cost argument doesn't work, either.