The Latest News from South Carolina Features Firing Squads

I guess it’s way past time to retire the cliché “hot off the presses,” and, as a matter of fact, the term BREAKING has supplanted HOTP as an indicator of new news “coming down the pike,” i.e., speeding down the turnpike headed your way in a 1961 Studebaker.

Anyway, hot off the proverbial presses, BREAKING, coming down the pike, this from the Associated Press:

The South Carolina House has voted to add the firing squad to the state’s execution methods amid a lack of lethal-injection drugs. The bill now goes to [prolife]Republican Gov. Henry McMaster, who has said he’ll sign it.

Dunno, wouldn’t hanging be a better alternative? Less messy? After all, gas chambers, electric chairs, hangings, and lethal injections seem more appropriately impersonal than shooting someone. Less messy, no hosing off blood splattered walls. Plus, only one or two people drop the pellets, pull the switch, knot the noose/trigger the trap door, or wield the syringe. A fire squad expands the number killers. Why spread potential guilt around?

Speaking only for myself, I’d hate to shoot a sentient being– and don’t beat me up for being sexist here – especially a woman, whether she be Elizabeth Bathory[1], Ma Barker, or Lizzy Bordon.

Questions arise. Where will the event take place? In the prison yard, at a firing range, or William Brice Stadium? How will the participants be chosen? From SLED, the Columbia Police Department, a local chapter of the NRA?  Hopefully, the squad will wear uniforms; otherwise, it would seem very much like a lynching. The whole concept seems barbaric to me. I think of poor Fyodor Dostoevsky[2], the Easter rebellion participants[3],  Eddie Slovik, etc. 

Here’s a suggestion, state legislators: why not go 20th Century and opt for carbon monoxide poisoning? 

Less fuss, less muss. 

Or here’s an even better idea: pull the switch on capital punishment.


[1] Guinness World Records has her pegged as history’s most prolific serial killer/torturer/mutilator (~ 650 women between 1585 and 1610). Rumor also has it she “bathed in the blood of her victims to retain her youth.”

[2] The victim of the cruelest of practical jokes.

[3] I write it out in a verse—

MacDonagh and MacBride   

And Connolly and Pearse

Now and in time to be,

Wherever green is worn,

Are changed, changed utterly:   

A terrible beauty is born.

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