Wyoming Lawmaker Proposes Using Firing Squad to Execute Death Row Inmates

1526605_10152161025527489_996934114_nThe debate concerning the death penalty in this country can get as heated as any other topic I’ve seen.  You have people who are strongly against lethal punishments while some are strongly in favor of them.

I’ll be honest, I really don’t know which way I go with it.  Some days I feel like I support the death penalty, some days I don’t.  I don’t really believe there is a right or wrong answer because both sides of the argument have valid points.  I tend to lean toward costs, and from what I’ve read (and as odd as it might sound) life in prison without the possibility of parole is much cheaper than the death penalty — considering all the appeals and what not death sentences often trigger.

Plus I have to consider those who have been executed who were in fact innocent, something that has happened a number of times.  If someone is wrongfully convicted of a heinous crime and receives live in prison without parole, if evidence comes up later proving their innocence they can always be released.  Yet if they were executed, there’s no going back from that.

Well, Wyoming lawmaker Bruce Burns has taken “factoring in costs” to a whole other level by suggesting that Wyoming utilize a firing squad to carry out executions.  His reasoning is that Wyoming executes so few criminals (their last was in 1992) that it doesn’t make sense to build a functioning gas chamber to carry out executions.

Currently the one inmate on death row in Wyoming is challenging the constitutionality of lethal injections.  Also the chemicals used to carry out lethal injections have become much harder for states to get.

Burns cites that Utah has allowed death row inmates the option to choose a firing squad to carry out their execution, so why not Wyoming?  What he failed to mention, however, is that Utah is phasing out that option.

The way I look at it is this — a firing squad is archaic.  While I kind of understand what he’s saying, I still can’t condone the mindset that determines the method of death for someone to be based on “what’s cheapest.”

If you want to debate the cost effectiveness of the death penalty vs. life in prison that’s one thing, but to determine how someone dies based on costs is just — well, it’s cruel.

Just because we might be dealing with monsters who’ve committed brutal acts of violence doesn’t mean we should act inhumanely.

Again, this is not my endorsement of the death penalty or a stance against it.  What I oppose here is the thought that states should resort to firing squads to carry out executions simply because they would be more cost-effective.

If a state wants to offer the death penalty as a possible punishment, then that state needs to maintain the proper tools in order to properly carry out that punishment.  If a state can’t do that, then that state needs to stop offering the death penalty as a possible punishment for capital murder.

Because “cost effectiveness” is no excuse to resort to draconian forms of punishment.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.

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  • Phil the observer

    Allen, I agree with your Articles about 99% of the time. You and I are what a late friend called “Liberal Rednecks”. However, on this we must disagree. Does the Death penalty deter crime? Yep, from that particular criminal. Should it be “Painless”? In my opinion, no, because, If someone sees that dying Hurts, maybe, just maybe, he/she won’t kill. I gotta say, if someone was to hurt/kill a member of MY family, The manner of how the penalty was carried out, would not be slow; And face it, if it was YOUR friends or family, you would do the same. Which is WHY they do not allow the literal “eye for an eye”.l

    • Brian

      Killing a killer makes one no better than the killer. Deterring crime from that particular criminal? Life imprisonment would do the same thing. Someone should see that dying hurts to make them not want to commit crime? That didn’t work back when people were executed by torture in the dark ages, it won’t work now. If it were my friends and family, would I wish death on the killer? I don’t confuse death with justice. My bloody vengeance won’t bring back the victims, nor will it satisfy me. Always remember that if you stare into the abyss, it will start staring back.

      • Absolutely. And given the racial disparity in the death penalty as it is being currently administered, and the fact that it’s harder and harder to get the required drugs since drug companies don’t want them used to execute people…I think the death penalty should be abolished.

        What makes people think life in prison is a walk in the park?

      • Phil the observer

        Prison is not a walk in the park….But after all the appeals are done, all the DNA is in, why should we allow these killers/rapists/sodomites etc. live…I am tired of paying for cable, 3 hots and a cot, for these scum…Kill em all let God sort it out…

      • Brian

        Because the appeals for the death penalty are considerably more expensive than life imprisonment? This is a well known fact that the death penalty costs a lot more than life in prison due to the appeals and such. If you want to eliminate the right for appeals, then innocent people will die. Literally hundreds of executed convicts have been proven innocent posthumously. You just gonna say “Whoops my bad” to their families once they’re proven innocent and six feet under?
        Kill them all and let god sort them out? Sounds to me like you think you’re god, passing judgement on others.

      • Phil the observer

        Brian, I said AFTER all the appeals had been done and AFTER all the DNA evidence had been verified. I want no innocent men to die. But those that should, and if you think about it. there are those that should,, Make it quick and cheap. And yeah, maybe I am playing a little God….But if ANYONE were to hurt or kill a someone I loved, I would be happy to play God all over their ass…

      • Brian

        After all appeals and DNA evidence are in, innocent people still die. It’s happened before. And really? Now you want to play god? That’s pretty twisted. So you admit that you want nothing but blood? Wishing death on others only puts you one step above a murderer. Carrying out the act makes you a murderer.
        Let me ask you this. What gives you the right to pass judgement? In a world where the book of Levitacus is nothing but the superstition of 4000 year old Middle Eastern goat herders, in a world where civilization has virtually phased out the death penalty, in a world where human beings have inalienable rights, what gives you the right to say who can live and who can die? There’s no right answer to this, Phil. No matter how you answer, you are either delusional or dangerously close to murder.

      • Phil the observer

        Brian, you are far too nhice..the world is full of bad people who want to do bad things to you for no reason…you can try to reason with them all you want…and when you are knocked down, people like myself will be there to kick the collective ass of those folks, pick you up, dust you off and let you go on living the way that you want….The world is not and never will be nice, mother nature is a bitch, and human nature is worse.

      • He’s not trying to reason with them. He’s saying put them in prison for life as opposed to murdering them. You ever read about SuperMax prisons? Charles Manson is in one, I believe. It’s basically a living death.

        Also, I don’t need people like you, with your thirst for revenge, kicking anyone’s ass, especially not for me. I’ll pass, thanks.

      • Brian

        Actually I am trying to reason with them. Reason with them behind four inches of plexiglass, as is done in Europe. Rehabilitation prevents future crime and potentially creates a new and productive member of society. That’s why there’s virtually no repeat offenders in the EU. Psychology nips crime in the bud.

      • Sorry for misreading you. Yes, Europe is so much more mature about these things. We’re still stuck in that ridiculous “eye for an eye” mentality.

      • Brian

        No problem, just want to make my idea perfectly clear. When I lived in Ireland and saw most of Europe, I rarely saw any crime. People whine and moan about immigrants tearing up Europe, but downtown L.A. has more crime than the entire EU.
        The difference is simply in how criminals are treated the first time they’re caught. In Europe they all get a chance to work while imprisoned, have passable living quarters, are treated like human beings, and get therapy from day one to help them see the error in their ways and set them on the right track.
        The US on the other hand uses fear, violence, and punishment to try and convince criminals they’re wrong. People just need to accept that harsh punishment simply breeds resentment. If you try to scare someone into not doing something, they will hate you, hate the system, and have even less regard for it.

      • Brian

        No, I’m a perfectly normal, enlightened human being. Americans are the only people from a first world country who think like you do, so stop making the assumption that people whom are not bloodthirsty are not normal.
        No, the world is not full of people who do bad things for no reason. There is always a reason, and eliminating those reasons through understanding and logic is the only way that it will ever make anything go away. Mother nature is cruel, but human nature is not. It’s been psychologically proven that we simply aren’t programmed to legitimately wish death on others. If you do, you are abnormal.
        As I said, you are delusional. You have obvious delusions of grandeur combined with bloodthirstiness. You’ve got a lot of growing up to do, mentally.

      • Phil the observer

        You gonna pay for the 3 hots and a cot??

      • Brian

        $10,000 a year for that, not counting the value of in-prison labour. The death penalty costs millions for each individual due to the cost of court appeals.
        Since you didn’t bother responding to a single point I made, I’m guessing that money is your only argument, and even that falls flat.

  • felipe63

    Personally, if it were me I would rather be executed by a firing squad over a lethal injection any day. but that’s just me.

    • Brian

      Well, I don’t think you would. The way it works in Utah is that four out of five people are given blanks rather than bullets, and one person is given a real bullet. It’s done anonymously so no one has to feel any guilt afterwards. There was a high rate of suicide for executioners. So you’d better hope that one guy with the bullet is a real good shot, because he has to aim for the heart from twenty feet away, which is smaller than your fist. If he misses, you’re in horrible pain.

  • Matthew Reece

    The state should not be in the business of executing prisoners. The
    victim’s family should get to decide whether to execute a murderer and
    get to carry out the execution.

    As for the method, it should fit the crime. For example, an arsonist who killed people with fire should be burned at the stake. Cruel and unusual punishments should not be prohibited because there are cruel and unusual crimes, and the punishment should fit the crime.

    • Pipercat

      Matthew, where have you been? Literally…

      • moe/larry & curly keys

        he got his electric turned back on,,,, hes not into paying bills as he is a libertarian

      • Pipercat

        Don’t underestimate him, he’s a really smart guy. Unlike some the other bloviators, he’s honest and actually believes what he says; and it’s free of malice.

      • moe/larry & curly keys

        agreed but he doesn’t seem to have his feet in reality. No where in mankinds history have Matt reeces observations of government been implemented

      • moe/larry & curly keys

        .

      • moe/larry & curly keys

        .

      • Pipercat

        Yeah, that’s where I discuss things with him.

      • Matthew Reece

        It is a logical fallacy to claim that the non-occurrence of an event thus far is evidence for its impossibility.

      • moe/larry & curly keys

        “if it can happen it ( eventually) will” ,,,,,,however-until it DOES happen it is simple writing/fantasy
        example: tea party reading truthful statistics or religious clowns realizing that GOD isn’t belonging to ONE dogma

      • Matthew Reece

        I managed to get into a VERY long discussion with poppaDavid, so I have mostly been on the article where that has been happening.

      • Pipercat

        Yeah, saw that. Ala Fischer vs. Spassky circa, 1972. I thought you may have grown tired of us mere mortals…

        Cheers

    • Brian

      Yes, that worked so well to deter crime in 900 A.D. didn’t it?

  • Amber

    Wow, if a firing squad is cheap wouldn’t hanging be cheaper? you could reuse the rope….. What logic to determine the death of person no matter the crime. I assume the executioners would be deemed good shots. Only one would aim for the kill shot or would they all so as to not know officially who killed the inmate? And where do we get the sickos who want to shoot at a bound person even one expecting to be shot? The questions go on and on. This opens a barrel of nastiness in the death penalty debate.

    • KRoad

      Generally, all shooters go for the kill shot and only one has a live round so they never know who actually killed them. Obviously these would be “trained professionals” but even great shots can miss and then what do you do? Wait for them to bleed out while suffering? Shoot again? Patch them up and try again later? In my mind, there is way too much room for error here (as opposed to a gas chamber or lethal injection) and therefore it shouldn’t be done. My humble opinion…

    • Phil the observer

      You must use a new rope for an execution

  • Pipercat

    Cigarette?

  • Chas

    I know this may seem barbaric but I suggest the guillotine. From a cost standpoint it would be inexpensive to build and maintain. From the standpoint of pain and suffering to the prisoner it would cause death instantly without the pain and suffering associated with the electric chair,mags chamber or lethal injection.

    I believe the only reason it isn’t used is because it’s messy and would be hard to explain to a politically correct society. If we are to have a death penalty, however, shouldn’t we use the least painful and most efficient method?

    Discuss amongst yourselves.

  • Bobby Haynes

    Really? and no one else thinks that maybe he should have a mental evaluation? I personally believe that whatever or whoever voted him in should have their voting rights stripped from them forever! This is 2013, not 1813! Idiot!

  • sherry06053

    I feel exactly the same as Clifton about the death penalty, but if there is one, and the prisoner has without a doubt committed the crime, and it is a horrendous crime, how about executing him the same way he executed his victim?

  • moe/larry & curly keys

    shouldn’t we start with those who sent 4400 PLUS brave americans to their DEATHS in Iraq? I mean; causing DEATHS and dismemberment to americans based upon a lie and profit??

  • Edward Krebbs

    If we are going to execute, we are responsible for doing so in as humane a method as possible. Now for the lawmaker’s logic, wouldn’t it be cheaper to hire a single person with a knife ? Or we could just leave the felon in a prison cell without access to food and water. Shame is that on the local TV news web page, every time someone is accused of a crime, there are always Wahoos who suggest such actions.

  • Itsall Tuna

    Capital punishment is not a deterrent nor does it “make us safer”. It is pure and simple revenge, and that makes us no better than the condemned person. Once incarcerated, the criminal is no longer a threat to society. This sentiment is a paraphrase of a statement by HHDL.

    • Matthew Reece

      There is no moral prohibition on killing a murderer. A person who has engaged in murder has estopped himself from complaining about being killed, as his actions demonstrate a rejection of the right to life as a principle.

      • moe/larry & curly keys

        what if I brutally murder a man who is assaulting me/ my mom/ my girlfriend/ a child???

      • Matthew Reece

        If you kill him in defense of your life or someone who wants/needs your help in defending their life, then no foul.

      • moe/larry & curly keys

        if no one is around to witness/prove that lets see all men–including Africans– beat the rap