USA: Lethal drug scarcity means executions by firing squad to make a come back?

usa: lethal drug scarcity means executions by firing squad to make a come back?

Chicago: A blindfolded prisoner being executed by a spree of bullets fired by a squad of gunmen in unison might not be ideal for a modern society. Most are likely to judge execution by firing squad as a method unsuitable for the enlightened era.

But the idea of using firing squads is making a comeback in the United States, news agency the Associated Press reported. Idaho lawmakers passed a bill this week seeking to add the state to the list of those authorizing firing squads, which currently includes Mississippi, Utah, Oklahoma and South Carolina.

Lethal injections, the common method of execution in the US, might come to a standstill after pharmaceutical companies barred the use of their drugs for the same. The look for alternatives has led the country to firing squads over the gallows.

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There are takers for execution by firing squads even among Supreme Court justices of the country, the news agency reported on Friday. They are reportedly unmoved by the violence involved in riddling bodies with bullets.

What happened to the lethal drugs?

According to reports, drug manufacturers are against the usage of their products to take lives. Their products, meant to save lives, can’t be used to take them, the companies maintain. Over the decades, this adamance by the manufacturers has made it tough to obtain the doses of sodium thiopental, pancuronium bromide and potassium chloride.

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Thus began the hunt for alternatives.

When was the last execution by firing squad done in US?

Ronnie Lee Gardner was the last man to be executed by the US by a firing squad. He was convicted of killing an attorney during a courthouse escape attempt and was executed at Utah State Prison on June 18, 2010.

Five prison staffers drawn from a pool of volunteers fired from 25 feet (about 8 meters) away with .30-caliber rifles.

The blank cartridge system

A blank cartridge was loaded into one rifle without anyone knowing which. That’s partly done to enable those bothered later by their participation to believe they may not have fired a fatal bullet.

Is it painful?

In a 2019 federal case, prosecutors submitted statements from anesthesiologist Joseph Antognini, who said painless deaths by firing squads are not guaranteed.

Inmates could remain conscious for up to 10 seconds after being shot depending on where bullets strike, Antognini said, and those seconds could be “severely painful, especially related to shattering of bone and damage to the spinal cord.”

Others note that killings by firing squad are visibly violent and bloody compared with lethal injections, potentially traumatizing victims’ relatives and other witnesses as well as executioners and staffers who clean up afterwards.

(With AP inputs)