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Letter: We should reconsider using firing squads

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Posted: Wednesday, August 20, 2014 12:00 am

Judge Alex Kozinski started an interesting discussion — returning of the firing squad executions. If we have the death penalty, it should not take 25 years to confirm that a person is guilty, while they are getting special treatment in prison at our expense. There have been complaints about the gas chamber and now about lethal injection being inhumane.

Utah was the last state to use the firing squad. They stopped because of all the bad publicity that came to the state. There was a media circus, a Wild West side show. The news reporters’ focus went from the criminal, his crime and victim to the execution method. The 1996 execution of John Taylor drew nearly 150 television crews, including reporters from other countries.

Were there anywhere near that number for San Quentin executions? Go to Google for Utah firing squads. The International Justice Project is a wealth of information regarding how the squads operated and background information. A group of five would shoot, two with blanks, so no one knew which were which.

Sounds like a good idea to me, if we continue the death penalty.

Warren Potts


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Welcome to the discussion.


  • Brian Dockter posted at 10:57 am on Sun, Aug 31, 2014.

    Brian Dockter Posts: 2866


    I can just imagine where we would be if the military hadn't gone to war when there was no other solution.

  • Eric Barrow posted at 1:50 pm on Fri, Aug 29, 2014.

    Eric Barrow Posts: 1604

    I'm a little concerned about anybody that is not opposed to war, I imagine even the Military would rather not have to go to war.

  • Brian Dockter posted at 9:06 pm on Thu, Aug 28, 2014.

    Brian Dockter Posts: 2866

    I doubt it's even close to one percent, Mr. Schmidt. I would muster to say there's a larger percentage of people killed in plane crashes. Don't see air travel going away any time soon.

  • Brian Dockter posted at 8:59 pm on Thu, Aug 28, 2014.

    Brian Dockter Posts: 2866


    Being opposed to the death penalty is not much different than saying you are opposed to war.There will always be deaths that weren't meant to happen. Of course one innocent person being executed is one too many.Or one person being part of the collateral damage in a war is one too many. Overall, the death penalty sends a clear and effective message to those who want to commit crimes. Jerome, you are the last person I figured would be opposed.

  • Jerome Kinderman posted at 6:03 am on Fri, Aug 22, 2014.

    Jerome R Kinderman Posts: 2370

    First, where did I suggest that "hanging" was going to be the focus of this debate? The author of the letter was speaking to the issue of firing squads, not the building of gallows. My own comments referred only to my reasoning against the death penalty at this time.

    However, if you choose to move the conversation in that direction could it be that in keeping with the accurate frame of reference regarding the times during which the Constitution was penned and the act of hanging someone as a penalty for a capital offense, the Framers probably didn't consider it to be cruel and/or unusual.

    Fast forward to the 21st Century where it appears practically everything is topsy-turvy insofar as rights are concerned, I doubt that hanging would be considered permissible if it were to be challenged. Indeed, what appears to be the most peaceful means of putting someone to death - via lethal injection - has come under attack as being cruel and/or unusual. I submit that there shouldn't be a problem with some pain associated with dying in exchange for what these people have done to earn their places on death row. I think all the Framers would look at us with mouths agape in disbelief at the way we've perverted their intentions - not only insofar as capital punishment is concerned, but others as well.

    But naturally I wouldn't want to be accused of getting off topic - so I shan't.

  • Ed Walters posted at 8:50 pm on Thu, Aug 21, 2014.

    the old dog Posts: 638

    Schmidt: No need to worry about being executed in this state, as of this morning the death sentence is no longer in operation. A 6`X 8` will amount to the same thing. If your familiar with Terry Winchell and Polly Klass, these two murder`ers got away with murder. [sad]

  • Mike Adams posted at 6:48 pm on Thu, Aug 21, 2014.

    Mike Adams Posts: 1565

    If you've shot enough guns, enough times, you know when you've shot a blank and not a bullet.

  • M. Doyle posted at 5:51 am on Thu, Aug 21, 2014.

    M Doyle Posts: 188

    Jerome, I too appreciate your common sense analysis of the facts and humanitarian opposition to the death penalty.

  • Steve Schmidt posted at 7:17 pm on Wed, Aug 20, 2014.

    Steve Schmidt Posts: 2677

    Mr Kinderman wrote: "As long as there's the possibility of innocents being killed at the hand of We the People, I will continue to oppose the sentence."

    I agree entirely.

  • Steve Schmidt posted at 7:16 pm on Wed, Aug 20, 2014.

    Steve Schmidt Posts: 2677

    Mr Kinderman, the Founders hung people all the time. Clearly, when they introduced the term "cruel and unusual" into the Constitution, they were not referring to hanging. If that is going to be the focus of the debate for a discussion of the death penalty, it would be best keep a accurate frame of reference.

  • Steve Schmidt posted at 7:15 pm on Wed, Aug 20, 2014.

    Steve Schmidt Posts: 2677

    Mr Potts, the current system takes 25 years and they still execute innocent men.

  • Thomas Heuer posted at 11:24 am on Wed, Aug 20, 2014.

    nth degree wise Posts: 1671

    Mark this date and let it live in infamy, I Thomas Heuer find myself in complete agreement with MR Kinderman, well on this post anyway. Who would have thought?

  • Jerome Kinderman posted at 3:51 am on Wed, Aug 20, 2014.

    Jerome R Kinderman Posts: 2370

    I somehow fail to see the connection between the length of time a condemned prisoner sits on death row and the return of firing squads. I would think if lethal injection is somehow cruel and inhumane punishment even though I would think it to be the less painful, those who oppose the death punishment would have a field day with five people shooting at one person with only two live rounds hurtling toward the prisoner's heart or head. In my opinion, the method of killing some of these animals is of little consequence - if they are truly guilty of the crime, I don't care how it's done. But therein lies the problem with me.

    Dallas County Texas. Those three words always come to mind when thinking about the death penalty and why I oppose it. In that one small area of the country more death penalty cases have been overturned through the use of DNA testing than any other. Yet the District Attorney was quoted saying he believed that no innocent person was ever put to death there. Yeah, right.

    As long as there's the possibility of innocents being killed at the hand of We the People, I will continue to oppose the sentence. Common sense dictates that it's the only punishment that can't be undone. Of course languishing in prison for even one day as an innocent person must be so much worse than any truly guilty person living their entire life on death row only to die naturally. With the advent of DNA testing and what I am sure will come to even perfect it even further, until it's proven beyond ANY doubt - not just a "reasonable doubt" - that someone is 200% guilty of a capital offense, there should be no death penalty.

    Naturally, this is just my opinion. But I think I'll stick with it for awhile.


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