(NaturalNews) On Dec. 7, 1982, Texas became the first state to authorize lethal injection to kill convicted murderers. In recent years, some states that recognize the death penalty have come under fire.
Lethal injections by drugs come with their own set of problems. Recent controversies in Ohio and Oklahoma show that new multiple-drug methods cause inhumane deaths. There have been reports of delays in finding suitable veins. Needles can become clogged or disengaged, keeping the subject snorting and gasping on their deathbed for over an hour after their scheduled death. New drugs have been shown to cause convulsions in death row inmates, leading authorities to back off the dose. The subjects ultimately go unconscious and die of heart attack later on, which is out of protocol.
As lethal injection complications mount, one judge advocates for state firing squads
Recent complications and lack of transparency with lethal injection in Arizona have elicited several conflicting opinions from various judicial panels. One judge has even come out in support of using state firing squads as the answer to botched lethal injection protocols.
According to Courthouse News, Chief Judge Alex Kozinski of Arizona's 9th Circuit Court said that the state should "own up that using drugs is a mistake and come up with something that will work."
He explained further, "Eight or ten large-caliber rifle bullets fired at close range can inflict massive damage, causing instant death every time. There are plenty of people employed by the state who can pull the trigger and have the training to aim true. The weapons and ammunition are bought by the state in massive quantities for law enforcement purposes, so it would be impossible to interdict the supply. And nobody can argue that the weapons are put to a purpose for which they were not intended: firearms have no purpose other than destroying their targets."
He continued, "Sure, firing squads can be messy, but if we are willing to carry out executions, we should not shield ourselves from the reality that we are shedding human blood. If we, as a society, cannot stomach the splatter from an execution carried out by firing squad, then we shouldn't be carrying out executions at all."
This sentiment might prove that the death penalty is not a just solution. Can murder be vindicated with more violent murder? How might violent death penalties, by drugs or firing squads, actually encourage a cycle of violence in society?
Without the death penalty, would murderers be empowered in their inhumane lawlessness or would society begin to understand that real justice is found in mercy and forgiveness?
Lethal injection halted in Arizona as death row inmate raises serious questions about drug manufacturer's secrecy
The manufacturer of the lethal drug thiopental stopped production of the death row drug in 2011, because it no longer supported the death penalty. Newer drugs like midazolam and hydromorphone have come in to fill the void, allowing states to continue executions with multiple drugs.
But the way that these executions are playing out, including the secrecy of the drug and the identity of manufacturers, have brought up several new court challenges, as judges decide on the constitutionality of new lethal injections and lack of transparency.
Death row inmate Joseph Wood, who was convicted for the murders of Debra and Eugene Dietz in 1989 in Tucson, Arizona, was scheduled for lethal injection in Arizona, but an injunction was passed by the 9th Circuit Court. The injunction stated that the execution would not commence until the source of the drugs was revealed along with qualifications of the executioners.
The manufacturer of the two drugs, midazolam and hydromorphone, wishes to be kept secret under an Arizona confidentiality law. When the state refused to provide all important information of the details of the lethal injection, death row inmate Wood promptly raised "serious questions" about the nature of the drugs being used.
A majority ruling by Judge Sidney Thomas at the 9th Circuit Court backed the the inmate's serious concerns, citing that the two-drug protocol caused "flawed executions" in Oklahoma and Ohio earlier in the year.
Supreme Court vacates the injunction, allowing controversial lethal injection to go through
The 9th Circuit decided against having an 11-judge, en banc panel further discuss the case, allowing the state of Arizona to take the case to the Supreme Court. The high court ultimately vacated the 9th Circuit's injunction and ordered Joseph Wood to be executed by lethal injection in July 2014.
According to reports, the drugs that went through Joseph Wood's system ultimately caused him to gasp and struggle for breath. His death was agonized for over two hours as he gasped over 600 times, bringing up serious debate about lethal injections.
What are your thoughts on lethal injections and/or firing squads to execute murderers?