For reasons unfathomable to mortal man, the United States is unable to secure a supply of drugs to use to lethally inject into its own citizens. Therefore, one of our states may now bring back the electric chair as a mandatory punishment. The year is 2014.
There are many reasons why states have been having a hard time getting their sodium thiopental for lethal injections. Before you spend time researching those reasons, understand that this problem could be made irrelevant with any one of these three steps, listed in descending order of rationality:
1. Ending the death penalty.
2. Using a different drug.
3. Not killing anyone until they can get a new supply of their drug.
Why don't we do either of those things? Probably due to a combination of the nature of slow-moving entrenched institutions and the political influence in certain more backward US states of fucking assholes who support the death penalty. In any case, now the state of Virginia is considering a bill to let the state electrocute prisoners when they can't find any drugs to shoot into them. From the Washington Post:
State law allows death-row inmates to choose between two methods of execution — lethal injection and electrocution. As in every other state where the death penalty is practiced, Virginia designates lethal injection as the default method when the prisoner declines to choose.
The new law would allow corrections officials to carry out the execution when a prisoner's choice is not available and when the prisoner declines to choose.
There's always drawing and quartering, too. The classics.