Utah Lawmaker Attempting to Reinstate "Humane" Firing Squad Executions

Following last month's botched lethal injection in Oklahoma, a lawmaker in Utah says he wants to bring back death by firing squad — "the most humane way to kill somebody," he believes — as an option for those sentenced to death in his state.

Republican Rep. Paul Ray, pictured here between a fishbowl full of candy and a fishbowl full of cigarettes, will introduce his proposal during Utah's next legislative session in January. Earlier this year, lawmakers in Wyoming and Missouri proposed similar ideas (Missouri Rep. Rick Brattin explaining in part, "A firing squad would be quick and something we could do at a moment's notice"), but neither succeeded. Ray may be more successful, though, as Utah has a tradition of executing criminals by firing squad, the last being held in 2010. (Utah eliminated execution by firing squad in 2004, but those sentenced to death before that date still had the option of choosing it.)

"It sounds like the Wild West, but it's probably the most humane way to kill somebody," Ray explained to the AP. He continued, "The prisoner dies instantly. ... It sounds draconian. It sounds really bad, but the minute the bullet hits your heart, you're dead. There's no suffering."

Opponents of the proposal, including Richard Dieter, executive director of the Washington, D.C.,-based Death Penalty Information Center, which opposes capital punishment, point out that a number of things can go wrong when executing by firing squad — the inmate can move, the shooters can miss. "The idea is that it would be very quick and accurate but just a little movement by the person could change that," Dieter said. "Things can go wrong with any method of execution."

Ah. If only there were a better, even more humane way.

[Image via AP]