For centuries, we Americans have sought easier ways to kill our convicts. Lethal injection had been the gold standard for sending toughs to oblivion. But amid a sudden spate of botched shots and poison shortages, what are we to do? Let's go back to guns, gas and zap juice!

Lethal injection's luster has faded rapidly of late. The usual cocktail of deadly drugs that 32 states rely upon has dried up in recent years, as panty-waisted Eurosocialist pharmaceutical suppliers have grown reluctant to contribute to Free Enterprise and our robust death-industrial complex. American ingenuity being what it is, some states have filled this poison gap with animal euthanasia solutions, or new brews of risky compound drugs.

The new alchemy, it turns out, doesn't work so great. Ohio's strange brew took an estimated 26 minutes last week to kill a man in ghastly, gasping fashion, "like a fish lying along the shore," as his priest put it. The condemned man's family plans to sue the state. That came about a week after an Oklahoma inmate offered these last words on his injection gurney: "I feel my whole body burning." Other states' injections may go on hold while their courts review whether the process is cruel and unusual.

This crisis is an opportunity for soul-searching across America. And throughout this great land of freedom and justice, lawmakers have come to a startling realization: If they wanna kill evildoers—and they do!—they're gonna have to go back to their shooting, zapping, gassing roots:

  • A GOP Wyoming legislator has filed a bill to bring back firing squads in that state. Because, you know, balanced budgets: "One of the reasons I chose firing squad, as opposed to any other form of execution, is because frankly, it's one of the cheapest for the state," he says.
  • A Missouri Republican wants shooters in his state, too—not to save money, but because he says it's the moral way to destroy a sentient being: "The blunt trauma caused by that many shots — it's an instantaneous death... It's not electrocution where you're cooked inside out, or heads being decapitated by hanging."
  • Virginia, on the other hand, loves that home cooking: its House passed a bill yesterday to immolate inmates with electric chair if the state runs out of injection juice.
  • Like Virginia, several other states are discussing fallbacks to secondary forms of heartbeat-halting, like Old Sparky and the gas chamber.

To bleeding-heart types, all this talk of vintage extermination methods might arouse fear that our civil culture is sliding backwards. But no, we're marching confidently forward, into a better America where we can boast openly of slow, "cruel and agonizing ways to put people to death," because "there's no pretty way to die... you know, it ain't no tea party, Brooke."

You're welcome, humanity. Happy Throwback Thursday!

[Photo credit: AP]