South Carolina Very Close to Bringing Back Execution by Firing Squad Despite That the Death Penalty Shouldn’t Even Exist
South Carolina is soon to become the fourth state in the United States to bring back execution by firing squad.
Mic is reporting that after a 66-43 vote, South Carolina state lawmakers voted in favor of a bill that would allow condemned inmates to pick between being shot to death or electrocuted. This would be the “Sophie’s Choice” given to them if a shortage of drugs used for lethal injections ever happens.
Republican Gov. Henry McMaster said he would sign the bill into law back in March after it passed initially in the Senate.
The bill was largely a Republican-backed measure and drew strong remarks from state Democrats. State House Democratic Leader Todd Rutherford said the bill enabled “barbaric forms of punishment that are more medieval than they are modern.” Breaking away from his party, Republican Rep. Jonathon Hill also opposed the measure, arguing, “Doesn’t the death penalty make injustice permanent?”
“If you’re cool with the electric chair, you might as well be cool with burning at the stake,” Hill added.
I’m sure there are plenty of people who would absolutely be fine with that.
“Americans tend to want the death penalty to be as sanitary as possible,” Andrew Novak, death penalty expert, explained to FiveThirtyEight. “It’s an act of state violence, but we don’t want it to be violent.”
Kimberly Amadeo, an economist and president of World Money Watch, explained that the “seriousness and complexity of seeking the death penalty increase its cost” and “it costs a state $56,000 a year per inmate just to pay for staffing, seven times more than the cost to staff a trustee camp for minimum-security inmates.”
That doesn’t even get into the more important moral issues with the death penalty that include the many people who were on death row and acquitted due to new DNA evidence, those imprisoned and executed due to outdated junk science evidence, and the factors of race, class, and mental illness at play.
Just last year, Nathaniel Woods was executed by lethal injection in Alabama, despite there being issues at play whether he was directly responsible for the death of three Birmingham, Alabama, police officers in 2004, despite not being the gunman. Our justice system is imperfect and biased, which makes it hard to justify the state-sponsored death penalty because they can and have gotten it wrong.
The other three states that allow execution by firing squad as a secondary method are Utah, Oklahoma, and Mississippi.
(via Mic, image: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
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