April 17th, 2021


What a Way to Go

Greg Crosby

By Greg Crosby

Published May 29, 2015

Remember when we executed murderers in a timely fashion? Remember when justice was swift? Well, neither do I. The fact is, in my lifetime justice hasn't been all that swift in this country for convicted killers waiting on death row, not to mention the families of the murder victims. Receiving the death penalty can very often mean twenty or thirty years of delays, reviews, retrials, and red tape. For decades the debate was whether to execute or not, now it's all about HOW to execute.

The United States' Supreme Court has recently heard oral arguments in a death penalty case called Glossip vs. Gross, concerning the use of lethal injections when putting prisoners to death.

Whichever way the Court rules, its decision will impact the way capital punishment is carried out from now on. The concern seems to be how to best avoid "cruel and unusual punishments," which some argue lethal injections are.

Why do we believe it's "the humane thing to do" to put our beloved pets "to sleep" with lethal injections when they are old and sick, yet we can't seem to come to terms with doing the same thing to sociopathic killers? Something's wrong here.

In the Glossip vs. Gross case three inmates in Oklahoma have argued that the current combination of drugs that are used in lethal injections in Oklahoma poses a risk of severe pain and suffering. My solution? Shoot 'em in the head. How's that? In March Utah resumed the use of firing squads for executions. That works for me.

Some people are more concerned over excessive pain and suffering of convicted murderers than they are for the innocent families of the ones who were murdered by them. Why aren't people outraged at the fact that Charles Manson is still alive? How come that doesn't bother anyone?

Why shouldn't a convicted murderer like Nidal Malik Hassan, the bastard who shot and killed 13 people and injured 30 others at Fort Hood, have a little bit of "pain and suffering" of his own?

Actually a lethal injection is much too good for him. Since he is a practitioner in 5th and 6th century religious retribution, I say let's bring back some old time justice for him, like keelhauling or evisceration.

If Utah can bring back the firing squads, maybe the time is right for revisiting other good old-fashioned ways of dealing with murderers, child molesters and rapists.

Everything old is new again, right? Here are a few ancient methods of execution that seemed to work pretty well, once upon a time:

1. Guillotine. Clean, quick, and to the point. Twenty thousand Frenchmen can't be wrong.

2. Cement Shoes. They put them on you then threw you into the water. Invented by the Mafia, it undoubtedly came out of the "family" construction business.

3. Scaphism. Too brutal to describe. If you really care, look it up on your own, but be prepared for nightmares.

3. Walking the Plank. Yo Ho, Yo Ho, a pirate's life for me. Jump in, the water's fine.

4. Keelhaul. Speaking of punishment at sea, this one had the sailor tied to a rope that looped beneath the ship and dragged under the boat's keel from one side of the ship to the other or the length of the ship. The hull was usually covered in barnacles and other marine growth, if the offender was pulled quickly, keelhauling would typically result in serious cuts, loss of limbs and even decapitation. If the victim was dragged slowly, his weight might lower him sufficiently to miss the barnacles, but this method would frequently result in his drowning.

5. Flaying. You don't want to know about this one.

6. Blood Eagle. You don't want to know about this one either.

7. Drawn and Quartered. No, it's not an illustrated magazine that came out quarterly, but a pretty grotesque way to go.

8. Gridiron. Has nothing to do with football and everything to do with hot coals.

9. Spanish Tickler. Sounds like a kinky sex toy, but there's nothing funny about this one, believe me.

10. Seppuku. The Samurai final exit.

How about giving this list to the murderer and let him pick one? Or maybe he would prefer to choose disemboweling, being tar and feathered, dragooned, gutted, scalped, or hung upside down and slit. All of a sudden lethal injection doesn't sound so bad, does it?

For centuries our ancestors figured out how to mete out justice swiftly. Granted, it wasn't always humane but it did the trick. Personally I don't care how we "put them down" as long as it doesn't take forever to do it.

The sooner we off these bums, the less pain and suffering they will be able to inflict on innocents.

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JWR contributor Greg Crosby, former creative head for Walt Disney publications, has written thousands of comics, hundreds of children's books, dozens of essays, and a letter to his congressman. He's also a Southern California-based freelance writer.