Wanted: Willing executioners for two convicted murderers. Must be psychologically sound and familiar with .30-calibre rifles. No victims' relatives need apply.
That is the call that has gone out for firing-squad volunteers in the state of Utah, USA (Land Of The Free). Authorities are looking for riflemen to execute two convicted prisoners next month. But by law, only Utah law-enforcement officers are eligible for the squads and they cannot be named.
Roberto Arguelles and Troy Michael Kell, have chosen to be executed by firing squad over lethal injection and are set to die at 12:01 AM on June 27 and 28, 2003, respectively. Death by firing squad is an old, bloody and gruesome means of execution.
Whatever the two murders were convicted of is irrelevant - every state-sanctioned killing is wrong, but this method is particularly brutal, cruel, degrading, inhuman and uncivilised. Each time a human being is put to death in the USA, every American should feel wholly ashamed.
For execution by firing squad, the condemned is typically bound to a chair with leather straps across his waist and head, in front of an oval-shaped canvas wall. The chair is surrounded by sandbags to absorb the prisoner's blood and any bullets that go straight through the prisoner's body.
A black hood is pulled over the prisoner's head. A doctor locates the prisoner's heart with a stethoscope and pins a circular white cloth target over it. Standing in an enclosure 20-30 feet away, five shooters are armed with .30 caliber rifles loaded with single rounds one of the shooters is given blank rounds so that no one knows who fired the fatal shots.
Each of the shooters aims his rifle through a slot in the canvas and fires at the prisoner. The shooters' identities will not be released and participants will be barred from talking publicly about the experience. The firing squads will be made up of police volunteers, who will remain anonymous.
Public-relations director for the Utah Department of Corrections, Jack Ford, defended the use of firing squads as more 'humane' than hanging or the electric chair. "Everybody gets real uptight about firing squads, but they're quicker, cleaner, faster," said Ford.
One bullet produces a cavity which has a volume many times that of the bullet. The prisoner dies as a result of blood loss caused by rupture of the heart, rupture of the large blood vessels surrounding the heart or tearing of the lungs. The prisoner loses consciousness when shock causes a fall in the supply of blood to the brain. If the shooters miss the heart, by either accident or intention, the prisoner bleeds to death, slowly.
How 'humane' is that?
Ford said he is receiving phone calls and e-mails from ex-policemen and former military sharpshooters eager to take part. But he said most of those chosen will probably be members of police special weapons and tactics units who have demonstrated firearms expertise and undergone psychological screening. "We don't want somebody that wants to take a life, is there for revenge ... somebody whose family is connected with the case or is a relative of a victim of the condemned man," said Ford.
Now people, let's put on our thinking caps --- What do we call somebody that deliberately shoots at the beating heart of a human being, for the sole purpose of taking a life ???
ACADP posted May 23, 2003
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