The Cruelty Is The Point Of Trump’s Approval Of Hanging And Firing Squads As Execution Methods

By Austin Sarat

The Trump administration on Friday dramatically expanded the federal government’s ability to carry out the death penalty and use archaic methods of execution that would prove to be a national embarrassment if used in Trump’s waning days as president.

At a time when every oth­er con­sti­tu­tion­al democ­ra­cy and many reli­gious faiths have con­demned cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment because of its cru­el assault on human dig­ni­ty, Trump and his cronies have again thumbed their noses at the world and at com­mon decency.
The new rule is word­ed with decep­tive sim­plic­i­ty: “Federal exe­cu­tions are to be car­ried out by lethal injec­tion or by any oth­er man­ner pre­scribed by the law of the State in which the sen­tence was imposed.” Behind this bureau­crat­ic prose hides a stark fact: In our sup­pos­ed­ly civ­i­lized nation, the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment now will be able to hang, elec­tro­cute, gas, or shoot indi­vid­u­als if it does not want to kill them by lethal injection

While lethal injec­tion is by no means an exe­cu­tion panacea, Trump and his min­ions have embraced out­dat­ed ways of car­ry­ing out death sen­tences. They have revived them almost entire­ly for their sym­bol­ic val­ue rather than their need to use them in the unlike­ly event some­thing goes awry with the lethal injec­tion pro­to­col. But, prac­ti­cal­ly speak­ing, noth­ing now stands in the way of the fed­er­al government’s plan to put peo­ple to death by a sin­gle dose of pentobarbital.
The Trump admin­is­tra­tion is cru­el­ly tak­ing advan­tage of the fact that this country’s 22 remain­ing death penal­ty states, because they have had real dif­fi­cul­ties obtain­ing lethal injec­tion drugs, have kept old­er meth­ods on the books as a last resort.
Today, nine Southern and bor­der states pre­scribe death by elec­tro­cu­tion as an alter­na­tive method of exe­cu­tion. Six states autho­rize exe­cu­tion by gas, and the fir­ing squad is the alter­na­tive in three more. Remarkably, three states — Delaware, New Hampshire, and Washington — still allow for death by hang­ing if lethal injec­tion is unavail­able or impractical.

Read more here:https://​slate​.com/​n​e​w​s​-​a​n​d​-​p​o​l​i​t​i​c​s​/​2​0​2​0​/​1​1​/​t​r​u​m​p​-​a​p​p​r​o​v​e​s​-​h​a​n​g​i​n​g​-​f​i​r​i​n​g​-​s​q​u​a​d​s​-​e​x​e​c​u​t​i​o​n​s​.​h​tml