Killing Them Softly

By Bill Maher

Hey, remember the Bill of Rights? Sock hops? Hot rods? Flat tops? A warm hand job and a frosty malted at Pop’s? Those were the days. Remember when we used to debate whether the death penalty was “cruel and unusual punishment” – back before drones and torture? Well, there’s still one problem with the death penalty: We do it in public – unlike torture, natch – and it gives people the creeps when it goes wrong or takes a long time, like recently, when a guy who’d raped and stabbed a pregnant newlywed was executed in Ohio, and he took longer to die than Ariel Sharon.

America tends to execute people by lethal injection. We’ve killed about 1,300 people since 1970; 1,200 of those by needle. But drug companies don’t like making lethal drugs. It looks bad for the brand. So Missouri state Representative Rick Brattin has a solution: He introduced a bill to add "firing squad" as an option in his state. Right now, Utah is the only state that uses firing squads, but they’ve only shot three people since 1977, which is more than I can say for Aaron Hernandez.

Why is shooting creepier than injection? It’s not like we’re one of those countries that doesn’t like bang-bang. Is it because we have an affection boarding on worship for the idea of solving problems with drugs?