Crucifixion was one of the most painful ways to die. One amazing aspect of Christianity was to transform this symbol of terror into one of worship. Ironically, the gurney used for lethal injections resembles a crucifix. In our quest to make capital punishment more digestible, we have tried to make it painless. However, we haven’t been able to make it shameless.
The reluctance of drug manufacturers and medical professionals to be involved with executions has caused some of our recent problems with state executions. Now, Wyoming and Utah are considering the use of firing squads to execute people. This would have the feel of the Wild West, but might require an executioner to administer the coup de grace to compensate for lousy shooting.
If we want a sure-fire way to administer capital punishment, we should employ a guillotine. Although this has a French flavor, it would be a certain way to kill somebody with minimal pain.
American ingenuity could solve the messy aspects of this apparatus. What is served by executions? Is it justice, revenge or deterrence? We really need to look at this practice and decide if it belongs in America.