If you were on death row, which would you choose—a firing squad or lethal injection? That’s the question my friend Anna Jackson asked me while riding a Staten Island-bound ferry. We almost died that day. (Not really, but for a time the captain was playing Battleship.)
Anna was referencing the media frenzy surrounding death row inmate Ronnie Lee Gardner, who opted for an execution-style sentence earlier this month. When his time was up, he was shot down in the manner of an old western. Some believed Gardner’s choice to be publicity-driven. His only other option in the state of Utah was lethal injection.
Filling people with bullets is a legal form of punishment. Atone for thy sins! Wait, let me just check my calendar…yep, it’s 2010. I did some extensive research on medieval European death practices. The findings, noted below, are more ridiculous than a traditional firing squad. But only slightly.
1. Death by BB gun, your eyes shot out with a Red Ryder
2. Electrocution by hand buzzer, delivered by clowns
3. Tarred & Feathered
4. Tarred & Pleathered
5. Eaten by snapping turtles and cannibalic vampires, both wearing braces
6. Tethered to an ‘80s exercise bicycle in high gear, Ace of Base’s “The Sign” on repeat
7. Dull guillotine and/or butter knife thrower
8. Plastic surgery and a moustache implant to look like Hitler, German voice box included
9. Skipping stoned to death (survival time: 3-5 years)
10. Covered in honey and blown from a cannon into a bee farm