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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review May 5, 2014 / 5 Iyar, 5774

Bring Back Firing Squads

By Diane Dimond




JewishWorldReview.com | It's clearly time to bring back firing squads.

If we're going to keep carrying out the death penalty in this country and if we are going to continue to grandly insist that they are "humane executions" then only a return to a firing squad will insure a speedy and relatively pain-free death for the condemned.

You might think I'm kidding, but I'm not. I say, line up six to eight sharp shooters, employ the old practice of giving one of them a blank instead of a bullet and instruct them to aim for the prisoner's heart. I guarantee the convict will be dead before they drop to the ground.

Compare that to what we've been led to believe is the least barbaric option of taking a life: lethal injection.

As we recently saw in the bungled execution of Clayton Lockett at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary, things can go wrong - - very wrong - - using a lethal injection.

The problem is critical now because European manufacturers of lethal drugs have decided they will no longer supply the U.S. because we are the only Western country that still has death penalty. So penitentiaries across America are scrambling to find alternative "cocktails" of drugs to kill those whose death row appeals have run out.

Lockett, 38, became Oklahoma's first prisoner to receive a new, three-drug concoction designed to do three things: first, render him unconscious and unable to feel pain. Second, to make him unable to breathe and, finally, to stop his heart.

It soon became clear that this convicted kidnapper, rapist and murderer of an 18-year-old girl never fell into unconsciousness even though a doctor declared he had. Four minutes later, Lockett's body twitched and he rose up from the gurney muttering, "Oh, man." A prison official quickly pulled the curtain on the spectator's window, declared "vein failure," and the execution was interrupted. According to prison officials, 45 minutes later, Lockett died of a heart attack.

Lockett's case is not unique. Three months ago, an Ohio man, convicted of rape and aggravated murder, became that state's first guinea pig of an untried lethal cocktail. Witnesses to Dennis McGuire's execution said after the injection, he clenched his fists, gasped loudly for air and made choking sounds for 15 minutes before he was declared dead.

Who thinks that is more humane than a quick hail of bullets into the heart?

I can cite several more cases of bungled lethal injections — including a 265-pound man whose execution took nearly 10 needle sticks over two hours because technicians couldn't find a proper vein — but I don't want to be accused of overlooking the final, frightening minutes of the victims.

Certainly, the victims of all condemned killers faced much more brutal and undeserved ends, and we should never forget the crimes against them. That goes without saying. But that's not the point of this column.



The Boston Globe recently took a look back at executions in the U.S. — from 1890 to 2010 — and found botched attempts have happened regularly no matter what the mode of death. A reminder as you read on: The U.S. Constitution guarantees none of us is to be subjected to cruel and unusual punishment.

The Globe found that at hangings there were some convicts who, "Had to be dropped and hanged more than once when the initial fall did not kill them." In addition, there was the problem of unwanted decapitations. Those condemned to the electric chair sometimes had to be repeatedly shocked before they died. Some caught on fire and executioners reported smelling burned flesh. Death row inmates sent to the gas chamber, "Often struggled, convulsed, gasped for breath and were asphyxiated for extended periods of time before they succumbed." None of these manners of death is nearly as quick or reliable as a firing squad.

Today, 32 states, the U.S. military and the federal government all have death penalty by lethal injection statutes on the books. (Only New Mexico, Connecticut and Maryland have voted to abolish capital punishment.) According to the latest Gallup poll on the death penalty, a full 60 percent of Americans still support this ultimate punishment for convicted murderers. And so my point is that, if this really is the path we want to take, there is no more fail-proof way to carry out an execution than a firing squad. Period — end of discussion.

Like many Americans, I struggle with being both against the death penalty and for it in certain cases. For example, another Oklahoma man was set to be executed right after Clayton Lockett, but Charles Warner's date with death has been postponed pending an investigation into the state's practices. Warner does not dispute that he raped and killed an 11-month-old baby girl, and for fiends like that I'm hard pressed to suggest he should live another day. Am I a gung-ho advocate for the death penalty? No. Am I vehemently against it? Well, I guess not. That's my constitutionally protected opinion (as fluid as it is) so, please, no hate mail.

At this juncture, when U.S. prisons are hard pressed to even get the chemicals for a lethal injection, maybe it's time for each of us to search our souls and ask what we think is right. There are evil people in the world who do horrid things. If the justice system finds they should be eliminated — how do we want to achieve that?

Only two states currently authorize firing squads and one, Utah, is phasing out the practice. Ironically, Oklahoma — the state that botched an execution and sparked a social conversation — would allow firing squads, but only if the courts first find both lethal injection and electrocution to be unconstitutional.

That's not on the horizon anytime soon. So, the bottom line? The flawed system of lethal injection is here to stay unless and until we tell lawmakers we want something different. Do you?

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Investigative journalist and syndicated columnist Diane Dimond has covered all manner of celebrity and pop culture stories.

Diane Dimond Archives

© 2014, Creators Syndicate.

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