South Carolina Brings Back the Firing Squads

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In an age afraid of justice, when people would rather pamper and coddle the country’s criminals instead of punish them, South Carolina has done the counter-cultural thing and brought back the firing squad for executions.

Many companies around the country, and the world, have been jumping on the “immorality of the death penalty” bandwagon, and have as a result started embargoing sales of lethal injection drugs. Germany is the most notable, but there are others. Encouragingly, while South Carolina might be represented in the Union by the likes of Lindsay Graham and Tim Scott, their state government didn’t follow the trend; they have forcefully evaded it.

From News 19:

“‘We are one step closer to providing victims’ families and loved ones with the justice and closure they are owed by law,’ McMaster said in a statement on Twitter. ‘I will sign this legislation as soon as it gets to my desk.’

The death penalty is legal in South Carolina but no one on death row has been executed in nearly 10 years. That’s because the state stopped being able to get the drugs needed for lethal injections, which is currently the primary method of execution.

The bill requires death row inmates to choose between the firing squad and the electric chair if lethal injection drugs aren’t available.” (The entire piece is here.)

The death penalty is one of the oldest traditions in Western history. It has been recognized as a pillar of criminal justice for millennia, and in spite of the confusions and decadence of the modern age, it still works. What is the cheaper and more human option? Million-dollar drugs and excruciating pain, or getting the darn thing over with?

Unless you want ’em writing books and smiling on TV.

Catholic theologian and former libertarian Edward Feser has written extensively on the death penalty, and given the topic what we believe to be its most serious academic treatment this century. You can find samples of his work on this topic here, and here.

For all those who are all too knowledgeable about Catholic clerical scandals in this era, here’s a blast from the orthodox past from Pope Saint Pius V of holy memory, as it relates to certain kinds of wicked behavior among the prelates:

“Therefore, wishing to pursue with greater rigor than we have exerted since the beginning of our pontificate, we establish that any priest or member of the clergy, either secular or regular, who commits such an execrable crime, by force of the present law be deprived of every clerical privilege, of every post, dignity and ecclesiastical benefit, and having been degraded by an ecclesiastical judge, let him be immediately delivered to the secular authority to be put to death, as mandated by law as the fitting punishment for laymen who have sunk into this abyss.”(Constitution Horrendum illud scelus, August 30, 1568, in Bullarium Romanum, Rome: Typographia Reverendae Camerae Apostolicae, Mainardi, 1738, chap. 3, p. 33)

Traditional Catholic Thoughts, the source of the above quote, explains in depth why the death penalty is a longstanding and wholesome part of Catholic tradition. That understanding also shows us why South Carolina should be applauded for showing some Southern Spine to the age of the wet noodle, and facilitating the work of those doing orderly and wholesome justice to society’s evildoers.