The Alabama House passed a bill this week that would allow the state to once again put people to death by electric chair if the currently low supply of lethal injection drugs runs out or if the Supreme Court places limits on which drugs can be used to execute inmates in a case currently pending before the justices.
The vote came just days after a majority Utah’s legislature approved a bill to bring back the practice of executing people by firing squad. Other states are debating the merits of using gas chambers.
After the European Union banned exports of drugs used to kill human beings in 2011, states have been scrambling to find a reliable supply, often turning to secret, poorly regulated sources.
These bills to revive older methods of execution were proposed following a series ofbotched executions in which inmates suffered long and seemingly painful deaths — calling into question whether the drugs are as effective and “humane” as their supporters claimed.
Yet medical experts say the electric chair — which was used for hundreds of years — is an even more torturous and gruesome method of execution. Because the equipment is old and few people know how to operate it, it has often malfunctioned.
How sad. How so terribly sad.