Fox News: South Carolina adds firing squad to list of execution methods

Medieval jurists and judges did not stop to solve intricate problems of psycho-pathology nor to sift the expert evidence of the psychiater. The legal maxim:  Si duo faciunt idem non est idem (if 2 do the same thing, it is not the same) was too fine a distinction for them, even when one of the doers was a brute beast. The puzzling knots, which we seek painfully to untie and often succeed only in hopelessly dangling, they boldly cut with executioner’s sword.  They dealt directly with overt acts and administered justice with a rude and retaliative hand, more accustomed and better adapted to clinch a fist and strike a blow than to weigh motives nicely in a balance, to measure gradations of culpability, or to detect delicate differences in the psychical texture and spiritual qualities of deeds. They put implicit faith in Jack Cade’s prescription of “hempen caudle” and “pap of hatchet” as radical remedies for all forms and degrees of criminal alienation and murderous aberration of mind. Phlebotomy was the catholicon of the physician and the craze of the jurist; blood-letting was regarded as the only infallible cure for all the ills that afflict the human and the social body. Doctors of physic and doctors of law vied with each other in applying this panacea. The red-streaked pole of the barber-surgeon and the reeking scaffold, symbols of venesection as a means of promoting the physical and moral health of the community, were the appropriate signs of medicine and jurisprudence.  Hygeia and Justicia, instead of being represented by graceful females feeding the emblematic serpent of recuperation or holding with firm and even hand the well-poised scales of equity, would have been more fitly typified by 2 enormous leeches gorged with blood.

Even the dead, who should have been hanged, but escaped their due punishment, could not rest in their graves until the corpse had suffered the proper legal penalty at the hands of the public executioner. Their restless ghosts wandered about as vampires or other malicious spooks until their crimes had been expiated by digging up their bodies and suspending them from the gallows. Culprits, who died on the rack or in prison were brought to the scaffold as though they were still alive. [1]

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Fox News: South Carolina adds firing squad to list of execution methods.