South Carolina recently instituted firing squad as an execution option for convicted inmates who can now choose between that and electrocution. The change was prompted by that state’s continued inability to obtain lethal injection drugs.
It’s time for Ohio to start discussing similar options.
For now, Governor Mike DeWine has imposed a moratorium on executions citing the difficulty of obtaining an effective lethal injection drug.
And now Sen. Mike Rulli, R-Salem, is among Columbus lawmakers who are together exploring eliminating the death penalty in Ohio.
The abolition of capital punishment in Ohio is such a profound moral issue that we believe it should never be taken lightly.
In fact, we’ve used this space before to argue that the issue of capital punishment runs so deep that it should be debated and decided by a bigger body and a bigger voice. That is, it should be decided by the electorate at the polls rather than by elected representatives at the Statehouse.
Indeed, we rarely advocate for voters to be involved in law-making. On the contrary, we very consistently argue that with the representative form of government we enjoy, the public should generally not enter the fray when it comes to making the law. Instead, we have always maintained that the law should be made by the legislators we elect to represent us in Columbus.
Not this time, however.
Deciding life or death is an incredible moral and societal responsibility that runs very deep and must be decided by the voice of the entire electorate, we believe.
Nonetheless, the state legislature has begun a debate over the future of the death penalty in Ohio.
Ohio Senate Bill 103, which would effectively end the death penalty in Ohio for the state’s most heinous offenders, as well as a separate bill in the Ohio House, generates debates and discourses of crucial importance.
The proposed end to capital punishment in Ohio comes at a time when our governor has instituted a moratorium on executions,
This challenge, along with the endless rift between proponents and opponents of the death penalty, fuels the current debate over the latest legislative proposals to end executions in Ohio.
In legislative testimony late last year against abolishing the death penalty, Trumbull County Assistant Attorney Chris Becker and others argued that the death penalty should not be considered as a deterrent, but as a punishment for the most violent and destructive members of society.
Opponents, however, argued that the death penalty was “racist, unjust, inhuman, arbitrary and wrong”. Ultimately, very few people don’t have an opinion on this highly controversial topic. While a vote would undoubtedly leave some unhappy with the outcome, it would have given every voter in Ohio a chance to have their say on this important issue.
Undeniably, however, until this case is resolved and as long as the death penalty remains on the books for those on death row for the heinous crimes they committed, the people of Ohio will have no recourse. .
This is largely because, like many other states in the union, Ohio continues to struggle in its efforts to locate drugs for lethal injections. This means those on death row in Ohio will remain on death row for the time being, and the families of victims awaiting closure will have no end in sight.
That’s why we think Columbus lawmakers should debate and consider adding other means of execution in Ohio, whether it’s electrocution or firing squad.