By bringing back the firing squad, Utah officials are being “really honest,” says anti-death-penalty nun Sister Helen Prejean. “They are not just executing people but actually killing them.” The Catholic activist meant that the five shooters on a firing squad have no distance from the act as some might feel with lethal injections, says the Salt Lake Tribune. They cannot disengage and pretend they are not participating in the death of an individual. There are eight inmates on death row, according to the state Department of Corrections. Four inmates have chosen lethal injection. Three have selected the firing squad and one inmate’s choice is unspecified, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Prejean spent months meeting with Louisiana death row inmate Patrick Sonnier, eventually witnessing his execution, and writing about the experience in the 1994 best-seller, “Dead Man Walking: The Eyewitness Account of the Death Penalty That Sparked a National Debate.” Prejean contends that states imposing the death penalty the most often have seen their crime rates double. The Pew Research Center says that 78 percent of Americans favored the death penalty in 1996. That support fell to 55 percent in 2013.