Let's be honest. Whether or not the death penalty, as a whole, is constitutional was never at issue in this case. The question regarding necessary standards and uniformity in the method for executing inmates, however, was in full display.
The logical response to Clayton Lockett's bloody, pain-filled, unconstitutional execution in Oklahoma eight months ago would be to prevent such torture from happening again. But Oklahoma has another idea for its first execution since Lockett's.
While a majority of states have abandoned the death penalty altogether, either in law or in practice, the handful of states that continue to execute prisoners do so despite a number of troubling issues relating to its implementation.
Could the newest "shot heard 'round the world" be the lethal injection of Oklahoma death-row inmate Clayton Lockett? After all, his 45-minute death struggle has been denounced by the UN and will likely have a profound impact on the nature of capital punishment in the United States.
If we're going to keep carrying out the death penalty in this country and if we are going to continue to grandly insist that they are "humane executions" then only a return to a firing squad will insure a speedy and relatively pain free death for the condemned.