If You Call Yourself a Sheepdog Then You’re Probably Not a Sheepdog

Of all the posts on this blog none has garnered me more hatred than my criticism of Grossman’s sheepdog, sheep, and wolves analogy. Seriously, just read some of the comments and see how many people base their self-worth on the idea that they’re some kind of protector of humanity. Over two years later I not only find myself still believing that Grossman’s analogy is flawed but I also believe that almost everybody who subscribes to that analogy and believes themselves to be a sheepdog isn’t.

In Grossman’s analogy the sheepdog is the thin barrier that lies between the weak, pathetic, ignorant sheep and the vicious wolves that lurk around every corner. I find the analogy flawed because it implies that a person is either a protector of humanity, a stupid sheep who will get eaten in time, or an asshole wolf who exists solely to kill the sheep. I mean, come on, just read this tripe:

If you have no capacity for violence then you are a healthy productive citizen: a sheep. If you have a capacity for violence and no empathy for your fellow citizens, then you have defined an aggressive sociopath–a wolf. But what if you have a capacity for violence, and a deep love for your fellow citizens? Then you are a sheepdog, a warrior, someone who is walking the hero’s path. Someone who can walk into the heart of darkness, into the universal human phobia, and walk out unscathed.

What if you have the capacity for violence but care only to use it to protect yourself? Or you have the capacity for violence but care only to use it to protect you and yours? How about those people who have a capacity for violence yet refrain from using it? And what about those who have a capacity for violence, use it against nonviolent individuals, and carry a badge? Reality is far different than what Grossman implies. People don’t fit nicely into tidy categories and most of the self-proclaimed sheepdogs aren’t considered what Grossman implies to be sheepdog.

If you go on to read the analogy you will see, for example, that Grossman considers police officers to be sheepdogs. I fail to see how modern police, who exist primarily to prey on the populace by extorting wealth from them, are defenders of anybody. But what’s really annoying is that many people outside of the police and military who consider themselves sheepdogs share many of the wolfish tendencies of a lot of modern police officers. The worst of which is the “Just give me an excuse, boy!” personality trait. People who exhibit this personality trait are the ones who are looking for any excuse to bring violence against somebody. For example, one of Baton Rouge’s finest who wanted somebody to pull a Ferguson in his town so he could thump some skulls.

Many of the people I know, both in real life and on the Internet, who consider themselves sheepdog are also hoping somebody will do something, anything, that will give them an excuse to go all Judge Dredd on their ass. The only thing keeping them from shooting bad guys, and by bad guys I mean basically anybody they dislike, is that they are lowly beta wolves. Sheepdogs, more often than not, are actually wolves and there are two types of wolves. Most self-proclaimed sheepdogs outside of law enforcement are lowly beta wolves and the police are the alpha wolves. Beta wolves want to go all Judge Dredd on people but the alpha wolves don’t like it when beta wolves challenge their monopoly on violence. So the alpha wolves keep the beta wolves relegated to just wishing for the day that they get a reason to prove their sheepdog claims to be more than bluster. This isn’t heroic behavior and the people who hold this attitude aren’t the defender of humanity.

As people wanting nothing more than to wield violence most self-proclaimed sheepdogs spend a vast majority of their time training to do exactly that. Something that always amazes me when it comes to the sheepdog crowd is their emphasis on training for some of the most retarded gun fighting scenarios, in regards to people living in the United States, every conceived. They drill for multiple attackers invading a mall and taking hostages, entrenched terrorists who are firing on the sheepdogs’ position and can only be advanced on by leapfrogging so that one sheepdog can provide covering fire to another sheepdog as he moves towards danger (because sheepdogs only ever move towards danger), and counterinsurgency after a foreign army has successfully invaded and taken over their hometown. What they seem to never drill for are scenarios where the mugger gets the jump on them and at gun point demands their wallet, a shooter opening fire in a mall causing most of the people to run chaotically in a panic and thus have made finding and engaging the attacker almost impossible, or two individuals engaging in a fight that’s impossible to ascertain who initiated it and who is simply defending themselves. If you want to consider yourself the defender of stupid sheep then you should at least practice for scenarios that may actually happen. Or, you know, learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

It’s true, some self-proclaimed sheepdogs are very competent with a firearm (but most aren’t). Anybody who spends every weekend practicing to engage the entire Mongol horde should have developed at least some competency with a firearm. But those people often suck at deescalation techniques (again, they want to get into a fight so deescalation is counter to their goal), employing the minimum force necessary to resolve a situation, and having a conversation lasting more than ten minutes that doesn’t devolve into ranting about how pathetic sheep are and how awesome they and their fellow sheepdogs are. The best fights are the ones that don’t happen and if you are actually interested in defending people you should start by learning to how deescalate a situation. Likewise not every situation requires a gun. Sometimes you can resolve a situation by restraining somebody long enough for them to cool down. And when things do go completely south and you need to use a firearm you will almost never have an AR-15 with a chest rig full of loaded magazines. Instead you’ll have a concealed handgun and maybe an extra magazine or two. Again most self-proclaimed sheepdogs seemed prepared for war not for defending members of their community from bad things that may actually happen.

The only people that I have ever heard use the sheepdog analogy unironically are those whose egos need regular stroking and the only stroking they find pleasurable are images of themselves being heroes. Meanwhile the people who actually protect members of their community; emergency medical technicians (EMT), people who know CPR, people who walk other people to their car at night so they don’t get harassed, etc.; usually aren’t bragging about how they are the thin line that rests between sheep and wolves. That’s probably because they’re actually helping people instead of talking about it. But a lot of people have latched onto Grossman’s analogy because it allows them to fantasize about being a hero as well as gives them a reason to feel superior to anybody who doesn’t spend every weekend preparing to fight off the Mongol horde.

Why Do People Care About How Another Identifies

I’m going to take a slight detour from my usual topics because it’s my blog and I get to do whatever I want. Let me first start off by stating that the longer I identify as a libertarian the more of a mistake I believe it has been for libertarianism to align itself with neoconservatism. It probably made sense at first because neoconservative talking points often revolve around small government, individual liberty, and free markets. Obviously their actions don’t agree with their propaganda but in the political realm it probably made sense for libertarians to align themselves with the politically influential group that at least pays lip service to libertarian beliefs.

Here’s the problem, many neoconservatives now call themselves libertarians. Many gun rights advocates have been discussing how they don’t want Open Carry Texas on their side. For many of the same reasons I don’t want neoconservatives on my side. They make libertarianism look dreadful. Whenever a discussion involving social issues comes up there are numerous neoconservatives claiming to be libertarians spewing shit that isn’t libertarian.

While there are many camps of libertarianism most of them are built on the foundation of non-aggression. In other words libertarianism can generally be summed up by a quote from Will Smith’s character in Men in Black, “My attitude is: don’t start nothing, won’t be nothing!” Neoconservatives like to start things and that makes being a libertarian, which is tacitly associated with neoconservatism, really fucking annoying.

I feel as though points are best demonstrated with examples. In an online “libertarian” group I came across this story about a 16 year-old who ran into a snag attempting to get a drivers license:

Chase Culpepper — a 16-year-old who wears makeup and androgynous or girls’ clothing on a daily basis — went to the DMV in Anderson on March 3 with his mother to get his driver’s license after passing his driver’s test, according to a press release obtained by The Huffington Post. However, he was told he couldn’t be photographed while wearing makeup.

DMV employees said he did not look the way they thought a boy should, and one individual called his makeup a “disguise,” the release notes. Culpepper ultimately removed his makeup and got his photo taken, but the experience left a mark.

The first thing that came to mind when I read this story is why did the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) employee gave any fucks about Chase wearing makeup. It’s not like Chase is going to buy smokes or booze with a drivers license that states an age of 16 years-old. But the DMV employee wasn’t the only person who cared. No, quite a few neoconservatives who moonlight as libertarians cared a great deal.

The common thread running through the neoconservatives was basically that Chase should act like a man because he is a man (the thread was usually worded in a more derogatory way) and that the DMV employee made the correct call. OK, that’s their opinion, whatever. What really began to irritate me was the thread that began to spin off from the original article, which was whether or not the state should enforce gender identities (because “small government” to a neoconservative means a government big enough to enforce all of his or her beliefs).

Who in the hell thinks it’s appropriate to send costume-clad men with guns to kidnap anybody who fails to properly (whatever the fuck that means) abide by their gender? Neoconservatives, that’s who. And this is why they piss me off. Even if you believe there should be a government why would you want it to enforce how you personally identify, act, and dress? Are you really so offended by people not fitting your idea of what a man or woman should be that you want violence wielded against them?

To my dismay people have begun associating this stupidity with libertarianism and that too pisses me off. Often enough people assume that as a libertarian I hate gay and transgender people. I don’t. Quite the opposite actually. I want people to live their lives in the way that makes them happy. What I don’t want is people feeling as though they have to hide who they are or otherwise live a miserable existence.

Patents Don’t Equal Implementation

There are some rumors that just won’t die. What’s worse is when these rumors are reported as facts. Take this article. It claims that Apple is implementing a method that would allow law enforcement agents to remotely disable an iPhone’s camera:

The rapid emergence of smart phones with high definition cameras leads to consequences for law-breaking cops.

Recently, law enforcement throughout the country has been trying to pass laws that would make it illegal to film them while they’re on duty.

But Apple is coming out with a new technology that would put all the power in a cop’s hands.

The evidence? Apple filed a patent on this type of technology back in 2008. Ever since that patent was filed people have claimed that Apple is implementing or has secretly implemented the technology.

What people seem to miss is that companies file patents on anything they can think. It doesn’t matter if a company plans to actually implement a patented technology, they file the patent to build up an intellectual property war chest just in case they get sued by another company over an intellectual property matter. So far Apple has made no indication that it plans to actually implement the technology covered in the linked patent. Claiming anything other then the fact that Apple has filed a patent for such technology is pure fear mongering and it really needs to stop.

It’s My Least Favorite Time Again

It’s time again for yet another frivolous waste of everybody’s time. I am, of course, talking about the biennial political season. This year doesn’t involve a presidential election, which has an upside and a downside. The upside is that we aren’t being assaulted with wall-to-wall coverage of meaningless political drivel. The downside is that the people who involve themselves in off years become more annoying. They believe that the off years are the years where one can really make a difference. Since most of the politicos are supposedly sitting at home the people who show up can get politicians elected who will actually changed thing. Except the politicos aren’t sitting at home because politics is their one and only hobby. Political wannabe power players, the people who run local conventions and are well known in local political circles, never take a year off and they have enough influence locally to get their way every year.

But that doesn’t stop my more politically involved friends from calling, e-mailing, and messaging me on Facebook to beg me to show up to a local caucus, speech by their favored politician, or fundraiser. No matter how many times I explain to them that I’m not interested in politics they keep harassing me. They tell me that “This year is the most important year ever!” Yes, they tell me that every year. When I ask what’s in it for me (because I’m a self-interested bloke) they always try to feed me a line of bullshit that they think will convince me to stop doing whatever it is that I’m enjoying so I can go suffer through the mind numbing political process. As you can guess the most common reason given is that politician So-And-So is planning to take my guns so I must get out there and work for So-And-So’s opposition. Of course they usually leave the part out about So-And-So having a abject hatred of brown people in sandy regions, two men getting it on (they’re usually cool with two women getting it on but they would never tell you that), and people who want to keep secrets from the state. But I digress.

The point is I fucking hate this season. I hate the people running for office. I hate how people think they can make a meaningful difference through politics (trust me if you could it would be illegal). I hate how persistent my friends are no matter how clearly I state my hatred of politics. In fact I hate everything about the political season.

What I am about to write will almost certainly fall on deaf ears but I’m going to try anyways. I’m not going to help your pet politician. I don’t even like your pet politician. The fact that your pet politician is running for office already tells me everything I need to know about his or her moral character (which is to say he or she has no notable moral character). There are roughly 100 trillion other things I would rather do including watch paint dry, getting hit by a school bus that is on fire, or being locked in a five square foot cell with ravenous badgers (the number of badgers doesn’t matter).

Double Standards

I haven’t written about the fiasco with Mozilla’s five minute CEO because I felt it was stupid but Tam perfectly sums up something that really bugged me:

I’ve seen some pretty interesting rationalizations over the past few days from people nominally on my team for why it was okay for Metcalf and Zumbo to be shown the door for offending sponsors or being out of step with their subcultural zeitgeist, but Brendan Eich’s ouster was just… zomg… FIRST AMENDMENT!

Didn’t we just leave this ducking party?

You know that whole culture thing I discussed? Yeah, this is the type of shit I was talking about. There are still a lot of gunnies that talk about freedom but only mean freedom for everybody who is like them. When somebody does something that opposes gun rights gunnies call for their head. But when somebody does something that opposes their Christian morals they hide behind the veil of voluntary association.

I believe that Eich has every right to give his money to whatever cause he so desires. I also believe that people who oppose his cause have every right to call for his removal. Both acts are exercises of free speech. In the case of Eich the speech of his opposition won out. Whether he was forced to resign or did so voluntarily is unimportant. What is important is that he did something that pissed off a lot of Mozilla’s user base and that was bad for Mozilla’s business.

Imagine if Shannon Watts was appointed CEO of Mozilla. The general shooting community would react exactly as the gay rights community acted when Eich was appointed CEO. But since social conservatism runs strong in the shooting community a lot of words have been spent trying to justify how Eich being forced to step down was a horrible thing and why any good, upstanding, moral person should dump Firefox immediately (I’m exaggerating that last part a bit, I only know three gunnies who were advocating for people to dump Firefox after Eich stepped down).

Voluntary association and free speech run both ways. If an individual or organization is free to stop associating with somebody who is anti-gun then they are also free to stop associating with somebody who opposes legalized same-sex marriages.

The New Generation of Shooters

I stumbled across an article that says something that I don’t believe is said often enough in the shooting community:

I’ve written before about the lack of welcome given to the Millennial Generation (and the later members of Gen X) by the shooting community. Their tattoos and piercings put off some, while their voting patterns and interest in social justice causes make others mad. As I’ve said, they look and think differently from the generations which came before — and that makes many people very nervous.

But there is a point of common interest: they like guns (they particularly like suppressors!) and they believe that people have a right to own them. We share that enthusiasm with them, and that’s what’s important.

Yes, they’re different. They like guns but worry about income inequalities; they enjoy shooting but also a clean environment; they want to buy ammo but dislike the multinational corporations which make it possible for them to do so. In short, they’re full of dichotomies and inconsistencies — just like the rest of us!

Appearance-wise I’m one of the most bland people out there. I’m always always dressed business casual, I keep my hair short and naturally colored, and my skin is entirely devoid of tattoos or piercings. In other words my appearances are generally unoffensive to the traditional shooting culture. But I’m also an anarchist and a metalhead. That means I keep some very colorful company. Many of my friends would fall in the category that is sometimes referred to as punks. They have long hair that can be cut into mohawks, colored anything from pink to blue, are often covered in piercing and tattoos, and wear clothing with enough spikes that one could mistake a single individual for an entire Spartan legion in phalanx formation. They’re damn good people but often receive a less than welcome response from traditional shooters.

Now it’s story time. Back in the day I had a girlfriend who liked to color her hair. During the year we were dating she had changed her hair color from having two pink stripes framing her face to first entirely light blue then green then light blue again and finally pink. While she grew up around firearms she hadn’t been shooting in quite some time so I decided to take her to an undisclosed range (undisclosed because I don’t want to sully the range’s good name). Everything was fine until a couple of more elderly individuals showed up.

During one of the cease fires one of the individuals approached me as I was walking out to swap targets. He didn’t bother introducing himself or offer any other form of nicety but jumped right into questioning me about my at the time girlfriend. His first question was “Does she know what she’s doing?” From the tone of the question I was led to believe he was insinuating that she didn’t know how to shoot or at least shoot safely. I said “She knows exactly what she’s doing. She grew up around firearms.” To which he said “She doesn’t look like she knows what she’s doing.” This statement irritated me. Her target was testament enough that she knew what she was doing. Furthermore at no point did she handle any of the firearms she was using in an unsafe manner. Needless to say I had to ask “How so?” I half expected him to make an offhand remark about her gender being unable to shoot. Instead he surprised me by saying “Well she looks like a gang banger.” This really, and I mean really, pissed me off. I politely informed the man, truthfully, that she held a Ph.D. in mathematics and more security clearances than he was probably aware existed. When we returned to the firing line and called the range hot my wonderful electronic earmuffs picked up the conversation he was having with his friend and needless to say there were a lot of rather unflattering remarks being made about my girlfriend. Unfortunately she was also wearing fancy electronic earmuffs and overheard their conversation. Her enthusiasm for shooting deadened a notable amount that day.

We in the shooting community often spend a lot of time talking about the need to get more people involved in shooting. Unfortunately for many of the more vocal shooters what they really mean is that they want more people like them in the shooting community. Unless you’re a Republican voting, politically and socially conservative, Christian church goer they don’t want you in their little club. The linked article made a point that demonstrates this quite well:

One thing is certain: these new shooters don’t like the NRA and they aren’t members. They don’t know the organization because the organization hasn’t taken the time to know them. What they believe they know about the NRA and its members comes from the mainstream media, because too many members have decided that these new shooters aren’t worth getting to know as human beings.

(Frankly, the organization’s social stances haven’t helped, either. Seriously, look at the major social activities planned for the NRA convention later this month: a country music concert and a prayer breakfast. Do you really think these people are going to be excited about either?)

I’ve had numerous heated discussions with fellows gun enthusiasts due to my political views (because the only thing more vile than a dirty liberal Democrat to some members of the shooting community is a downright dangerous anarchist). If you ever want to see a political discussion go from civil to yelling just bring up the fact that you think the Constitution is a flawed document that shouldn’t be cited as scripture. My viewpoints and the viewpoints of most of my anarchist friends do not align with the National Rifle Association (NRA). We don’t derive our ability to own and carry firearms from an amendment to some document written by power hunger individuals who were upset that the Articles of Confederation didn’t allow for monarchical control. Us metalheads aren’t interested in a country music concert and most anarchists and metalheads want to be as far away from a prayer breakfast as we can get.

Fortunately most of the gun rights activists I know aren’t bigoted pricks. But many of the shooters I know are. And those shooters are usually more than willing to share their opinion of others without much resistance. I try to make it a point when I hear one of those individuals shooting their mouths off at or about people they don’t like to speak up. If we want to grow the shooting community we need to be accepting of all people who are interested in guns. That “dirty liberal” who supports background checks but otherwise is in favor of gun rights? Yes, accept him. You may be able to change his mind about background checks but being a dick to him isn’t going to do it. What about that transgendered individual or that gay couple? You damn well better accept them because the second you don’t you not only turn them off to shooting but you also make the rest of us in the community look like bigoted assholes.

While you don’t have to like everything about fellow shooters you should at least realize that shooting is enough common ground to build an alliance, and preferably a friendship, on.

Bitching About Stupid Shit

The amount of absolutely stupid shit people find to bitch about continues to surprise me. Today’s example of a totally irrelevant occurrence rustling jimmies is Coca-Cola’s Super Bowl commercial. Although I didn’t see it I do know that it involved the song America the Beautiful being sung in languages other than English. How do I know this? Because quite a few people are very upset about it:

The response to the Cheerios commercial Sunday night, however, was all positive — the bigoted social media backlash instead appeared a few minutes later when Coca Cola aired its commercial with “America the Beautiful” sung in different languages.

The calls for boycotts came immediately with tweets like this one from @HappieDays12: “I will not be purchasing any #CocaCola products for the foreseeable future. Pretty sure we speak English in America.”

Similarly minded @Lady_Jay_J tweeted, “Since when did the national anthem get sung in Spanish?! Not a good idea #CocaCola.”

Even today there are people tweeting about this commercial. I’m left wondering why anybody cares. Of all the problems that exist in the world why does anybody waste the time necessary to be upset about the language a song is sung in? Is it because America the Beautiful is the national anthem of the area inside of some imaginary borders referred to as the United States and that most English speakers inside of those lines believe English is the official language? If that’s the reason these people are upset let me help them overcome their pointless complaint. The official language of this area known as the United States is whatever the fuck you want to speak. Nationally, which is the scope we’re working on as the song is the national anthem, there is no official language in the United States.

Now that I have resolved this crisis feel free to find another pointless thing to complain about. I suggest getting upset at the people who don’t know the difference between there, their, and they’re. If you’re going to get upset about something involving the English language then it might as well be something that’s relevance to the language.

SHOT Show 2014

We’re getting close to the end of this year’s SHOT Show. While I used to get excited about this show because I’m always interested in learning about new firearms that will be hitting the market I’ve found myself caring less and less each year. At this point I think it’s safe to rename SHOT Show to the New AR Pattern Rifles and 1911s Show. Granted, there have been a few unveilings that haven’t been based on the popular black rifle or the 100 year old handgun but not many.

New news regarding the Beretta ARX100 has probably been the most exciting thing that I’ve read about from this year’s SHOT Show. While the ARX100 isn’t too evolutionary it is at least something different.

One of the downsides of being interested in firearms development is that the technology, in a large part, is mature. But I would love to see somebody unveil a prototype Guass or laser rifle. It doesn’t have to be practical, affordable, or ready for market. Just seeing something so different would make me excited for the show again.

Anyways, that’s my rant for the day.

Enough with the Political Grandstanding

I haven’t spent much time writing about the shooting in Colorado because, frankly, there isn’t much to say. The event is still too recent for any solid facts to be available. But there is something I do feel the need to bring up. Whenever a heinous act like a school shooting or a bombing occurs there seems to be a need for people to hit the Internet and write about the perpetrator’s political viewpoints as a criticism against everybody who shares them.

When a perpetrator holds “conservative” (quotes necessary because the term has been bastardized beyond recognition) beliefs the “liberals” (quotes used for the same reason) run to their keyboards and post about it. They treat it as an “Ah ha!” moment, a correlation that proves that “conservatives” are violent psychopaths. After the shooting in Colorado I saw many “conservatives” posting this story:

In one Facebook post, Pierson attacks the philosophies of economist Adam Smith, who through his invisible-hand theory pushed the notion that the free market was self-regulating. In another post, he describes himself as “Keynesian.”

“I was wondering to all the neoclassicals and neoliberals, why isn’t the market correcting itself?” he wrote. “If the invisible hand is so strong, shouldn’t it be able to overpower regulations?”

Pierson also appears to mock Republicans on another Facebook post, writing “you republicans are so cute” and posting an image that reads: “The Republican Party: Health Care: Let ’em Die, Climate Change: Let ’em Die, Gun Violence: Let ’em Die, Women’s Rights: Let ’em Die, More War: Let ’em Die. Is this really the side you want to be on?”

Apparently the Colorado shooter held “liberal” beliefs and that is proof that “liberals” are violent psychopaths.

Here’s the thing, nut jobs exist in all political philosophies. Just because a perpetrator of a heinous act held “conservative”, “liberal”, libertarian, communist, or anarchist beliefs doesn’t prove anything about anybody else who holds similar beliefs. Bringing up a perpetrator’s political beliefs as a serious criticism against everybody else who holds similar beliefs is fucking retarded.

With that said, this is aimed at the people who bring up a perpetrator’s political beliefs as a serious criticism. If you’re doing it for LULZ you get a pass.

First World Statist Problems

Sometimes you have to feel sorry for the state. It has a lot of problems. Between being unable to centrally plan economic matters and failing to wipe out or enslave everybody under the rule of other states the state has a very difficult time. But when the medical industry is competing with the it to acquire drugs necessary to execute people, well, your heart can’t help but go out to the state:

Shortages of anaesthetic drugs usually used in lethal injection, the most common method of execution, are forcing states to find alternative sedatives. Propofol, used up to 50 million times a year in US surgical procedures, has never been used in an execution. If the execution had gone ahead, US hospitals could have lost access to the drug because 90% of the US supply is made and exported by a German company subject to European Union (EU) regulations that restrict the export of medicines and devices that could be used for capital punishment or torture. Fearing a ban on propofol sales to the United States, in 2012 the drug’s manufacturer, Fresenius Kabi in Bad Homburg, ordered its US distributors not to provide the drug to prisons.

This brings me to my rant for the day. The way the death penalty is handled in this country is absolutely insane. Most countries have the decency to just execute prisoners. Here in the United States we pretend that we’re more civilized because we go through a lot of pointless rituals before we execute somebody (in prison, the cops are far less ritualistic when they kill somebody). Only “humane” methods are used to execute prisoners. Let that roll around in your head for a minute. Only humane methods are used to execute prisoners. That’s almost too oxymoronic for me to even write.

In addition to use very complicated methods to execute prisoners the United States attempts to come to terms with its conscious by throwing additional rituals into the mix. Reading the prisoner his or her last rights, allowing him or her to have a last meal of their choosing, marching them down death row, and giving him or her a chance to say some final words are all little rituals used to absolve our conscious. We use those little rituals to make ourselves feel better about executing a guy whose crime is so far in the past (after all, it takes a long time to execute somebody) that killing him or her really has no point.

Obviously I’m not a fan of the death penalty but if a state is going to go ahead with it I would appreciate some honesty. It should stop wrapping the process in a bunch of rituals designed to make the act of killing seem like something else. That includes a move away from fancy execution methods like lethal injection. If the state is bound and determined to execute somebody then it should just use a fucking bullet to the head. That may save us a bunch of pretense about humanely executing somebody and make the act far more reflective of what it is: killing.