Crazy Trains and Firing Squads

Posted: March 25, 2015 in Tim Braun
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

If you were to ask me what two things I ignore most in this big, beautiful world the answer would be easy – politics and news. Of course, if you were to ask my wife the same question she would say the two things I ignore most would be her and her. She’s obviously wrong about that – I wouldn’t classify it as ‘ignoring’. More like cognitive dissidence.

This morning I made the mistake, as I was switching from a rerun of “Friends” on one channel to another rerun of “Friends” on another channel, of stopping on the Local News for a minute. I don’t know why I paused, but within about 78 seconds I was reminded of why I stopped paying attention to either of my two previously ignored subjects.


The United States Department of Transportation is hosting a symposium/conference/meeting/get-together/speech/dramatic production/coven – whatever you want to call it – on “Increased Pedestrian Train Deaths”. Note that this is not a symposium on HOW to get hit by a train – anyone cantrain do that – but I guess on how we can better avoid it. Well, I have a thought on how to avoid these senseless deaths. Don’t stand in front of the train. I’ve just saved the government millions of dollars and many serious-looking government officials at least 8 hours of sitting in a darkened boardroom listening to train death stories. You’re welcome.

Every week in the United States in 2014, about 16 people were killed by trains. This is compared to a ridiculous 37,000 people dying weekly from cancer, 2,750 per week dying from car crashes, and a crazy 542 people per week dying from FALLING OFF A ROOF. Yet the political train lovers deem the 16 deaths a week to be important enough to have an event to discuss this. Sure, they’ll serve the crappy cheese Danish in their little morning session, followed by a 6-inch diameter chocolate chip cookie served as an afternoon snack in the later session, but that will be the highlight of the conference and the talking point as everyone leaves….”Boy, that conference was pointless, but HOLY CRAP IN A BUCKET THAT CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE!”


So after that story, we had nowhere to go but up. So I thought. To pick the next story, I’m giving you four options to choose from. Only one of these is an actual news story that was reported:

  1. Senate to Decide Today on “Women in Weather” Award
  2. Utah Reinstates Death by Firing Squad
  3. Not Many Disco Songs About Daytime
  4. Man Forgets He Has Infant Strapped to His Back

Give up? Well, I have to give credit to The Onion for the last two. And credit to my workplace for the first one – as we are actually honoring “the six most celebrated women in meteorology” ridictarulously soon.

So that only leaves one headline that’s true. Utah has recently reinstated death by firing squad. I’ll let that one sink in for a second. The vote probably went something like this, as apparently the state was bored by the normal methods for death:

  1. Firing Squad 51% (WINNER!)
  2. Tar & Feathering 33%
  3. Drawn & Quartered 15% (my personal favorite, by the way)
  4. Guillotine 1% (they’re not ANIMALS, after all)

I haven’t begun (nor will I begin) to read any article or continue to listen to any news story concerning firingsquadthe legalization of a firing squad in the United States, so I can’t give you any reason as to why they are now legal – but then again, I really shouldn’t have to, should I? Are we really that insane in this country to feel a need for a firing squad? To be clear, I’m not even necessarily against the death penalty under some conditions. But a firing squad????

Maybe after their “Death Train Symposium 2015”, the politicos looking for something to do can focus on what type of bullets to use in Utah.


Get me back to my “Friends” reruns. STAT.


  1. give me “Friends” any day. The rest of this post was just frightening on a NUMBER of levels. I hope you do a post on the “Women in Weather” winners 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I would also like to note after this experience with the local news, you really should stick to the webcam feeds rather than TV.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My following of news tends to be random, but I actually did come across something along about the firing squad story recently. I got the impression it was because international pharmaceutical companies that make the drugs used in lethal injections are bowing to public pressure and refusing to sell it to US prison authorities – or whoever is responsible for buying the drug. Various states are looking at alternatives, and this is Utah’s fav pick.

    I’m really back and forth on whether I’m pro or anti death penalty … Mostly I’m anti, but then you hear of some truly horrific crimes and … yeah, then I get pissy about my tax dollars being used to maintain the person who did them. But setting that aside and simply looking at the how of it, I don’t know why you’d object to a bullet. It’s quick and efficient – i.e. as “humane” as killing can be – and a whole lot cheaper than most of the alternatives – all you need is a wall and a few bullets. Seriously, if I had to choose between hanging, or being strapped to a chair until I couldn’t move and then systematically injected or fried, or a bullet to the brain, I’d opt for the bullet. It’s always seemed to me that the formal state killing machine in the US, with all its special equipment and what amount to rituals, is peculiarly horrible.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for your thoughts on this. I would agree that we as Americans have certain odd “values” at times and to the rest of the world they may appear bizarre. My thinking is that 1) bullets are FAR more painful than other alternatives and can cause more suffering and 2) they are also directly fired by a human being, which can have lasting effects on THAT person. I know you could probably say that about almost any method – but firing squads seems very formal and very procedural. And THIS is why I stay watching reruns of “Friends” and shows about Bigfoot 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • writerinsoul says:

        I am quite conflicted on the issue, by why not overdose by a “good” drug at least? I don’t know what “lethal injections” actually are, but it seems more humane to get the person high.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Yes … but then you think about just how awful they have to have been in order to be in that place at all … and really, do I want someone like, say, Jeffrey Dahmer, to go floating out on a little pink cloud? Not really. I don’t want him to experience what his victims experienced, because that would involve becoming like him. But I really don’t care if he finds the process somewhat scary and uncomfortable.

          Liked by 2 people

          • writerinsoul says:

            It’s probably very scary and uncomfortable no matter what. And I guess it depends if loss of life is punishment enough. Like I said, I am conflicted. Many facets to the issue. And here I bet Tim thought he was writing a light-hearted post!

            Liked by 2 people

          • Actually I was thinking this was much more thought-provoking than my normal stuff, so I’m completely fine with it. I usually stay away from serious opinions, but his one just got to me.

            Liked by 1 person

      • I think the violence of bullets is what most people find shocking. They rip through flesh and blood comes out. But … electrocution??? Hanging? I just don’t buy that those are preferable – and on the occasions that I’ve thought about it (usually in the context of a novel), what I’ve found horrifying is all the preparations that must be done. Preparing the room. Strapping the person down. Attaching the electrodes or inserting the needles. The whole hideous process … it’s dehumanizing. I’ve had to have several dogs put to sleep over the years (part of loving dogs, and more so when you get involved in rescue) and for them it’s a much more simple process. Maybe that would be okay … but even for a dog, a well-placed bullet isn’t actually such a bad way to go. If the dog is suffering, it’s a lot better than a long trip to a vet!

        Liked by 1 person

      • writerinsoul says:

        Not condoning firing squads in any way, but after I thought about it, I think I recall the rationale being that nobody really knows *which* bullet actually kills the person, theoretically lessening the residual guilt of any one person. This probably sounded reasonable in 1800.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. writerinsoul says:

    At this rate, maybe they should just force the death row inmates to step in front of trains.

    Liked by 2 people

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