Monday, January 26, 2015


New Zealand ended capital punishment for murder in 1961 and abolished it altogether in 1989.    For the record I am opposed to capital punishment but I accept the right of individual countries to make their own determination.

Indonesia retains the death penalty and in that jurisdiction (and others) the execution is carried out by shooting.   It is not my intention to discuss the rights and wrongs of that but instead to focus on the practice of having one or more members of the firing squad issued with a bank round.    Indeed, as I understand it in Indonesia, nine out of the twelve members of the firing party are issued with blanks.

For the life of me (bad choice of words) I fail completely to understand the rationale for this.   The theory is to provide a level of comfort to members of the firing squad that they might not have necessarily fired the fatal shot ... what tosh.    Anyone with any experience of firearms will know the huge difference in recoil between firing a weapon loaded with ball ammunition and one loaded with a blank.   It is nothing more than a PR sop that serves no useful purpose.    Indeed, I would argue that in the Indonesian case having only three members firing live bullets and you are increasing the likelihood of serious wounding rather than instant death.   That is to be deplored.

As I said, I am opposed to capital punishment but if it is to be carried out then forget the canard of the 'blank round' and get it over with quickly and with no room for error.


Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy said...

Agree totally. It's in the same class as the armchair experts [including a female Prime Minister] who demand that the Police shoot offenders in the leg. Firstly, that's an almost impossible shot in a stressful situation [as Vet and I well know from experieence] and secondly 20% of deaths in Vietnam were the result of gunshot wounds to a limb.

Noel said...

I believe the Indo's have covered the survival from the initial bullets.

"In the Indonesian system a white shirt is placed on the convict. They are walked to the execution site by a priest or cleric and given three minutes to calm down.

The prisoner is blindfolded and asked if they wish to stand, sit or kneel. A doctor will place a mark on the shirt above the heart. After the final check is completed the commander will yell: "Do it", to 12 executioners standing within a five to 10 metre range.

Only three will have live ammunition while the rest will fire blanks.

If the prisoner is still alive, the commander will fire the last shot by pressing the barrel of the gun above the prisoner's ear."

Noel said...

In Utah they used a wax blank which gives the same recoil as an actual round. Indo's use same.

The Veteran said...

Noel ... you've been reading Wiki. The wax bit is load of tosh. I saw it demonstrated at a rifle club once and while it increased the recoil slightly it was nowhere near what you experienced with ball ammunition.

As to the need for a coup de gras bullet in the head, it should never come to that ... but with only three shooters it is a distinct possibility especially if one or more of the shooters decides 'no way me'.

Anonymous said...

This level of mercy is a throwback to the civilisation of colonial rule. Give them a few years and they will be subbing it out to returned ISIL types. I would think the impact of three rifle shots in the heart would be so severe and traumatic the fact of instantaneous or delayed coverage, so to speak, may be of little consequence to the prisoner.

pdm said...

lim koh - go and troll somewhere else.