Spoofs & Satire

Death Means No Reversible Error

Whenever lethal injection drugs are unavailable, Utah will allow death-row prisoners to choose death by firing squad, citing it as the most “humane” option.

Wang Luyan, W Double Standards Syringe 80:100ml, 2010. Courtesy the artist and Pékin Fine Arts. © Wang Luyan. Via Artsy.


Concerning Plush Dolls, a Bouncy House, and Other Alternative Death Penalty Techniques

Bill Summary

This bill provides that if the substances used to administer the death penalty are inevitably discontinued by pharmaceutical companies worried about the optics of their role in facilitating a wildly unpopular and outmoded practice that will negatively impact investor relations become unavailable, the method of execution for the defendant shall be a firing squad.

It is hereby agreed upon by the deciding parties involved that death by firing squad is the preferred method of execution for two reasons: (1) that it has been used as far back in the United States and its earlier colonies as 1608 and as recently in this great state of Utah as 1977 1996 2010 and (2) that of all the options outlined below, it risked the least amount of legislative pushback is the most humane.

Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of Utah:

Section 1. Why We’re Bringing the Guns Back:

The State and General Assembly finds and declares that:

(a) Lethal injection substances have become increasingly more difficult to obtain because countries that have previously abolished this practice now refuse to enable it of the liberal media’s penchant for sensationalization, which has (b) caused state legislatures across the United States to reconsider their position on the death penalty made things only slightly more difficult for state legislatures, considering that (c) the American people are more united in their opposition of two Bachelorettes in the next season of The Bachelorette than they are of capital punishment. Regardless, we will continue in this tradition because (d) the spectacle of public execution feeds a societal appetite for schadenfreude acts as a deterrent for violent crime, irrespective of whether (e) alternative options exist, because at the rate of 70 cents a round for 30-caliber Winchester Rifle ammunition, we might finally have enough room in the budget to repaint the interior Senate walls a soothing Robin egg blue.

Section 2. What We Talk About When We Talk About Capital Punishment:

For the purposes of this act:

(a) “Eighth Amendment” means a section of the law with wide latitude for interpretation; (b) “County correctional facility” means a correctional facility located in county which shares its name with an element from the periodic table; (c) “Firing Squad” means a method of execution that Colonel Aureliano Buendía faced as he recalled the afternoon his father took him to discover ice; (d) “Cruel and Unusual” means the untimely cancellation of the 2002 Joss Whedon space western sci-fi television series Firefly; (e) “Humane” means expressing the veneer of compassion; and (f) “Death” means no reversible error.1

Section 3. Humane Alternatives to Lethal Injection:

A defendant may choose from the following options:

Fan Death

Based on the South Korean urban legend that proximity to an electric fan may cause death, defendants living in quarters without AC during the summer months may opt for this method. The room in which the defendant resides must prove to be air-tight, the temperature must fall below -273.15 degrees Celsius using only the draft from the fan, and the target temperature must be reached in 60 seconds or less. If freezing temperature is not achieved in the allotted time, the process will cease immediately and the defendant may curl up with a warm blanket. Defendants with Raynaud’s syndrome are precluded from requesting the fan death method because living with cold hands and feet is a dangerous health risk.

Just Desserts

For anyone who has eaten cafeteria food for as long as some of the defendants here on the green mile, this death might just be their sweet escape. Based on the fact that chocolate can have adverse effects on several types of small mammals, we are confident of the same swift effect it will have on humans. In this method, defendants will consume enough chocolate in the form of a bundt cake until he or she keels over, just like what happened to Bruce Bogtrotter in Roald Dahl’s Matilda. Caffeine2 may not be substituted for chocolate.

Bludgeoned by a Plush Doll

For those who suffer from Type-1 Diabetes3, a defendant may elect to be beaten by a life-size “Disney” plush doll.4 During the beating, defendants are required to take great care of their plush doll in order that future generations may also benefit from the unique privilege of being beaten to death by a counterfeit Disney plush doll. If the doll is damaged or requires any kind of repair, all service fees and material costs will be paid for by the Department of Correction the defendant. If the defendant’s plush doll is currently unavailable5 or no longer in circulation, reasonable accommodations will be made in the interim well, then too bad.

Exhaustion From a Bouncy House

Because our residents are housed in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day, it’s hard to imagine a defendant who wouldn’t jump at the opportunity to die in a bouncy house. For those that do, a bouncy house will be provided in which the defendant may leap, flip, triple back, and pike in a full rudy until he or she collapses from exhaustion or until the rental needs to be returned. Per our contract with all local vendors, bouncy house dealers are subject to Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) provisions, including but not limited to:

  1. Timely delivery of the requested bouncy house;
  2. Routine maintenance and cleaning of the bouncy house in order to prevent the spread of disease and infection; and
  3. Frequent safety audits to ensure the physical integrity of the bouncy house.

Squeeze Death by Proxy

Have you ever felt the overwhelming compulsion to squeeze something to death on account of its cuteness? Well now you can! In just a few weeks, we will be rolling out our pilot program in which community volunteers will be shown images of yawning puppies, sleepy sloths, and bleary-eyed red pandas to elicit the overwhelming human compulsion to squeeze and smother, at which point, volunteers will be released onto our inmates here on death row to physically express how cute they think those cats_of_instagram really are.

If All Else Fails

Just point and shoot.

Section 4. Location, Procedures, and Duties of Staff

(a) When a method of execution is reached by the defendant and State, the Executive Director shall select 3 persons who have completed the State’s penitentiary training video up through at least Chapter 15 entitled “Timecard Policies”; (b) Compensation for peace officers involved will receive an increase in salary not to exceed 15% of the previous year’s salary under Subsection 77-18.5 (2), (3), or (4), in addition to a commemorative gold coin; (c) Benefits for peace officers, including mental health coverage and paid time off, will not be subject to increase.

Section 5. Effective Date: Applicability.

This act shall take effect immediately and shall apply to all defendants whose birthdays add up to the number 23.

Section 6. Safety Clause.

The General Assembly finds and declares that this act is necessary for the preservation of peace our re-election.


  1. On the 4% chance we get these things wrong, an exonerated defendant may be eligible to receive one lump sum payment at a rate of no more than $50 a day for all the days they were imprisoned. Taxes and fees still apply.
  2. Caffeine has shown to cause anxiety in defendants who are sentenced to death.
  3. Unfortunately, we are not equipped to accommodate a sugar-free death at this time.
  4. Due to increasingly restrictive copyright laws, however, we will no longer be able to offer actual Disney plush dolls, but will furnish characters who evoke their essence.
  5. Currently, there is a backlog of requests for “SnO-laf” from Frozen.

Emily Blake is a pseudonym for a writer living in New York where she writes humor on a lot of different topics, except coffee. Coffee she takes seriously. More by Emily Blake