John Allen Muhammad, the mastermind behind the "Washington sniper" attacks in which ten people were killed during October 2002, was executed by the state on Tuesday.
His death was the first in a trial series of themed punishments being rolled out across the country by the newly formed "Agency of Ironic Retribution". Accordingly, he was shot in the head at a distance of 300 yards from the boot of a car.
The exact purpose of rendering capital or corporal punishment more narratively pleasing at great financial expense has never been fully explained, but this project has strong governmental support across the US. Numerous senators and members of Congress have spoken in favour of the programme, and of the need to bring some truly creative minds to the project, to come up with new punishments that are really, deliciously ironic, while at the same time not flouting national law or the Geneva Convention too blatantly.
Suggested forms of execution for future offenders include:
- Kidnappers (when the total conviction is deemed a capital offence) to be held in an airtight cell until expiration.
- Child abusers to be hypnotically regressed to pre-adolescence and psychologically tormented.
- School shooters to be shackled to a desk in a classroom and made to write out all the chemical components of the lethal injection they are about to receive 100 times (the quality of their handwriting to be graded before the injection is administered).
- Terrorists to be introduced to a typical "water-boarding" scenario, interrogated, and then actually drowned.
These ideas have not been formally approved as yet, and questions into their possibly inhumane nature are due to be addressed before any decisions are made.
Civil rights campaigners have lambasted the plans to increase AIR's role, calling it "yet further trivialisation of our deplorable attitude to the sanctity of human life". Irate grammarians have also made been protesting AIR, on the grounds that the penalties being enacted are not good examples of true irony.