For the past 120 or 130 years, we have been executing criminals in ways that are intended to make some sort of social point. When Edison wanted to convince the public that alternating current electricity (promoted by his competitor Westinghouse) was dangerous, he got New York to adopt electrocution for its death penalty. Poison gas was a great horror of WWI, and in the ’20s states began to use the gas chamber. Now, drugs are bad, so we are using lethal injection. Do a bad enough crime, and the state will kill you in a horrible way.
Of course, states are now having trouble getting sufficiently good enough bad drugs to kill people. This is leading to “botched” executions. Some prisoner in Ohio apparently took a long time to die.
Personally, I feel that if we are going to have a death penalty, we should bring back hanging. However, if we must stick with lethal injection, why not something quick and efficient, say, 230 gr of lead injected cranially?