RYAN LIPPERT WRITES – These days, public executions are all the rage in North Korea. Over the summer, twelve musicians were sent to the firing squad for producing porn. More recently, seven North Korean cities held public executions on the same day, killing approximately 80 people.

What were the charges? The people put to death were accused of such heinous crimes as watching or smuggling South Korean films, making porn (again), prostitution, or simply owning a Bible.

Those executed were taken to stadiums across the nation and strapped to poles with white bags over their heads. Then, executioners fired machine guns at them while large crowds, some allegedly as large as ten thousand, were ordered to watch. Spectators reported that the victims were nearly impossible to recognize once the firing stopped. Family members and co-conspirators were also punished with imprisonment in the country’s infamous concentration camps.

Some suggest that, since these executions took place in cities with strong economies, Kim Jong-un’s regime may be suppressing capitalist sentiments. But, most speculate that they are related to the state’s oppressive ideology.

Other rumors have circulated that these executions are in relation to those that occurred during the summer. Some believe that the Unhasu Orchestra musicians were executed not just for making porn, but because to silence them from possibly proving that Ri Sol-Ju, former wife of Kim Jong-un, took part. These Page Six type scandals may be factual if you’re willing to believe North Korean authorities. Perhaps some of those who recently faced the barrels of the firing squad were in on Ri’s sexual deviances.

These events, whether they are connected or not, show what can happen in a country where the government has a vice-like grip on the media. In North Korea, anyone can get executed and have their families punished in camps for any number of harmless acts. From owning a Bible to watching porn, it’s clear no one is safe.