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Category Archives: Death Penalty

Florida lawmaker calls for firing squads, electric chair?

The Los Angele Times is reporting Florida lawmaker Brad Drake says he’s “sick and tired of this sensitivity movement for criminals” and has introduced a bill ending the state’s practice of execution by lethal injection and replace it with the electric chair — or, if the inmate requests, a firing squad.

Drake, a Republican Tea Party (GOTP) Representative from the Panhandle community of Eucheeanna, introduced the bill Tuesday.

In a news release, Drake highlighted the recent death penalty case of Florida inmate Manual Valle, who had been on death row for three decades for the slaying of a Coral Gables police officer before his ultimate execution by lethal injection 28 Sep 11.

Attorneys for Valle had asked courts to stop the execution, arguing a new injection cocktail including Phenobarbital amounted to cruel and unusual punishment.

“Over the past few weeks, there has been much discussion and debate regarding the effectiveness of certain medicines used as preferred method for execution,” Drake said in the statement. “So, I say let’s end the debate. We still have Old Sparky. And if that doesn’t suit the criminal, then we will provide them a .45 caliber lead cocktail instead.”

Would Representative Drake be willing to pull the trigger himself for the firing squads? Because there’s a very valid psychological reason for why most states ended firing squads; it was essentially causing PTSD in the men required to carry out the execution. Drake has the usual contempt for life many uber-conservatives have, especially when the deed will be carried out by someone else.

Florida mostly performed hangings until 1924, when it switched to the electric chair. The state switched to lethal injection in 2000 after a number of botched electrocution attempts caused lawmakers to worry that the U.S. Supreme Court would declare Florida’s death penalty unconstitutional, the Associated Press reported.

The 4 May 90, electrocution of Jesse Tafero caused foot-long jets of smoke and flames to spurt from his head when officials first sent the surge through him, according to court documents. Corrections officials concerned about the flames stopped the process and tried again, resulting in more spurting flames.

It took a third jolt of electricity to kill Tafero. A medical examiner said it took a total of six or seven minutes to kill him.

But of course that would neither be cruel nor unusual enough for someone like Drake. No doubt it wasn’t cruel or excessive enough.

Drake, a marketing executive elected to the state house in 2008, got the idea after chatting with an alleged  fed-up voter at a Waffle House in his district, the AP reported.

It was just your normal conversation over a short stack, “pass the syrup and what do you think of shooting criminals”?

“I think if you ask a hundred people, not even talking to criminals, how would you like to die, if you were drowned, if you were shot, and if you say you were put to sleep, 90% of the people would say I want to be put to sleep,” Drake told the wire service. “Let’s put our pants back on the right way.”

OK, that statement makes less sense than his bill, which probably goes a long way to explaining his thought process. Most people would prefer to be put to sleep, so that means we should go back to using the electric chair or shooting death row inmates? And what’s up with the putting our pants back on thing? Was he eating pancakes without his pants on, or is this his clever Tea Party way of saying the government needs to stop wearing a skirt – because women are weak and men are strong? Drake should be doing insurance commercials because his thinking belongs in a cave with a club.

The real problem with the death penalty is it’s not the deterrent uber-conservatives wish it was; clearly those who murder don’t care, but does that mean they should be allowed to live out the rest of their natural lives? I think the validity of the death penalty is it permanently removes a dangerous killer from the general population – that’s it, nothing else; no other consideration needed; no prison is escape proof, but execution is. Of course there needs to be a reasonable opportunity to appeal a death sentence – but reasonable does not mean decades.

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Posted by on October 13, 2011 in Death Penalty

 

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