Sunday, September 25, 2011

Perry Amazin'

And another great American tradition gets washed away!

We all know from watching movies with Victor Mature that when one is released from prison, one does so wearing a brand-new suit, compliments of the state, and a five-dollar bill to help on the path to brighter, straighter tomorrows.

From George Raft movies, we know that when one is not going to be leaving prison except by being carried out in a one-man bungalow with silver handles, the condemned one gets to eat anything he wants as his last meal.

So it was jarring to see this article in the Huffington Post the other day:  

 HOUSTON - Texas inmates who are set to be executed will no longer get their choice of last meals, a change prison officials made Thursday after a prominent state senator became miffed over an expansive request from a man condemned for a notorious dragging death.

Lawrence Russell Brewer, who was executed Wednesday for the hate crime slaying of James Byrd Jr. more than a decade ago, asked for two chicken fried steaks, a triple-meat bacon cheeseburger, fried okra, a pound of barbecue, three fajitas, a meat lover's pizza, a pint of ice cream and a slab of peanut butter fudge with crushed peanuts. Prison officials said Brewer didn't eat any of it.

"It is extremely inappropriate to give a person sentenced to death such a privilege," Sen. John Whitmire, chairman of the Senate Criminal Justice Committee, wrote in a letter Thursday to Brad Livingston, the executive director of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

Within hours, Livingston said the senator's concerns were valid and the practice of allowing death row offenders to choose their final meal was history.

"Effective immediately, no such accommodations will be made," Livingston said. "They will receive the same meal served to other offenders on the unit."

That had been the suggestion from Whitmire, who called the traditional request "ridiculous."

"It's long overdue," the Houston Democrat told The Associated Press. "This old boy last night, enough is enough. We're fixing to execute the guy and maybe it makes the system feel good about what they're fixing to do. Kind of hypocritical, you reckon?

Uneaten chicken-fried steaks
First of all, do you join me in picturing Sen. Whitmire as wearing a ten-gallon hat and a string tie under a white suit?  And do you also see him saying "I say, I say. Uh-uh-uh, I know what you're gonna say, son. When two halves is gone, there's nothin' left.  Two nothin's is nothin'!"

And so that "old boy" Brewer managed to wreck it forever for all the scummy murderers who follow him to the execution chamber, I reckon.  

Also, the state of Texas has announced that in order to save on alcohol wipes, they will no longer be cleaning off the needle site prior to administering lethal injections.  If the prisoner gets an infection from the shot, he gets an infection.  They're fixing to be tough down there in the Lone Star state.

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