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Florida lawmaker wants to put the pain back into capital punishment

“There shouldn’t be anything controversial about a .45-caliber bullet. If it were up to me we would just throw them off the Sunshine Skyway bridge and be done with it…In the words of Humphrey Bogart [sic], ‘Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.’ I am so tired of being humane to inhumane people.”

bloodthirsty Florida lawmaker Rep. Brad Drake (R-Eucheeanna), on handling of death row inmates, quoting Bogart instead of Clark Gable.

Man, I just don’t know what to say behind that slice of “win” from Brad Drake. If the GOP wants to earn more cred as the “law and order” party, I guess Drake is their poster boy.

A bill filed Tuesday by Rep. Brad Drake, R-Eucheeanna, would allow for executions by firing squad. HB 325 would eliminate Florida’s standard method of execution, lethal injection, and allow for executions only by electrocution or firing squad.

In a Waffle House in DeFuniak Springs, Drake said he heard a constituent say, “‘You know, they ought to just put them in the electric chair or line them up in front of a firing squad.'” After a conversation with the person, Drake, 36, said he decided to file the bill.

…There have been problems in the past with electrocutions. In the late 1990s Florida’s electric chair, known as “Old Sparky,” left one death row inmate convicted of a triple-homicide alive for moments after the electrocution, and sparked a fire on another inmate’s face during the execution. Drake does not share those concerns.

Considering the work of The Innocence Project has resulted in freeing wrongly-convicted people on Death Row (including 13 in Florida), you’d think Drake would want to be sure about the capital punishment convictions in his state. No, he’d rather focus on how to best shoot and fry them. Legal expert Jonathan Turley:

Drake may want to visit Iran where Sharia judges mete out punishment on the same theory from pouring acid into eyes to throwing people in bags down hills with sharp rocks.

When politicians start to run on the promise of pain for convicted persons, we have finally de-evolved into an unrecognizable state. Of course, promising to terrify inmates and hurt them is probably preferred to dealing with social programs being shutdown and unemployment rising in the state. What is left is promise of gratuitous pain to satisfy some deep need.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding