Tennessee Brings Back Electric Chair Because Setting People On Fire Is Awesome
Gosh, was it only three weeks ago we were talking about thebotched execution by lethal injection of Clayton Lockett, which led to talking about how horrible the electric chair is, which is why only a handful of states use it to execute people anymore, and even then only if the prisoner selects it over lethal injection (a real Sophie’s Choice, we know). As terrible as lethal injection is, it doesn’t regularly set people on fire, which is such an aesthetically unpleasant way to kill someone. Which is why states have turned to the injection method – no muss, no fuss, just stick in the needle and watch ‘em go. Unless they blow out a vein or the state is trying some secretive, untested drug cocktail because more humane countries than ours that manufacture the drugs used in lethal injections won’t sell them to the U.S. if they are going to be used in executions.
Well, screw those humane nations right in their hippie-loving hearts, the state of Tennessee won’t stand for such nonsense. Won’t let ‘em have the drugs? Tennessee will go back to electrocuting people. Stick that in your peace pipe and smoke it, Europe.
Last night Governor Bill Haslam signed a law passed by both houses of the state legislature last month with overwhelming majorities, which would compel execution via electric chair if lethal injection drugs aren’t available. What’s weird about this is that Tennessee is not a death-penalty happy state on the order of Texas or Virginia. In fact, only six prisoners have been executed there since 1960. Even subtracting the six years in the ‘70s that executions were declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, that’s quite a record for a red state.
Tennessee must have been getting tired of the backlog, because last year Attorney General Robert Cooper requested in one fell swoop that the state Supreme Court set execution dates for 10 prisoners sitting on Death Row. The sudden bloodlust may have had something to do with the state finally coming up with a death protocol using a drug it could actually get its hands on, and also because one inmate – Paul Dennis Reid Jr., who had been convicted of killing seven fast-food workers in 1997 – died of natural causes in a hospital, peacefully, before the state could make him really suffer. People in Tennessee were apparently very upset by this.
The last prisoner to be killed in an electric chair was Daryl Holton and he was the first electrocution in the state in almost 40 years. So it’s not as if the state has a lot of experience in this area, which increases the risks any electrocutions will be botched. Good news, though: according to Wikipedia, Fred Leuchter is still alive.
Or the state could join much of the civilized world and ban executions...HAHAHAHAHA, no.