Justice

Florida GOP Rep. Wants To Bring Back Electrocution And Firing Squads: ‘I’m So Tired Of Being Humane’

Florida's electric chair "Old Sparky"

Considering the case of Florida death row inmate Manuel Valle in August, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that the state’s use of its lethal injection drug is constitutional and lifted his temporary stay of execution. The 61-year-old Cuban was executed in September after 33 years on death row for killing a police officer.

Florida state Rep. Brad Drake (R) is angry that Valle’s execution took so long. So angry, in fact, that he introduced a bill yesterday to eliminate lethal injection as a execution method altogether in favor of electrocution or the firing squad. “I’m sick and tired of this sensitivity movement for criminals,” Drake declared.

Drake got this ingenious idea to bring back electrocution and firing squads from an equally ingenious place: a Waffle House. Overhearing a constituent call for such methods, Drake said he decided to file the bill. After all, “if it were up to me we would just throw them off the Sunshine Skyway bridge,” he said:

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 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,” Drake said.

Under his bill, electrocution would be the standard method of executions, but inmates could opt for an execution by firing squad. This bill “end[s] the debate,” Drake said. “We still have Old Sparky. And if that doesn’t suit the criminal, then we will provide them a .45 caliber lead cocktail instead.” Of course, Florida’s electric chair “Old Sparky” is nowhere near humane. In the late 1990s, “Old Sparky” left one inmate “alive for moments after the electrocution, and sparked a fire on another inmate’s face during the execution.”

Seeing executions by electrocution and firing squad as unnecessarily inhumane, few states now utilize these methods. Almost every state has banned executions by firing squads, with the exception being Utah — where prisoners can still be executed in this manner if a prisoner requested it before the phasing out of the method in 2004 — and Oklahoma, where a prisoner can be executed by firing squad as a secondary method if both lethal injection and electrocution are ruled unconstitutional. Nine states allow electrocution, but lethal injection is the primary method in all of these states.

Of course, Drake does not give a hoot about what is or isn’t humane. “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,” he said.