“So, I say let’s end the debate,” one Sunshine legislator recently growled. “We still have Old Sparky. And if that doesn’t suit the criminal, then we will provide them a .45 caliber lead cocktail instead.”
Years ago, Florida dropped the electric chair largely because of the 1990 execution of Jesse Tafero. When the switch was tripped and the juice flowed, smoke and a foot-long flame shot from Jesse’s head. Horrified, officials quickly stopped the proceeding for a moment . . . then tried again. The result was more smoke, more flames, more horror. Again they stopped and again they retried. The third time was the charm, although it took over five minutes to fry the man well-done.
I do hope the state sorts all this out in time to deal some justice to a notorious murderer here in the state, scheduled to take the walk in one month. Oba Chandler, a life-long con from Tampa, befriended a mother and her two teen daughters on vacation from rural Ohio in 1989, then took them out in his boat one night and raped them. When the devil was through, he bound the women, taped their mouths, tied concrete blocks around their necks, then tossed them into the black waters of Tampa Bay.
“Cruel and unusual”. . . . There’s that phrase again. What social sissy-men, bleeding-heart whiners and other moral misfits just don’t seem to get is this: Many, maybe most, Americans, totally fed up, totally outraged, totally wild and savage after decades of TLC to the most loathsome and beastly of killers, don’t want no more nice and neat executions; they want cruel and unusual executions, and the crueler and more unusual, the better. I personally would have no problem if they treated this creature above, this Oba Chandler monster, to the same torture he visited upon his victims, provided that the event is shown on pay-per-view so that all such beasts-in-waiting around the globe could see that this is the way Florida deals with such sadistic crimes.
And what of these two demons who raped and burned to death that brave and beautiful mother and her daughters in Connecticut? I think there are a great many folks in that state and elsewhere who would relish it if these two were burned at the stake, very slowly, on public TV. I personally would not watch it but can well understand those who would.
The annual whine about how much it costs to put prisoners to death, or how much it costs to keep prisoners alive, is getting stale. I venture that there would have been millions of viewers and billions of dollars generated had the slow torture of Scott Peterson been televised on world-wide TV.
What am I advocating here? Not totally sure. Perhaps a punishment to fit the crime, no more, no less. Whatever we are doing now, it just ain’t working.
Michelle and I were headed up-island the other day bound for Venice (“Venice,” as in Venice, Florida). This pretty little town of draw bridges and art deco architecture is where the 9/11 terrorists learned to fly jets. Venice is also home to Michelle’s favorite vinegar and oil shop (now THAT’S a specialty shop, only flavored vinegars and olive oils here).
Anyway, even before we got off the island, we spotted something moving in the road. One could hardly see it, so tiny it was. It looked no bigger than a tumbling leaf. It was, of course, a turtle. Actually it was not a sea turtle (these have either hatched by now or their eggs have been destroyed in the tidal surges). No, this was just a baby gopher tortoise. At maturity, these creatures can get as big as a wash tub and they are a treat to see on this island as they lumber through the dunes. When we finally realized what it was we had travelled maybe another hundred yards up the road. Michelle’s request to turn around fell on receptive ears and we returned. Once there, my better half jumped from the truck and carried the little thing to the grassy shoulder. Sure enough, another car was coming and I allow that the little "tumbling leaf," at the pace he was setting, would have been just about where the rubber met the road had he continued.